No Motto 1908 $20 Saint-Gaudens Gold Coins Are Pedigreed

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World War I was near its conclusion; the ravages of war played havoc with the World’s economies; times were difficult financially and morally, as people sought protection and a better way of life; immigration to the United States eastern shores burgeoned; change was omnipresent, as our nation recently introduced new designs for the Dime, Quarter and Half Dollar; the year is 1917 and far to the West, a hoard of more than 15,000 Gold coins was acquired and stored in vaults.

Although we didn’t know it then, the impact of that decision would profoundly affect the known mintage figures for some collectible gold coins, more than eighty years later. Today, we know that this is the largest hoard of superb quality gold coins to have traded hands in numismatic history. The significance and final chapter of this find is yet to be written, but for now, coin dealers and collectors find it very exciting.

Wind of this hoard, known as the Wells Fargo Nevada Gold Collection, was leaked during the early 1970s, when the coins were all removed from their sealed bags to be counted and sorted. After this operation, the coins were resealed in their bags and have remained that way until they were moved in 1996, and later purchased by Spectrum Numismatics Int’l, Irvine, CA. The most impressive aspect of this hoard is that the coins survived in exceptional condition. CCDN has been informed of the retail sale of approximately 7,500 coins to collectors and people who are new to numismatics. Yes, the coins have been authenticated and graded by NGC and PCGS. The people at these grading services were so impressed with the quality that they have identified each coin, by pedigree, as Wells Fargo Nevada Gold. Mark Salzberg, President of NGC said, “Even after viewing these coins, it is hard to comprehend the scope and quality of this incredible hoard.” PCGS President Rick Montgomery offered similar sentiments:

“The quality is amazing. I’m a little jaded since…I see the world’s finest coins on a daily basis. But the Wells Fargo Nevada Gold No Motto Saints blew my mind!”

Rick Montgomery

Numismatists have also reacted. Q. David Bowers said, “This is one of the most exciting news items to reach numismatics in recent years.”

At CCDN, we have learned that, in part, the hoard contains a quantity of 1908 No Motto $20 Saint-Gaudens Gold coins. Some of these have received the lofty MS-66 grade. Since the No Motto $20 Saint-Gaudens is a popular two-year Type coin, it already has a built-in collector demand. We know there were more than 64 million $20 Saint-Gaudens Gold coins originally struck with the Motto, In God We Trust. But a little more than 5 million coins originally struck, from 1907-08 are of the No Motto Type. A sharp increase in the supply of outstanding quality $20 Saint-Gaudens Gold coins should result in a shot-in-the-arm to the industry. Availability has long been the cry of dealers and collectors. Strong buyers often looked to purchase significant quantities of coins, especially gold coins, and now they can. This demand for quality and quantity may be strong enough to absorb this supply. This was certainly the case when the Eliasberg coins hit the market. Apparently, the present owners of the hoard believe that the current demand is more than sufficient to meet the supply. That’s why the coins are being pedigreed under a unique licensing agreement with Wells Fargo & Company. As the saying goes, coins always have a story to tell. Often, coins and their stories are almost inseparable. This Wells Fargo Nevada Gold Collection has more than its share of history and intrigue. There will be many questions and comments about this hoard, to be sure. This hoard will probably become the finale to a century of knowledge and discoveries that has brought coin collecting from humble beginnings to the computer age and beyond. However, the most important thing about this discovery, is that these coins have survived the many decades and the melting pot and are now available to dealers, collectors and anybody that’s had the desire to own gold.

from the front page article in the October 17th, 1997 edition of CERTIFIED COIN DEALER newsletter

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