St Gaudens Double Eagle “The Most Beautiful Coin Ever Minted”

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The lure of gold has captured the imagination for centuries and for the coin enthusiast, your stash of gold is probably the pinnacle of your coin collection. And even beyond that, the most sought-after gold coin is the $20 Gold Double Eagle designed by Augustus St Gaudens and minted between 1907 and 1933.

Many people consider St Gaudens $20 gold coins to be the most beautiful coins ever minted in the United States and some consider them to be the most beautiful coin ever minted, period. President Theodore Roosevelt admired ancient Greek coinage and wanted to bring the beauty he saw in those coins to US coinage. He contacted artist and sculptor Agustus St Gaudens to redesign the $10 and $20 gold coins and the design St Gaudens came up with for the $20 gold piece was that of Lady Liberty on the obverse and a flying bald eagle on the reverse.

The classic St Gaudens Double Eagle was born.

The first of these coins had an extremely high relief and the Chief Engraver of the US Mint detested the coins because the high relief design required a long minting process that turned out to be very expensive. Thus only 11,250 of these special coins were ever struck making them extremely valuable. Starting bids for these coins are in the range of $20,000 to $30,000 on eBay and go up from there.

This past August of 2007 it was reported that an ultra-high relief lettered edge version of this 1907 coin traded hands above $3 million. This was a nearly flawless coin graded at Proof 69 by both NCG and PCGS and is the second highest price ever paid for a coin worldwide. So, what was the highest price ever paid for a coin? You guessed it, another St Gaudens $20 gold piece. This time it was the extremely rare 1933 coin of which there are only 11 known in the world and only 1 legally available for sale. This coin brought an amazing $7.5 million back in July of 2002.

In August of 2005 10 of these coins surfaced when Joan Langboard found them in her father’s jewelry store safe after he died. Her father, Israel Switt, was a suspect in an original theft of some of these coins in 1933, but they were never recovered until Mrs. Langboard turned them over to the US Mint. A lawsuit is now pending by Mrs Langboard to recover the coins after money she was promised never materialized.

Any other instance of this coin is deemed illegal to own as President Roosevelt ordered the US mint to stop making these coins and declared it illegal to own gold. Any minted 1933 gold double eagles were to be melted down thus making this the most valuable coin in existence. Some were stolen from the mint in 1933 and many were recovered, but any in existence today would be declared illegal to own by an individual or collector. However, if any of these coins were to surface today, I’m sure they would not be destroyed due to their extreme value. But the collector or individual would certainly have a lot of explaining to do as in the case of Mrs Langboard.

Aside from these extremely rare versions of the St Gaudens Double Eagle, anyone who is interested in coin collecting can obtain one of these beauties starting for about $2750 on eBay or from a private collector. And then you too can say you own what is considered by some as the most beautiful coin in the world.

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2 responses to “St Gaudens Double Eagle “The Most Beautiful Coin Ever Minted””

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  1. herrrr

    I absolutely love the Saint Gaudens $20 coin! Its intricate design and craftsmanship make it a true masterpiece in the world of numismatics. The Walking Liberty Half dollar is also a favorite of mine, with its elegant portrayal of Liberty and the American flag – a true symbol of freedom and beauty.

    But when it comes to the $10 Indian, I have to say it’s in a league of its own. The unique incuse (sunken) design sets it apart, and its historical significance adds to its allure. Many collectors, including myself, consider the $10 Indian to be far superior due to its distinctive features and innovative design.

    1. Alexandre Laurent

      Certainly! In the realm of numismatics, the Saint Gaudens $20, Walking Liberty Half dollar, and the $10 Indian are all highly esteemed for their distinct characteristics and historical significance.

      The Saint Gaudens $20 is renowned for its exquisite design and artistry, making it a favorite among collectors. Its depiction of Lady Liberty in a full stride and the majestic eagle on the reverse side is truly a work of art.

      The Walking Liberty Half dollar, on the other hand, is celebrated for its representation of Liberty walking gracefully, with the American flag billowing in the background. This coin captures the spirit of freedom and patriotism, which resonates with many collectors.

      Now, the $10 Indian stands out due to its unique incuse design, where the motifs are sunken into the coin’s surface. This innovative approach sets it apart from most other coins, making it a distinct and highly sought-after piece.

      In the world of numismatics, the preference for one over the others often depends on individual taste, historical interest, and the desire for specific design elements. Each of these coins has a special place in the hearts of collectors, and the choice of which is superior can be a matter of personal preference and the specific attributes that each collector values most.


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