The Most Beautiful Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle ?

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by GoldFinger1969, Mar 18, 2021.

  1. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Supporter! Supporter

    I've been going over the top-end Saints for months now -- online pics, past auctions, catalogs, general research -- and this is one coin that I wanted to ask if any of you Saint veterans can beat for visual appeal.

    It's a 1908-S from the Duckor-Norweb MS67....there are higher graded Saints from other years in the MS68 and even MS69 grades but I can't recall one that looks as stunning. Even the MCMVII 1907 UHR and High Reliefs don't have the deep color, IMO. Check out the luster and the deep gold color.....WOW !! :wideyed:

    I do NOT believe this is a lighting effect on the pics. Have you have you ever seen the flaming orange luster on any other Saint ?

    I include some comments in a separate post from Heritage and David Akers' own comments about this being the 1 coin that he regretted selling.

    1908-S MS67 Duckor-Norweb.jpg 1908-S MS67 Duckor-Norweb rev.jpg
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
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  3. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Supporter! Supporter

    From Heritage: "....Since we began our Permanent Auction Archives in 1993, we have only presented three previous auction appearances of a Superb Gem example of this issue, and those three appearances represent just two different coins. The Duckor specimen becomes the third example, and in our opinion, easily the finest of the three coins we have handled, edging out the Phillip Morse specimen. The third piece, which we offered late in 2006 and again early in 2007, was previously certified MS66 PCGS, upgrading to MS67 prior to our November 2006 offering.

    In his 1988 Handbook of 20th-Century United States Gold Coins, 1907-1933, David Akers described several exceptional pieces including Dr. Duckor's first specimen, an example in Auction '80, the present Norweb specimen, and coins in the collections of Louis Eliasberg, Harry Bass, Thaine Price, William Crawford, and a prominent Eastern collection, as well as the Browning specimen and two coins that Akers personally owned at the time. Only the Auction '80 specimen and the Norweb coin have reached the MS67 grading pinnacle.

    The Norweb-Duckor specimen is arguably the most distinctive coin in the entire collection. It displays frosty orange-gold cartwheel luster rolling across both sides, with mottled carmine and violet-blue toning, especially along the obverse border, and a few sprinkles of similar color in the fields. The strike is bold, showing indistinct detail only at the Capitol building on the obverse. All fingers of both hands are separated, and the hair and facial details are fully evident. All of the eagle's feathers are full and sharp, including the tail feathers. Individual bagmarks and other blemishes can almost literally be counted on one hand."

    From Akers: "This issue has the second lowest mintage figure of any regular issue Saint-Gaudens double eagle after the 1907 MCMVII High Relief. This low mintage figure, only 22,000 pieces, undoubtedly contributed to the esteem in which the 1908-S was held throughout the 1940s, 1950s and forward to the present day. At one time it was considered to be at the low end of the fourth tier of Saint-Gaudens double eagle rarity which also consisted of the 1920-S, 1922-S, 1924-D, 1925-S and the late date P-Mints 1929, 1931, and 1932. When offered for sale at auction, all of these issues typically realized only in the $200-$400 price range. Unlike almost all of the double eagle issues minted after World War I, the 1908-S issue was intended and used for general circulation. That is why a much larger percentage of known specimens of the 1908-S are in circulated grades than is the case with other prized dates of the series. Although less rare than the low mintage might imply, choice uncirculated and very choice ones are at least very scarce and gem quality MS65 examples are rare with only about 25-30 known. More superb MS66 and MS67 examples exist of this issue than of most of the other rare dates in the series, but they are still very rare with perhaps 15-18 known.

    The specimen offered here is, in my opinion, the finest known 1908-S double eagle. I first saw it at the Norweb sale in the fall of 1988 and absolutely fell in love with it. I decided to buy it for myself even though I already owned three other beautiful original gems of the date at the time, including the Eliasberg specimen, also graded MS67 by PCGS. The price for this coin at the Norweb sale was $39,600, the same amount that I paid for the 1926-D, which I later sold to Dr. Thaine Price. The Saints in the Norweb sale were very conservatively and consistently undergraded. For example, the 1925-S and aforementioned 1926-D were graded only MS64 and MS63 respectively. I purchased both of them and subsequently sold them to Dr. Price. After they were sold with his collection in 1998, they were submitted for grading to PCGS and received grades of MS68 and MS66 respectively, the first and second finest of their issues graded. But of all the Saints in the Norweb sale, quality-wise, this 1908-S, graded only MS65 in the sale, was by far the finest. It is a one-of-a-kind Saint-Gaudens double eagle with luster and color that is simply extraordinary and fields and devices close to perfection. Personally, I think this is distinctly under graded in a 67 holder and once I bought it I told everyone that it was the one Saint I owned that I planned to keep "forever." However, in 1990 at the Seattle ANA convention, I made the mistake of showing it for the first time to Dr. Duckor. I had already sold him one of my other gems of the date, but this is the one he knew he just had to have. Over the next 15 years he did his best to convince me that I should sell it to him, that it really belonged in a complete collection of Saints of the quality he was putting together. I finally relented and agreed to sell it to him in 2005 and so "forever" in this case lasted for only 17 years. He was right, though; it did belong in his collection, and I am as proud of it being there as he is. I have to admit, though, despite my saying many times over the years that I never have "seller's remorse" after I decide to sell one of my own personal coins, that this coin is definitely the one exception to that rule."
  4. potty dollar 1878

    potty dollar 1878 Well-Known Member

  5. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    The first thing that caught my eye is the slight discoloration in the field on the obverse. Maybe I'm OCD, but that would be distracting to me.
    markr and GoldFinger1969 like this.
  6. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    Wouldn’t kick that one out of bed LOL. Definitely a stunner
    GoldFinger1969 likes this.
  7. David Betts

    David Betts Elle Mae Clampett cruising with Dad

    ding-ding-ding ring the register! Especially after St. G article in coin mag ! a beauty, look at the colors busting out around rays!
    GoldFinger1969 likes this.
  8. fretboard

    fretboard Defender of Old Coinage!

    Nice expensive beauty, I love the toning dots on it! :D
    GoldFinger1969 likes this.
  9. bradgator2

    bradgator2 Well-Known Member

    The toning dots ruin it for me.
  10. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Supporter! Supporter

    Ironically, even a premium coin like this only returned about 6% a year over the 24 years between sales.
    Penny Luster likes this.
  11. David Betts

    David Betts Elle Mae Clampett cruising with Dad

    6% better than the banks 1 1/2% giving me and a little inflation you'll get 10-12%/
    Just got a ms 62 1907 St.G for $2500 figure in time it'll be OK
    GoldFinger1969 and Penny Luster like this.
  12. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Supporter! Supporter

    Congrats on the Saint !! :cigar:

    6% is probably about what you would have gotten from banks overall during that time (you could still get 5% on a CD up to about 2005). But you would have gotten about 12% in equities and probably about 10% in a balanced portfolio (stocks + bonds).
    David Betts likes this.
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