$20 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle Gold Coins


The US Mint produced the $20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagles from 1907 to 1916 and then again from 1920 to 1933. The coins were struck at the US Mint facilities in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver. Their composition is 90% gold and 10% copper with each coin containing 0.9675 oz of gold. More than 70 million Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagles were minted. However, only a small amount were minted with a proof finish at the Philadelphia facility.

Design

The American president Theodore Roosevelt, who commissioned the coin, wanted a design that emulated the beauty and style of ancient Greek coins. The sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens designed the now famous coin that many consider to be the most beautiful of all time. The obverse side shows Lady Liberty facing forward, her left foot resting on a rock, with a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left. The sun's rays and the U.S. Capitol building are visible behind and the word “LIBERTY” appears above. The year of mintage, the designer's initials “ASG” and a mint mark for San Francisco (mint mark: S) or Denver (mint mark: D) are inscribed on the lower right. Coins minted at the Philadelphia facility have no mint marks. Along the periphery of the $20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagles appear 46 tiny stars (48 stars from 1912 on) which were meant to represent the number of states in the union at that time.

The reverse side of the $20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagles shows a flying eagle with the sun and its rays in the background. Above the design are inscribed the coin's denomination “TWENTY DOLLARS” and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” whereas the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” (since 1908) appears underneath.

The edge of the $20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagle coins has a special design in that it features 13 raised stars (representing the original 13 states) and the phrase “E PLURIBUS UNUM”.

obverse side of the 1908 $20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagle coin without motto
obverse side of the 1908 $20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagle without motto.
Gold Purity: 90%
Gold Weight Face Value Diameter
0.9675 oz 20 Dollars 34 mm
Mintage Years
Philadelphia 1907 - 1915, 1920 - 1929,
1931 - 1933
San Francisco 1908 - 1911, 1913 - 1916,
1920, 1922, 1924 - 1927, 1930
Denver 1908 - 1911, 1913 - 1914,
1923 - 1927, 1931
Total Mintage: 70,290,763
reverse side of the 1908 $20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagle coin without motto
reverse side of the 1908 $20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagle without motto.

History

$20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagle coin with motto (reverse)
$20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagle with motto (reverse).

The $20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagles were commissioned by the American President Theodore Roosevelt in the early 1900's. The famous design was created by the US Mint sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and production started in 1907. The first 12.367 coins minted in 1907 have the date inscribed in Roman numerals. The motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” was only added to the coin in 1908. Therefore, coins from 1908 exist with and without the motto. During the First World War, production ceased due to a rise in gold bullion prices. Very few pieces of the $20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagles from the final years of mintage (1929-1933) were released into circulation (most were melted down later due to currency laws passed during the Great Depression), making them especially valuable. Only 3 of the coins minted in 1933 are known to exist today. A few more may have escaped the mint but are illegal to own since they were never officially released into circulation.

Mintages

Annual mintage of the Saint Gaudens Double Eagles varied between 22,000 coins (San Francisco 1908) and 4,323,500 coins (Philadelphia 1924). The first 12,367 coins that were minted with the date in Roman numerals in 1907 are the rarest variation of the coin (besides the 1933 coins which are illegal to own anyway).

Click here to see a table with detailed mintage numbers.

Variations of the Coin

Besides the above mentioned variations (Roman numeral date, motto, number of stars along the border) there are several more noteworthy variations. The first 24 pieces of Saint Gaudens' original 1907 design are known as “ultra high relief” or “extra high relief”, since they were each struck nine times by the coin press. A second lower relief design in 1907 still required five strokes of the coin press. About 12.000 of these “high relief” coins were minted that year. Mint engraver Charles E. Barber finalized the third and final extremely low relief design and he also changed the engraved year from Roman to Arabic numerals. A further odd variation exists. About 161.000 of the coins produced in 1909 show a light 8 beneath the last 9 in 1909.

Rare Dates

Besides the 1907 high relief coins and the coins minted in 1933, several more issues from certain years and mint facilities are now quite rare. All the coins minted from 1930 to 1932 are now extremely rare since many of them were later melted into bullion.

The 12.367 coins minted in Philadelphia in 1907 with the date in Roman numerals as well as the 1921 Philadelphia issue (528.500 coins minted) have become hard to find.

The coins minted in Denver in 1926 (481.000 coins) and 1927 (180.000 coins) as well as the San Francisco issue from 1920 (558.000 coins) are nowadays also hard to find.

Proof coins are even harder to find if at all possible. Proof coins were exclusively minted in Philadelphia from 1908 to 1915 (as well as 1 proof coin in 1921) and annual proof mintages varied between 50 and 167 coins.

gold vs. silver

Where to buy?

Saint Gaudens Double Eagles
obverse side of the 1908 $20 Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagle coin without motto
available Dealers:

Money Metals Exchange

Buy Random Year coin
for about $ 1,374.33

BGASC

Buy Random Year coin
for about $ 1,398.20