The Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, 1933 has a nominal value of a 20-dollar gold coin. Although 445,500 specimens of this Saint-Gaudens double eagle were minted, none were ever officially circulated, and all but two were ordered melted down. However, twenty more are known to have been rescued from melting as they were stolen. Nineteen of these coins were subsequently recovered by the Secret Service, who destroyed nine of them, making this one of the world’s rarest coins.
The two intentionally spared coins are in the U.S. National Numismatic Collection. One is in the hands of a private owner who paid nearly US$8 million for it in 2002 and ten others are held in Fort Knox.
The designer, Saint-Gaudens took a great interest in the art of the coin. He designed the $20 gold piece, the double eagle coin, for the US Mint in 1905–1907, and it is considered one of the most beautiful American coins ever issued.
The 1907 Roman numeral ultra high relief double eagle, Saint-Gaudens’ design, from the National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History
Chosen by Theodore Roosevelt to redesign the coinage of the nation, Saint-Gaudens produced the ultra high-relief $20 gold piece that was adapted into a flattened-down version by the United States Mint. The ultra high-relief coin required too many strikes to bring up the details and did not stack properly. They were deemed unfit for commerce and yet, today they are highly sought-after.
- Title: Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, 1933
- Designer: Augustus Saint-Gaudens
- Mass: 33.431 g
- Diameter: 34.1 mm (1.34252 in)
- Thickness: 2.0 mm (0.07874 in)
- Composition: 90% gold, 10% copper
- Minted: 1933
- Museum: New-York Historical Society
Designer Essential Facts:
- Name: Augustus Saint-Gaudens
- Born: 1848 – Dublin, Ireland
- Died: August 3, 1907 (aged 59) – Cornish, New Hampshire
- Nationality: American
“Isn’t it astonishing that all these secrets have been preserved for so many years just so we could discover them!” Orville Wright
Photo Credit: By Joyofmuseums (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 2) By US Mint (coin), National Numismatic Collection (photograph by Jaclyn Nash) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons