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All Posts Tagged With: "1921 Saint Gaudens"

The Norweb 1921 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle To be Sold by Heritage

The 1921 Saint-Gaudens double eagle is a premier rarity in the series, ranking as the third rarest regular issue, behind only the famous and ultra-rare 1933 and 1927-D emissions. Considered as a condition rarity, the 1921 moves into second place in the rankings, surpassing even the fabled 1927-D. The date joined the elite group of coins that have sold at auction for more than $1 million in 2005, when the finest known specimen realized $1,092,500 as lot 6644 of the Phillip H. Morse Collection (Heritage, 11/2005).

Any offering of a 1921 double eagle is noteworthy, but the opportunity to acquire a Choice specimen of this prized issue, with a pedigree to one of the most famous collections of all time, is truly a landmark in numismatic history.

Numismatists of the 1940s were mystified by the rarity of the 1921 Saint-Gaudens double eagle and many other issues in the series, because mint records reported substantial mintages for most dates (528,500 pieces in the case of the 1921). Of course we understand today that the great majority of them were destroyed in the Gold Recall of the 1930s.

While some dates found refuge in European banks and were later repatriated to augment the meager supply of coins in this country, this has not been the case with the 1921 twenty. The only reference to any examples of this date returning from European holdings is found in Breen’s Encyclopedia, where he speculates about five pieces that may have surfaced since 1981 and about a half-dozen examples David Akers mentioned from his days at Paramount (possibly the same coins).

When describing the 1921 double eagle in our recent FUN Signature Auction (Heritage, 1/2010), lot 2315, we published the following information about the actual number of 1921 double eagles officially released:

“In an interesting and remarkable letter first published in the June 2006 American Numismatic Rarities auction catalog, Dr. Charles W. Green writes to Louis Eliasberg in February 1947. Dr. Green had inquired of Mint officials about the availability of Saint-Gaudens twenties, realizing at an early date how rare certain issues were relative to their mintage. Mint officials told Dr. Green ‘the true record would be, not the number struck, but the number ‘put out’; that is actually issued from the producing mints, all the rest having gone to the melt and of course very possibly some of those put out went to the melt also.’ He listed several rarities, among which was the 1921: ‘Of the 1921 Philadelphia double eagle, only 25 coins were put out. So there we have a perfect record of rarity. The rest went to the melt.’ It is natural to assume that with certain rarities more pieces were rescued prior to melting by Treasury Department or Mint employees.” (more…)