Numismatic $20 Saint Gaudens Coins

There may be many numismatic gold coins on the market but none enjoys the rich heritage that the $20 St. Gaudens gold coin does. It was designed and crafted by the renowned sculpture Augustus Saint Gaudens, who was commissioned by President Roosevelt just at the start of the 20th century. Also known as the Double Eagle, this magnificent $20 gold coin was minted by the U.S. Mint between 1907 and 1933. St. Gaudens lived up to his name and fame by producing the best American coinage design through the Double eagle $20 gold bullion.

Specifications of the $20 St Gaudens

The weight of the $20 Saint Gaudens coin is approximately 33.436 grams or equivalent to 516 grains with a diameter of 34mm and a thickness of 2mm. The gold content weighs about 30.093 grams with a composition of 90% gold and 10% copper. Each coin bears the mark of St. Gaudens mark on the front just beneath the date. Lady Liberty stands tall on the frontage with the Torch of Freedom and a piece of olive branch as well as the U.S. Capitol building at the background while the back sports the Bald Eagle on its flight over the sun.

History of the $20 St Gaudens

It was in 1907 when the first $20 St. Gaudens coins were minted and this pioneer batch did not have the inscription ‘In God We Trust’ as it was not compulsory by law at that time. Beginning in 1908, all coins had to bear that inscription; hence, the St. Gaudens eagle and double eagle coins were revised to bear the motto.

Another drastic change on the St Gaudens gold coins happened in 1933 when President Franklin Roosevelt set the whole nation away from the gold standard which saw a massive quantum of minted numismatic coins being melted down. The few that escaped the meltdown are now enjoying scarce status. It has been recorded that one coin from that 1933 batch was auctioned off at $7,590,020 by Sotheby’s, NY City in the year 2002.

The Current Worth of $20 St Gaudens

One can only appreciate the value of these numismatic gold coins by comparing their worth before and after; for instance, the 1920-S Eagle has appreciated annually at 11.35%. Such a coin which was purchased in 1979 at $85,000 was sold at an auction in 2010 at a whooping $605,000. Two factors come into play on the esteemed trading value of the St. Gaudens gold coins: quality and rarity.

There was a seminar entitled ‘Augustus Saint-Gaudens: The Renaissance of American Coinage’ from August 15th to August 18th this year (2010) which was organized to further study the factors of worth on numismatic gold coins. It was held at the prestigious National Historic Site of St. Gaudens right in Cornish. The seminar was to educate interested parties on Augustus St. Gaudens’ life and work as the renowned designer cum sculptor at his hometown in New Hampshire. It was undertaken as a part of the ANA Destination Education program.