The World's Most Beautiful Coin
Twenty Dollar St. Gaudens:
1907 – 1932 *

Designed by: Augustus St. Gaudens
(1848 – 1907)
In collaboration with: Henry Hering

Weight: 33.436 grams
Composition: .900 gold, .100 copper
Diameter: 34mm, reeded edge
Fineness: .96750 oz. pure gold

Universally considered to be the highest plateau of artistic endeavor ever to grace our coinage. This series also encompasses some of the scarcest dates and rarest coins of the Twentieth Century. Such notable rarities such as the low mintage dates of the ‘20’s and early 30’s and of course, the legendary 1927-D are present throughout the series! Although all of the Gold coinage made during the twentieth century (until the cessation of Gold coinage in 1933) was beautiful the big “Double Eagle” of this period outshines nearly every other coin in numismatics for popularity.

Remarkably, this coin and its designer were nearly destined not to meet. For that matter in a cruel twist of irony, Augustus St. Gaudens, the designer of the Ten Indian and the Twenty “Saint” never even saw the coin enter into circulation having died the year it was to come out. In the 1890’s Mr. St. Gaudens, the premier sculpture and medal engraver of his age was commissioned to design the first Commemorative Silver Coin, the 1892 Columbian Exposition 50 cent piece. He submitted beautiful artistic designs for the coin that immediately ran afoul of several entrenched interests at the mint and at the exposition. His designs (that featured nudes) were roundly either tossed out or warped beyond recognition until he resigned in disgust vowing that “he would go to his grave before having anything further to do with the Mint Bureau”.

In 1905, however he was presented with an “offer he could not refuse”. The President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, called on him to redesign our “atrociously hideous” coinage. Accepting the challenge despite the vicious objections of the Mint Director, Charles Barber (who was involved in the 1892 Columbian Exposition debacle) he and his aid, Henry Hering started work on new coinage designs. Due to declining health Mr. St. Gaudens was unable to deal with the day to day details with the mint and left much of that up to his pupil, the aforementioned Henry Hering. Barber overruled both Hering and St. Gaudens at every turn, convinced that they did not know anything about the minting process but the talent of St. Gaudens in design, the perseverance of Hering and the iron will of the President moved the project forward. Luckily it did, for we now have this majestic coin as the penultimate of coinage designs for this or any other century. At first, the trial pieces were of the High Relief design and were impractical from a production standpoint (they took 5 blows from the 172 pound press to bring up the detail). Over Barbers objections and only at the order of the President himself… “Begin the new issue even if it takes all day to strike one piece!” production commenced. Later the issue was lowered in relief to make it more usable for everyday commerce.

This series consists of some of the rarest coins of the Twentieth Century and ends with the enigmatic 1933 Saint that only recently has become legal to own. Through the series there are highlights such as the Extremely High Relief and the High Relief of 1907. The rare dates of the 20’s such as the ’20-S, the ‘21-P, ’27-S and in a league all its own, the legendary 1927-D $20. The few dates of the ‘30’s are worth mentioning and of course the series ends with Presidential Order 6260 in March of 1933 preventing any further release of Gold coinage and making public ownership of Gold (except for numismatic items) illegal. It was a great run of coins and a collection that is complete or just a sample of the highlights is truly a pleasure to behold and a treasure beyond words.
Tel: 909-920-3164    •   Fax: 909-912-8063
© 2014 Inland Empire Numismatics, Inc. • All Rights Reserved • Privacy Policy Terms of Use
Web Site Design & Development by The Whole Enchilada