What are $20 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle coins?
The Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle coin is the creation of master sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and is arguably one of the most beautiful and artful designs ever placed on a United States coin. This particular product represents a period in the production of these gold coins which is the second sub-type of the series. They have the motto "In God We Trust" on the reverse of the coin, placed onto the design after Congressional action to require it in 1908.
History of the design of $20 Double Eagle gold coin
After more than a half-century in circulation, President Theodore Roosevelt was of the opinion that the designs of our gold coins were in need of rejuvenation. He had been familiar with the work of master engraver and sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens through an unofficial presidential inauguration medal he had designed for Roosevelt. The President asked if Saint-Gaudens could design something for the double eagle that was more "distinctly American" in design. Saint-Gaudens had experienced trouble in the past communicating with Mint officials, but agreed to the request on the promise by Roosevelt that mint officials would not be a hinderance to his creativity.
Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle Design
Saint-Gaudens worked on the new double eagle designs based on the request by Roosevelt that they be "distinctly American." The obverse design shows Lady Liberty stepping up onto a raised platform of stone bearing a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left hand, signifying peace. She is stepping in front of a sunrise with the capitol building in the background. Incidentally, thirteen rays of light were incorporated into the design, one for each of the thirteen original states of the union. The reverse design shows an eagle in flight with the rising sun at the bottom of the design with sun rays pointing upward behind the eagle.
These designs were incorporated in high relief in 1907, but had to be changed a number of times because the initial design could not be fully struck with a single blow by the press. Because the force used to mint the coins was too great for the dies to withstand an affordable number of coins struck per die, the design had to be changed within the first full year of production. The relief of the design was lowered to ensure these problems were solved. By 1908 the coins were in full production with the lower-relief designs.
Condition of $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle gold coins
During the early decades of the twentieth century, the typical worker made about $400 per year. A double eagle was about equal to a month's wages, making them too expensive to be used widely in commerce. Their primary role in commerce was for business to business transactions such as bank transfers. Another of their purposes was to monetize the surplus of gold deposits for accounting purposes. Given that, many of the $20 Double Eagle gold coins were never pocket-worn in circulation. Most were instead transferred from place to place in bags with other coins. This made low-end uncirculated grades the most common among these coins.
The product you are viewing is for one $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle gold coin from the second sub-type (with the motto on the reverse) that does not have wear from circulation. This is the definition of the term 'uncirculated' - not to be confused with 'never released for circulation'.
|Year of Issue:||Random Date 1908-1932|
|Weight in Grams:||30.093 g|
|Weight in Ounces:||0.9675 oz|
|Legal Tender:||United States|
|Obverse Design:||Liberty striding forward with the rising sun to her back|
|Reverse Design:||Eagle in flight|
|Reverse Designer/Engraver:||Augustus Saint-Gaudens|
|Obverse Designer/Engraver:||Augustus Saint-Gaudens|