The Exchange : The most beautiful coin

The most beautiful coin

St -Gaudens 1981-0195-5990-01o St -Gaudens 1981-0195-5990-01r

Have you ever seen a Saint-Gaudens double eagle? If you have, you might consider it "The Most Beautiful Coin Ever." In 1904 Augustus Saint-Gaudens started designing the coin, but because it was in high relief it was harder to sculpt the press for production and to strike the coin.

Starting in 1907 the coin's production was started. These coins almost contained a whole ounce of gold.  The first coins for general circulation were in high relief. Relief is when the coin's design is above the field or the background of the coin with no designs or lettering. Also the double eagle had Roman Numerals in the date. The date looked like this: MCMVII (1907). Charles E. Barber later changed the design in 1908 by lowering the relief on it so it would be easier to strike and changed the numerals so the date could more easily be read.  So, in 1908 the coin had a lower relief, numbers that Americans could read, no 'In God We Trust" motto and 46 stars.

Then again in 1908, the motto "In God We Trust" was added to the reverse of the coin. Again, in 1912, the design was changed so that there were 48 stars to represent the two states that were added to the union: New Mexico and Arizona. The design wasn't changed for the rest of the production. In 1933, eagles, ($10) and double eagles' ($20) production was stopped because the Gold Standard was lifted by Franklin D. Roosevelt.                 

Rare dates and Errors

During production there were many low mintages and one overdate. The overdate was the 1909, 9 over 8. The rarest dates are the 1927 "D," the 1921, the 1920 "S," the 1926 "D," and the "King," the 1933 double eagle. Even though this coin didn't have the lowest mintage in the series, 445,000, there are only 13 specimens known and only one sold at auction for $7,590,028. It was the most valuable coin for over decade until recently when a 1794 dollar coin was sold for over 10 million. All the other 1933 double eagles are believed to have been melted at the mint. 

The legacy lives on

Collectors have always loved the Saint-Gaudens double eagle, so in 1986 gold bullion coins started coming out for collectors. The obverse of the coin shows a modified version of the Saint-Gaudens double eagle. The bullion coins came out in different sizes with different amounts of gold in them. The sizes are 1 ounce, 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce and 1/10 ounce of gold. Also, later in 2009 the Mint came out with an ultra-high relief gold coin with Saint-Gaudens design. The coin is a more modern version of the double eagle and was struck in 24k gold so it would more easily maintain the design. Some other changes the Mint made to the coin were that they added two more stars to represent Alaska and Hawaii and made the coin 4 mm thick. All were struck at the West Point Mint.

So in conclusion, I think the Saint-Gaudens double eagle is the most beautiful coin ever to be struck by the U.S. Mint.

Written by Eric Niedzielski at 00:00

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