Collecting Saint-Gaudens, Part V - 1910-1914-S $20s

Posted on 4/12/2012

Part IV of this series covers 1910 to 1914-S Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles.

1910. Mintage: 482,167. The 1910 Philadelphia issue is one of the most commonly seen from this Mint from 1908 Motto to 1915. The date can be found in most grades of Mint State from MS 60 to MS 64 with relative ease. Most examples seen are well struck but with rather rough surfaces. Most are heavily bag marked. Gem examples are quite scarce and can be difficult to locate. Superb coins are very rare, as NGC has only graded three at the MS 66 level. The 1910 Double Eagle jumps dramatically in price at each grade level from MS 64 to MS 65 and to MS 66. None are known in MS 67.

1910–D. Mintage: 429,000. This date can be found in all grades from MS 60 to MS 65 with moderate effort. Gem MS 65 examples trade for a modest premium to the most common dates, even though less than 500 have been graded by NGC at that level. If you are buying an example of the type, purchasing an issue such as this one can be quite prudent. The 1910 Double Eagle rapidly becomes a true rarity in higher grades. Only 40 to 50 have been certified by NGC as MS 66, and only 2 have reached the MS 67 status. An NGC MS 67 sold at auction in 2011 for $23,000.

1910–S. Mintage: 2,128,250. As can be guessed from the extremely high mintage, most of the 1910–S Double Eagles were melted during the 1930s. Many of the survivors were shipped overseas to European or South American banks. One of the largest group of this date to surface was discovered in El Salvador during the early 1980s. Most if not all of the coins were Mint State, and the date can be easily found in all grades below MS 65. Most of the coins seen of this date are well struck with better than average surfaces. Gem examples are rare and quite popular as less than 100 have been graded by NGC as MS 65. Perhaps 7 to 10 Superb coins are known. The Eliasberg/Clapp coin is among the finest seen. There is one monster coin of this date known. A nearly flawless, MS 68 example surfaced in the Midwest in the late 1970s. I seem to remember it being handled by Joe Flynn, a major dealer at the time. The coin has not been on the market in years. It would certainly fetch a strong six-figure price.

1911. Mintage: 197,350. The 1911 Philadelphia issue is similar in rarity to the others from this Mint from 1908 Motto to 1915. Most are underrated and very difficult to locate in grades above MS 64. Most of the coins seen of this issue are well struck but with rather dull luster. The level of bag marks are the primary issue with coins of this date. Gem MS 65 or MS 66 examples are very rare and seldom seen. NGC has certified 3 coins as MS 67, the last having sold at public auction for $34,500 in 2007. That coin would certainly command a higher price in today’s market.

1911–D. Mintage: 846,500. The 1911–D is among the most plentiful Double Eagle of this time period. NGC has graded around 2,000 coins at the MS 65 level and over 500 at MS 66. The date brings a very small premium if any in grades below MS 67. Most of the 1911–D Double Eagles seen are well struck with sometimes deep green–gold colorations. A doubled mintmark variety is known, which is not particularly rare and does not usually command a large premium. In 2011 an NGC graded 1911–D/D sold for $21,850 at public auction.

1911–S. Mintage: 775,750. The 1911–S is significantly scarcer than its Denver counterpart. Only around 250 coins have been graded MS 65 by NGC. The date usually brings a two to three times premium versus common dates of the series in MS 65. Large numbers of this date were found in the El Salvador hoard, but most were in the MS 60 to MS 64 grade. The strike for the date can sometimes be somewhat shallow and, as usual, bag marks plague most examples seen. A few Gem coins are known for the date and a few have sold at auction in recent years for $10-15,000.

1912. Mintage: 149,824. This date is very popular as the Philadelphia issue are the only Double Eagles struck for the year. They are doubly popular this year during the centennial of its issue. In early 1912, New Mexico and Arizona joined the United States, thus increasing the 46 star count then current on the obverse die. An additional two stars were added below the date near the oak leaves, and the other 46 stars remained in their current place. Although technically a new type was created by the addition of the two stars, these additional stars are not widely recognized by collectors. As a result of its low mintage, the 1912 Double Eagle is quite scarce in all levels of Mint State. Most seen are heavily bag marked, probably the result of rough handling from their trips overseas and back. Small groups of the date have surfaced over the years, but very few have been found in Gem condition. Just 3 coins have been certified as MS 66 by NGC, and the last one to appear sold for $27,600 in 2005. Interestingly, the business strike 1912 Double Eagle is one of the few gold coins missing from the Smithsonian collection.

1913. Mintage: 168,780. As would be expected from its low mintage, the 1913 Double Eagle is very scarce in most grades. In 1913 the world was very close to war and mintages decreased as gold stopped flowing over international borders. Most examples seen of the date are heavily bag marked. The date is also one of the few issues that is seen quite often in circulated condition. Obviously, not very many were saved by collectors. Very few have been graded at even the MS 65 level. NGC has graded 17 as MS 65, the last coin having sold for $34,500 at auction in 2009. Only one example has been certified as MS 66. Unfortunately, the coin has not appeared at auction or been seen in recent years. It would bring a block buster price if offered.

1913–D. Mintage: 393,500. As with many issues from this period, most examples survived in European or South American bank vaults and have trickled back home in the past four decades. The date can be found easily in grades from MS 60 to MS 64. Gems, however, are scarce with NGC having graded only 131 coins at that level. When offered, the date usually brings two to three times that of a common issue in Gem. Only 10 to 15 coins are known in Superb MS 66 condition. An NGC MS 66 coin sold for $24,150 in 2010.

1913–S. Mintage: 34,000. This date is very popular as the third lowest mintage Double Eagle after the 1907 High Relief and the 1908–S. Other dates are much rarer as quite a few of this issue’s low mintage survived. For some reason, a significant number were saved; these probably sat out the first half of the century in European or South American bank vaults. The 1913–S is a classic condition rarity. NGC has graded 215 MS 64 examples, but only 8 as Gem MS 65. The price for this issue soars at the highest levels. Only one MS 66 coin is known for the date. It was at one time part of the famous “Dallas Bank” collection.

1914. Mintage: 95,250. Coins of this date are comparable to the ones struck in 1912. As a date, this issue is very elusive in Gem MS 65, but generally available in grades below Gem. Several groups found contained many of the surviving examples and these were released over the last few decades. Because of the date’s very low mintage, the issue is quite popular with collectors. Choice and Gem examples are rare with NGC having graded 314 MS 64 and just 24 MS 65 examples to date. Only one coin has been certified at the MS 66 level. Unfortunately, the coin has not sold at public auction. The circulation strike 1914 Double Eagle is also missing in the Smithsonian National Collection. The date is represented by two examples in Proof condition.

1914–D. Mintage: 453,000. The 1914–D Double Eagle is among the most common dates of the series. Examples can be found in grades below MS 66 with relative ease. Gem pieces of the date sell for a very small premium to the latter date common issues. MS 66 examples are quite scarce and bring a substantial premium. NGC has graded just 43 as MS 66 with the last coin offered at auction in 2011 selling for $6,038. The finest graded by NGC of the date are 2 coins at the MS 67 level. One sold for $25,300 in 2009.

1914–S. Mintage: 1,498,000. As would be expected from its massive mintage, the 1914–S is among the most common dates of the entire series. Large groups of the date continue to be found in shipments arriving from Europe to this day. Most seen are satiny and bold, although many are found with handling marks from years of storage or from jostling about in storage bags. Most survivors are in the MS 62 to MS 65 grade range. Surprisingly, only around 150 coins have been graded as MS 66 and just a single example has been awarded the MS 67 designation. The MS 67 coin sold for $43,125 in 2008.

More on Collecting Saint-Gaudens

Part I: Introduction

Part II: Indian Head Eagles, 1907-1911-S

Part III: Indian Head Eagles, 1912-1933

Part IV: Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles, 1907-1909-S

Part VI: Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles, 1915-1923-D

Part VII: Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles, 1924-1933

Questions about the rare coin market? Send them to wmr@ngccoin.com.

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