From the Grading Room: 1922 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle MS-62 PL

Posted on 8/1/2006

A look at the first Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle ever to be certified as MS PL.

Sometimes the most ordinary of coin issues can reveal something extraordinary, and such is the case with this remarkable Double Eagle. The Philadelphia Mint coined well over a million twenty-dollar pieces in 1922, and enough of these were shipped overseas before the 1933 recall of gold coinage that this date remains common even in Mint State condition. What sets this example apart, however, is not its numeric grade but the amazing finish of the dies from which it was struck.

Fully prooflike pieces of the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle are all but unknown, the typical example having a frosty luster throughout or, perhaps, some areas of satiny smoothness and a few isolated patches of prooflike brilliance. But this amazing specimen displays bright and reflective surfaces throughout. It is unusually well struck at the peripheries, with broad and square borders, yet there are scattered traces of incomplete striking in some of the design elements. This rules out the possibility of a proof or specimen strike, but there are myriad fine die-polishing lines in the swirling pattern typical of fresh dies.

Whatever this coin's story may be, it is the first example of its type to be certified by NGC as MS PL. That alone makes it memorable.

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