1929 $20 MS (PCGS# 9190)


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    Heritage Auctions
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1929 $20 MS66 PCGS. Like so many other issues in this fabled and fabulous series, the 1929 Saint-Gaudens was once considered a major rarity, only to see its position somewhat eroded over time as the repatriations of overseas caches of coins occur. Today it is still a scarcity and expensive, but examples are available for a price, as nearly 300 examples are certified between NGC and PCGS. Most of those coins, in fact the vast majority, are MS64 or less, although the MS64 grade represents the bulk of the certified coinage for the issue. Between NGC and PCGS, 149 pieces fall into that near-Gem grade level. At the Gem or MS65 level the number certified plummets sharply, and in MS66 the total drops even more radically. There are 27 Gem pieces certified, and only six coins at both services combined have achieved the Premium Gem or MS66 level, including the present piece. All of the above totals, of course, almost certainly include unknown but considerable numbers of resubmissions. Bowers' Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins aptly calls the 1929 issue a "changing rarity in modern times," although we disagree with his lumping it with the common 1922-1928 Saint-Gaudens pieces when he says, "Now, many collections will end with the 1929 date instead of 1928 as formerly." Au contraire, we believe the 1929 date will always remain associated with the various legendary issues including the 1930-S, 1931, 1931-D, and 1932. While the latter pieces are notably rarer than the 1929, the association is apt for two reasons: First, because all of the group were issued during the Great Depression, and second, the 1929 is orders of magnitude rarer than the earlier Philadelphia Mint dates from 1922 to 1928. Bowers' estimate of 1,250 to 1,750 pieces extant also appears wildly optimistic, given the certified totals and the distant probability of many more examples remaining undiscovered. In The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse Collection, the authors no
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