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.
Rare dates and
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 legacy lives
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.