The Exchange : A renaissance of beautiful U.S. coinage

A renaissance of beautiful U.S. coinage

As I began to take a look at my previous blogs, I realized all of the Money Museum exhibits I have written about thus far are from the first floor in the Money Museum. Therefore, I figured this week I would take a trip to the lower gallery of the museum to find what would pique my interest.


There were plenty of numismatic items on display that were interesting enough to write about, but ultimately I had to choose only one item to focus on. To no surprise, the 1907 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle grabbed my attention. This coin is widely recognized as the most beautiful coin ever minted in the United States.



20-Saint -Gaudens -Obverse

(1911 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle)


The coin was created by world renowned artist and sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. In 1905, the United States was growing into one of the premier countries in the world. President Theodore Roosevelt was an admirer of Greek coins by reason of their beauty. Consequently, he wished to change the coinage in the United States to enhance the beauty of American coins and reflect the glory of his great nation.


Roosevelt could think of nobody one better than Saint-Gaudens to complete this honorable project. The first coin he designed was the 1907 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. Every American coin would later be redesigned, in what would become known as the Renaissance of U.S. Coinage with the cent (1909), Buffalo nickel (1913), dime (1916), quarter (1916), dollar (1921), and quarter eagle (1908); all coins reflected the optimism and growth of the nation.  


Saint-Gaudens was only able to complete the designs for the eagle and double eagle before he died in August 1907. His works and remaining coinage designs were finished by other illustrious sculptors.


The coins created out of the Renaissance of U.S. Coinage did not last long. Due to the Great Depression, minting of gold coinage ended in the 1930s to protect the gold reserves. In 1933, the minting of the Double Eagle ceased. At this time, the coinage changed to what many of us are accustomed to today - historic-looking coinage that reflects the portraits of former prominent United States leaders.


Long gone is the circulation of the beautiful Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. It has been an awfully long time since the coinage designs have fully been changed.


As a result, it begs the question, is it time to redesign American coinage? If so, should we redesign them to reflect beauty such as the 1907 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle once did? 


Tell us what you think in the comments.  

Written by Brandon Ortega at 00:00



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