THE ST. GAUDENS LEGACY MADE TODAY’S GOLD AMERICAN EAGLE
In 1907, after decades of the classic Liberty design, American gold coinage was due for an update. Sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens took the opportunity to redesign the big $20 piece, creating one of the most beautiful coins in U.S. history to which he gave his name. The $20 St. Gaudens was so beautiful and popular that it served as inspiration for the modern U.S. Mint Gold American Eagle program upon its creation in 1986 five decades after the last $20 Saint-Gaudens was struck.
THE “DOUBLE-EAGLE” CONTINUES AFTER REDESIGN
As with its $20 Liberty predecessor, the $20 St. Gaudens carries the “Double-Eagle” nickname which is derived from it being double the size of $10 coins which were first dubbed “Eagles”. The $20 Saint built on the reputation of the Liberty as the foundational near one-ounce coin used through 1933 accompanied by the new $10, $5, and $2.5 Indian Gold Coins. Made to be used, it was key that the $20 Saint-Gaudens and the Indian coins be struck in more durable 22-kt gold.
THE FIXED & LIMITED SUPPLY ADVANTAGE
Despite that durability, heavy use eventually wore the $20 Saint-Gaudens down to the point they were removed from the money supply and melted to be made into new coins. With the cessation of gold coin minting and mass meltdowns during the Great Depression, the $20 Saint-Gaudens program came to an end. The resultant fixed and limited supply of Saints and all Pre-1933 U.S. Gold Coins creates greater profit potential in comparison to the larger and ever-expanding supply of Modern Bullion Gold Coins.
Within this fixed supply of $20 St. Gaudens Gold Coins, it’s smart to own those with the most limited availability in order to boost profit potential. In contrast to $20 Saints, the Gold American Eagles that the U.S. Mint makes today never enter the money supply to see daily use, so their supply and quality is not naturally diminishing. The very large majority of Gold American Eagles made in 1990 still exist today and remain in pristine quality. Not so with $20 Saint-Gaudens.
HIGH-QUALITY & PCGS/NGC CERTIFICATION IS KEY
Given their heavy use, of the Saints remaining today, supply is shorter the higher the quality which translates into higher value and profit-potential and, thus, a priority for investors. This makes a trusted system for determining not only authenticity, but quality, absolutely critical.
Two trusted, long-standing, third-party grading companies fill this need: PCGS (the Professional Coin Grading Service) and NGC (the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation). These companies employ experts and a strict system developed over decades for verifying a coin’s authenticity and determining its quality.
SEALED IN SLABS WITH GRADING CERTS
The process concludes by sealing each coin in tamper-evident hard plastic rectangular “slabs” along with their certificate of authenticity detailing the biographical details of the coin (year and mint of issues, denomination, design) along with its expert-determined quality or grade.
This system and packaging enable accurate, straightforward discussion, buying and selling, ensuring an active market and easy liquidity of coins that are “slabbed” or “certified” as they’re often referred. These terms distinguish them from their “raw” or “uncertified” counterparts which are generally in lower, circulated quality. While uncertified coins still have a place in a gold portfolio, they don’t require grading due to their lower quality and value.
FOCUS ON THE INVESTMENT-GRADE MARKET SEGMENT
The foundation of the above grading system is a 1 to 70 numerical scale where a grade of 1 is nearly unrecognizable to a perfect grade of 70. At 60 and up, coins are in uncirculated condition also known as “Mint State” (most often seen abbreviated as MS + the corresponding numerical grade). While MS-62 offer a solid low-end opportunity in Mint State Gold Coins, we strongly recommend the Investment-Grade range from MS-63 to MS-66.
As discussed above, these high-end grades are the way to add the profit advantage created by a smaller supply. Essentially, Investment-Grade Gold Coins allow buyers to add rarity to their gold portfolio without the additional learning-curve and experience required of truly rare coins.
NO DATES AND NO MINTS
This explains why only $20 St. Gaudens in various Mint State grades are featured here without any reference to year of issue or mintmarks indicating where the coin was made, like Philadelphia or Denver. While those details are critical for rare dates of $20 Saint-Gaudens, for Investment-Grade Saints, the focus is only on high-quality at the best price.
As with the other core Pre-1933 U.S. Gold Coins, several years of $20 St. Gaudens have similar survival rates today leading them to trade at the same price given for the grade. We generally fulfill these $20 Saint purchases with Philadelphia Mint coins made in the 1920’s like 1923, 1924, 1926, and 1927.
THE IDEAL DIVERSIFIER FOR 1-OZ. GOLD BULLION BUYERS
Nearly all gold investors start by buying the standard and ubiquitous 1-oz. gold bullion coin or bar like the Gold American Eagle or one of its counterparts made at trusted mints around the world. Through a little experience and education, they see the wisdom of diversifying into a similar “product” that still offers the heavy gold weight they prefer plus the added benefits of age and high-quality leading them to the big $20 St. Gaudens, particularly in the Investment-Grade range.
CALL US FOR ADVICE & GUIDANCE FROM A REAL PERSON
We’re here to answer basic questions or offer extensive education on $20 St. Gaudens and all Pre-1933 U.S. Gold Coins. Extensive information is available throughout this site and in printed form – call and request that we mail you our Austin Gold & Silver Portfolio Packet, but also if you prefer one-one-one help.
Our Gold & Silver Advisors
offer a no-pressure focus on advice, education, and guidance on all things precious metals at 1-800-928-6468.
FURTHER EDUCATION CAN BE FOUND HERE:
>Understanding Grading & Certification: Anatomy of a Certified Coin
>Want to learn more about the Investment-Grade Gold Coin Market?: Tier II: Investment-Grade Pre-1933 U.S. Gold Coins
>Want to learn more about our Multi-Tier Gold & Silver Portfolio?: How to Build a Balanced, Diversified Portfolio