The St. Gaudens $20 Double Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1907 through 1933. President Roosevelt began his idea to beautify American coinage around 1904 and selected Augustus Saint-Gaudens as the artist. Roosevelt was a huge admirer of ancient Greek coins, especially those of high-relief designs and saw an opportunity to further his cause. He felt Augustus Saint-Gaudens was the most capable of the task. Even though Augustus Saint-Gaudens had a poor relationship with the Mint and its chief engraver, Charles E. Barber, Saint-Gaudens accepted the challenge. The work continued through considerable delays, due to Saint-Gaudens’s declining health and difficulties with his high relief design. Sadly, Saint-Gaudens died in 1907, after completing his design of the gold eagle and gold double eagle, but before the designs went to production. He never saw his coins in circulation.
The first years of production, 1907 and 1908 the coins lacked the words “In God We Trust”, (No Motto), and Congress intervened to require the motto’s use, (Motto). The coin was minted primarily for use in international trade until 1933.
Some Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle facts:
Since the $20 gold double eagle coin had twice the value of the $10 gold eagle, these coins were designated “double eagles“. The first double eagle was minted in 1849, coinciding with the California Gold Rush.
Measuring 34 mm in diameter, the coins weigh 33.436 grams each and consist of 90% gold and 10% copper. The Double Eagle contains .9675 ounce of gold.
The mint mark is located on the reverse, just above the date. “D” is for the Denver Mint, while an “S” indicates production at the San Francisco Mint. The other facility to produce these coins, Philadelphia, did not use a mint mark.
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