1931-D $20 MS65 PCGS

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Lot 95
1931-D $20 MS65 PCGS
Sold for US$ 109,200 inc. premium

Coins and Medals

28 Jan 2019, 10:00 PST

Los Angeles

Lot Details
1931-D $20 MS65 PCGS
1931-D $20 MS65 PCGS
A lovely, lustrous specimen with satiny surfaces on both sides. Well struck, the centers present a subtle pink-golden appearance while soft lime-golden color has formed at the outer portions of the coin from years of careful storage, probably in an album. A couple of tiny marks are noted on Liberty's leg, a few tiny ones are below the eagle on the reverse. The 1931-D double eagle features the sixth lowest mintage of the series, just 106,500 pieces. The issue was probably intended for reserves, as there was little call for large denomination coins in the domestic economy during the Great Depression. Most of the coins were melted after the Gold Recall of 1933.

Currently, only seven examples have been graded finer by PCGS. There are some companions (16) at the MS65 level, no doubt some of them representing multiple submissions. The rarity of the 1931-D has been well known for a long time. It is the penultimate to the latest dated Saint-Gaudens double eagle that can be practically collected, as the infamous 1933 is exceedingly rare and also valued into multiple millions of dollars.

The 1931-D is one of the most desired of all Saint-Gaudens double eagles. PCGS estimates that somewhere between 100 to 150 different pieces exist in numismatic hands, nearly all of which are Choice or Gem quality, as is this particular coin. Most were kept in the United States and melted in the 1930s, however, it seems that a few dozen were acquired as investments by knowledgeable numismatists, F.C.C. Boyd likely among them, and sold into the market through various dealers (especially Abe Kosoff) in the 1940s. An unknown quantity was exported to Europe. The 1927-D, now the premier issue of the series, was actually thought to be less rare than this date until the early-1950s when small quantities of the 1931-D first began showing up in European banks. Over the next two decades, a couple of mini-hoards of the '31-D were discovered, but relatively few of these pieces graded better than Choice Uncirculated and the majority were heavily marked and / or lackluster. Despite the emergence of a hoard of 15-20 pieces in 1984, the 1931-D continues to hold its place as the second rarest Saint-Gaudens double eagle from the Denver Mint today.

The 1931-D $20 was one of 10 varieties of Saint-Gaudens double eagles available in Uncirculated condition for face value (plus mailing charge) from the Treasury Department in the summer of 1932. Unsold pieces remained in storage at the Philadelphia Mint and at the Treasury Building in Washington and went to the melting pots in 1937. This is an opportunity for the Saint-Gaudens specialist to acquire one of the finest examples known of this later date rarity. Population: 16 in 65, only 7 are finer. (PCGS 9193)
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