$20 Gold Menu
St. Gaudens Double Eagle 1907 - Present
"....There were a number prominent people in the East, especially in New York and
Boston, who some time before began an agitation for an improvement in appearance
of all our coinage. The President quickly became the leading spirit of the movement.
The prevalent idea in this undertaking was that the design and execution of our
coinage were inferior and inartistic when compared with those of ancient Greece;
and as the coins used by a nation are one of the most enduring records of the art
and mechanical skill of its age, our government should make an issue of coinage
that would leave to future generations and ages something that would more truthfully
and correctly reflect the artistic taste and mechanical ability of our day than the
coinage then in use, unchanged for so many years." - Memoirs of Frank A. Leach Mint director 1907
Leach then makes a comment concerning what he considers to be the imitative nature
of the Saint-Gaudens coinage (in producing the Ultra High Relief and High Relief designs).
"...They wanted the designs for the proposed coinage to be brought out in high relief,
or with medallic effect, like the designs on the ancient coins. The commercial use
and requirements seemed to have been lost sight of in the enthusiasm of producing a
highly artistic coin; but in all probability none of the leading spirits in the movement
was familiar with the use of metallic money, and did not understand that the proposed
high relief would make the face of the coins so uneven that the pieces would not
'stack,' which was a condition fatal to the practicability of the idea."
- Memoirs of Frank A. Leach Mint director 1907
Type 1 Without Motto (1907-1908)
- Designer: Augustus Saint-Gaudens
- Diameter: 34 millimeters
- Content: 90% gold 10% other
- Weight: 33.4 grams
- Edge: Lettered |******E|*PLURIBUS*|UNUM*****
- Mint Mark Location: Above the date on the obverse.
**Includes Ultra-High Reliefs, High Reliefs, and Arabic Numeral varieties
Without Motto (1907-1908)
Type 1 (1907)
The "Wire Rim" protruded around the outer extremity of the coins, caused by
metal flow between the die face and collar during the striking process.
Unlike today's collectors who consider the Wire Rim to be highly collectible,
Mint officials considered it to be a striking deficiency. This "flaw" was
corrected by mid-December, and later High Relief double eagles had a Flat Rim.
The MCMVII Ultra High Relief coins are a rarity, and they remain all but
unobtainable, since only 19 or 20 pieces were struck. They belong to a small
group of coins such as the 1804 Silver Dollar, the 1894-S Barber Dime, the
1943-D copper cent, and the 1913 Liberty head nickel.
Type 2 With Motto (1908-1933)
- Designer: Augustus Saint-Gaudens, modified late in 1907 by Charles E. Barber
The 1907-1908 double eagles do not have the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. This became
an issue even though the Coinage Act of 1890 did not include it as part of the
required wording which was to be placed on all U.S. coins. E PLURIBIS UNUM in
raised letters, with thirteen separating raised stars, is on the edge of the coin.
Type 2 (1907)
Arabic Numerals, No Motto
Regardless of the reason for the omission, in 1908 Congress required that
the motto be restored (as on the Liberty Head Double Eagle). This brought
the double eagle into compliance with the Act of March 3, 1865. The date
was also changed to 'Arabic' numerals instead of the original Roman numerals.
Double Eagles without Motto were minted in Philadelphia and Denver. Thousands
of "Without Motto Saint-Gaudens" business strikes have been certified, most
of them are 1908 Philadelphia issue. Prices are modest for pieces through
MS62, often trading not much above bullion value, but prices increase above the MS62 grade.
The last significant change of the double eagle was adding the Motto
at the 6 O'clock, position in another arc. In 1912 the number of stars
was increased from 46 to 48, marking the addition of New Mexico and
Arizona. Most double eagles minted after 1928 were stored by the
Treasury and not released into circulation.
Type 3 With Motto
Type 3 (1908-1933)
Executive Order 6102 of April 5, 1933 by President Roosevelt, stated:
"I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America
do hereby prohibit the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold
certificates within the continental United States by individuals, partnerships,
associations and corporations ".
Individuals were ordered to deliver gold coins, bullion, and gold certificates
to a Federal Reserve bank or branch by May 1 of that year.
The only exceptions were made for jewelers, artists, and collectors of
"rare and unusual" gold coins, but the Order also allowed "any one person"
to keep "gold coin and gold certificates in an amount not exceeding in the aggregate $100.00."
Thus ended the minting of Gold coins by The United States for general
|Mint Mark||Mint||Date of Operation|
|S||San Francisco, CA||1854-1955; 1968-present|
* No grading standards have been established for later dated "bullion" Saint Gaudens Double Eagles.