Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 MST

$20 The Saint Gaudens

Saint Gaudens $20 gold coins are the most heralded of all U.S. gold coins. Minted 1907-1933, St. Gaudens are known as Double Eagles, which means they are $20 gold coins. The only other Double Eagle gold coins are $20 Libertys, minted 1850-1907, which the Saint Gaudens superseded. Double Eagles are .900 fine (90% pure) and contain .9675 oz of gold.

  • Saint Gaudens
  • Saint Gaudens
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Saint Gaudens are launched

In late 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt made known his thoughts that American coins were ugly, and he asked renowned American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to redesign the $10 Eagle and the $20 Double Eagle (The $20 Liberty-head gold coin). It was Roosevelt’s desire for American coins to be as beautiful as the coins of ancient Greece.

Saint-Gaudens produced not only the venerable coin that is known as the St. Gaudens but also the beautiful Indian Head design, which superseded the Liberty-head design on $10, $5, and $2.50 gold coins. Indian Head coins and St. Gaudens were minted until President Franklin Roosevelt called in gold in 1933.

St. Gaudens: heavily promoted

St. Gaudens gold coins, along with $20 Liberty-head Double Eagles, are the gold coins of choice for telemarketers. Investors new to the gold coin market too often fall for telemarketers’ spiels and pay prices far above the going market for Double Eagles.

Typically, telemarketers will promote PCGS and NGC graded Double Eagles at prices sometimes $200 to $300 above the going market. We have run across instances where unaware buyers have paid double real market prices.

Does this mean that the Saint Gaudens gold coins are never good buys? No, it does not. At times, St. Gaudens gold coins are good investments.

When to buy St. Gaudens gold coins

Saint Gaudens gold coins are good investments when they sell at spot or at small premiums over spot. Look at the graph that tracks VF-grade $20 Libertys against the spot price of gold. At times, VF $20 Libertys have traded at spot and at other times they have carried big premiums.

Specifically, in the early 1980s, the late 1980s, and early 1990s, VF $20 Liberty’s traded at spot; however, in the mid-1980s and the mid- to late-1990s, they gained premiums. Graphs that plot St. Gaudens gold coins prices against spot show the same relationship. In 1992, MS-62 St. Gaudens gold coins sold at $20 over spot. Investors need be aware that Saint Gaudens premiums could shrink as the price of gold climbs higher.

Saint Gaudens coins readily available

St. Gaudens gold coins are plentiful, and they are available in excellent condition because few were used as money. (This contrary to the $20 Liberty-head gold coins, which were commonly used in commerce.) In fact, it is easier to find AU/BU St. Gaudens than VF/XF grades.

Not only did Roosevelt’s 1933 gold call-in help preserve St. Gaudens, but by 1907, when the first St. Gaudens were minted, Americans had started using paper money in lieu of gold coins; consequently, few St. Gaudens were used as money and, therefore, survived in better condition than $20 Libertys.

The 1908 No Motto St. Gaudens

The 1908 no motto St. Gaudens gold coin is one of the most common St. Gaudens coins promoted. Telemarketers like to say that the coin is unique because it is the only U.S. gold coin without out the motto In God We Trust. However, the 1908 no mottoSt. Gaudens gold coins are usually priced the same as other common date St. Gaudens gold coins.

Buy St. Gaudens at low premiums

If you would like to get the real market on St. Gaudens (or $20 Liberty-head) gold coins, call us at 800-528-1380. We take calls Mondays through Fridays 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MST.  It is rare that we do not have the lowest premiums in the industry for St. Gaudens and for $20 Liberty Head gold coins.