August 2014 Chicago ANA Lot #13276

Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
8/6/2014 4:30:00 PM8/6/2014 11:59:00 PM
  • PCGS

Price Realized: $0.00


Vibrant satin luster mingles with equally attractive pale rose and medium orange patina on both sides of this impressive condition rarity among extant 1921 double eagles. Fully struck and outwardly smooth in most areas, were it not for a few extremely minor, well scattered abrasions this coin may have secured a Choice Mint State rating.The mintage figures for several double eagle issues produced in the 1920s and 1930s mask their rarity today. During the financial crises that resulted from World War I, most double eagles did not circulate domestically but were rather used for international trade, principally to Europe. Demand for double eagles for export soared in the years following the Great War, which resulted in higher production numbers throughout the 1920s. Bags of newly minted Saint-Gaudens double eagles sat in bank and government vaults or were used in prearranged specie payments to foreign banks. Fortunately, some enterprising and well-connected numismatists managed to obtain issues through back channels via bankers and Treasury officials that otherwise would not have entered circulation. This all changed on April 5, 1933 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102 requiring the surrender of all but a desultory amount of gold coin, bullion, and gold certificates in an effort to prevent hoarding. This order was later superseded by Executive Order 6260 signed on August 28, 1933 which included export prohibitions, effectively ceasing the flow of gold out of the country. The double eagles still in government and bank hands ended up in Treasury melting pots, cast into ingots and transferred to gold reserves. In the process, the vast majority of the Saint-Gaudens double eagles struck in the 1920s and 1930s ended up in government smelters with no regard for date or mintmark.   The 1921 double eagle was the only gold denomination struck that year and then only at Philadelphia. A few were paid out domestically and as specie payments to Europe following the Great War, but the substantial bulk remained at the Mint. The 1921 double eagle is one such issue that mostly ended up in the melts of the 1930s. Like the 1920-S, the vast majority of the 528,500 coins struck were melted down in the 1930s, leaving an estimated 150 coins behind, including many coins in circulated grade levels. When David Akers wrote about this issue, he called it "the premier condition rarity of the Saint-Gaudens series." This is one of the most desired twentieth century gold rarities and always in strong demand.