Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles
The Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagle gold coin is widely considered the most beautiful coin in the United States has ever produced. While everyone has their own opinion as to what makes this coin aesthetically desirable, the timeless nature and beauty of Miss Liberty on the obverse and graceful eagle flying before the sunrise on the reverse are widely acclaimed by art connoisseurs throughout the United States and around the world.
Originally, the Saint-Gaudens double eagle was to feature an ultra-high relief design, which early examples of the coin feature. Also, the date on these early pieces was represented using Roman numerals. However, it was soon deemed that the high-relief motif would render mass production of the coin infeasible, and later examples of the 1907 Saint-Gaudens $20 gold coin feature the lower relief that would be used for the balance of the series. In all, there are three varieties of the 1907, including the ultra-high relief pattern pieces, which are extremely rare and have sold for as much as $3 million at auction. Also among the 1907 issues is a high-relief variety that is considered rare and sells for more than $10,000; additionally, there is the more common, low-relief 1907 Saint-Gaudens double eagle with Arabic date.
In 1908, the motto IN GOD WE TRUST was added to the reverse of the coin, just over the sun disc, creating a fourth distinctive variety for this series. The 1908 design was used until 1933. Many coin collectors fantasize about owning a 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle, but for the time there’s some degree of ambivalence regarding the legal status of these those coins. Technically, they’re considered illegal to own, save for one example that was auctioned in 2002 by Sotheby’s for $7.5 million and for a few years held the title of most expensive coin.