Question by Hellion: Value and rarity of 1926 St. Gaudens Double Eagle gold coin?
My wife's grandfather gave us a golden coin as a wedding gift a couple of years back. The wedding was in Poland and the story is that the grandfather bought the coin years ago under communism through the black market as an investment. I know nothing about coins but through a little research on the web, think I may have something of significant value. From what I can tell, it is a 1926 $ 20 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle. Please excuse my ignorance but I will try my best to describe it. It is a very shiney golden and heavy. It has no blemishes or tarnishes that I can see. If you were to look at it with a very scrupulous eye, I guess it has some minor scratches on the flat surfaces but I don't know if they would be considered scratches or not, but its definitely in great to exceptional condition. I'm just wondering the rarity and value of this coin. I wouldn't consider selling it, and would love to have a family heirloom on my hands. Additionally, how should I store it? I just have it wrapped in a paper towel right now, inside a jewellery box. Any information would be appreciated.
As an additional aside, it was very entertaining to bring it back from Poland. I left Poland immediately after the wedding, as my wife stayed an additional 2 weeks. I kept the coin in my wallet, and really set the metal detector off in the Warsaw airport. I took my wallet out, and sent it through the x-ray machine and saw on the screen, it lit up like a giant glowing ball. They let me through security to the gate. Then about 15 mins. later two guards came walking around looking and eventually approached me. They said in broken english, "We need to see your billfold". They pulled coin out and looked at it puzzled. I wasn't sure of the legality or tax consequences of carrying the coin so I said nervously "It's my lucky coin". The guards looked at it, tossed in the air, one made a comment about how heavy it was, literally tossed it about 2 feet to the other guard, who gave it back to me and sent me on my way.
Answer by doctorjetley
The first thing is the condition of the coin. Condition scales go from 1 to 70. Most of the early gold coins are in the 63 range. It depends on how many marks are on the coin. When coins are struck, they are thrown into a bag with others. They come into contact with other coins, and get marks called contact marks. The fewer marks, the better the grade. Also, if there is any rub or wear on the coin, that means it was used or circulated which also effects the grade.
Do not clean or polish the coin. Leave it as is. The way you stored it acceptable, but you may want to look into something more permanent. Value also depends on the mint mark. This tells us where the coin was made. The mint mark is located under the date. If nothing is there, it means the coin was made in Philadelphia. If a "D" is present, it was made in Denver, and if an "s" is present, San Francisco.
The minimum value right now would be approximately $ 1400 based only on the gold value. But based on condition and the mint mark, it could be thousands. If you can, post a picture.
Final thought is, try to get a quick appraisal at a coin show or store. Be clear that it is not for sale. I say this because there are counterfeits around.
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