Value and rarity of 1926 $20 St. Gaudens Double Eagle gold coin?

by on 2015/06/30

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.

Best answer:

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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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Foxes May 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM

MOST Gaudens are bought these days for their GOLD value not their numismatic value.

Most likely current value $ 1,500 or less*.

*It is AT LEAST the value of the gold (melting value) …so that value is depending on the ounce content.

If the coin is one ounce and gold is $ 1,100 an ounce then THAT is the value. Gold prices fluctuate.

This site shows 1926 Gauldens from $ 1,356 (to $ 18,000)…depending on where it was minted, condition, etc.

If you cannot find the mint mark, remember that the coin may have been minted at Philadelphia and there will not be any.
Otherwise d for Denver mint or s for San Francisco mint.

According to this link…only those after 1926 are usually rare…some more so than others.

I would advise you hold onto is a great value in a tiny package..and as you noted easily carried about.

Gold coins are usually store in a plastic container. but any container will do. It is not a big deal.
protecting it from scratches and handling on edge only is smart.

Taiping May 3, 2012 at 9:06 PM

There are 3 1926 $ 20 Saint Gaudins double eagles One has no mint mark (Philadelphia mint) and the others have a D (Denver mint) or S ( San Francisco mint). the min mark if any is on the obverse above the date. None of the 1926′s are actually that common due to them being melted in 1933. The ones in Europe were safe. It is not easy to give values any longer on gold coins due to the up and down gold market. I would say the 1926 would be worth a little more than spot prices of gold if the coin has no wear but a few small marks are okay, today that is $ 1,136.20. The $ 20 gold piece has almost an ounce of pure gold .96750 oz. The 1926-D has more collector value and is worth $ 14,000 and up, yes $ 14,000. The 1926-S also has a collector value of $ 1,500 to $ 2,500 depending on grade. The coin should be put into a coin holder for protection. Since I can not see the coin it does need to be graded and not handled. The higher the grade the more value. if you go to a coin dealer for a grade and value make sure you go to more than one.

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