The 1920-S Saint-Gaudens double eagle is among the most challenging pre-1929 issues in the series. The limited mintage of 558,000 pieces was produced from January through June 1920, and then largely placed into storage. Recent research by Roger Burdette laid out in Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles suggests that coins stored in vaults after minting likely remained there until the 1930s, when they were destroyed. Examples known today are believed to have exclusively come from the Mint Cashier or residuals of the 543 coins set aside for the Annual Assay Commission. Burdette adds, "Present coin distribution also argues against any small hoards or repatriated coins entering the United States over the past 50 years."
Estimates of the 1920-S double eagle's rarity have ranged widely over the years, heavily dependent on the auction appearance rate in any given era, which decades ago was not consistent or particularly telling. Third party grading has helped to flush out a greater percentage of the total survivorship, and the most recent data suggest that about 200 examples of this date survive in all grades. Many of these pieces are circulated.
The current MS62 coin displays softly frosted pumpkin-orange and peach-gold luster, with scattered small abrasions that determine the grade. The coin is slightly soft on the capitol building and the top of the torch but is otherwise well struck. Eye appeal is excellent for the grade. Finer 1920-S double eagles are well out of reach for most collectors. In many respects, this piece can be considered upper-end for the issue. Population: 20 in 62 (1 in 62+), 29 finer