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Rare $20 American Eagle Gold Coin Sells for $2.7 Million at Auction

July 03, 2012396 view(s)

Fans of coin collecting are always looking to discover that rare find that leads to considerable wealth. A sale like the 1907 American Eagle Gold coin that went to auction in Baltimore at the end of June, is only fuel for this dream.

Discovering rare coins in lots or roll hunting is a grand tradition, but to locate something like the 1907 Proof Ultra High Relief double eagle coin that has a minted value for $20, would send nearly any collector over the moon.

While a rare coin like this is expected to increase in value over the course of more than a century, not many would have guessed that its value would increase by more than $2.7 million - a rise of more than 135,000% since it was first created.

Among gold coins, double eagles might not be especially rare, but one in this pristine of condition definitely garners not just attention, but real value among collectors.

Rare coins with PCGS grades Proof-69 like this one are incredible because they can show the viewer precisely how beautiful the original design was. The auction by Stack's Bowers Galleries took place at the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo in Baltimore, Maryland.

Rare coin fans gather to celebrate their hobby, make additions to their collections, make trades and even sell off coins they no longer want to hold. American Gold Eagle coins are a popular choice for many today not only because of their visual and collecting appeal, but also because holding gold is a great way to diversify one's portfolio of liquid assets.

This particular coin features a design by noted sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens who is considered to have created some of the most impressive designs for gold coins minted in the United States. The design is actually a reworking of the original design, this time ordered by President Theodore Roosevelt, to make the nation's largest denomination coin into a genuine work of art.

The sculptor is noted to have done most of his work in a studio that is now a National Historic site located in present day Cornish, New Hampshire.

The Design of the Coin

On its face, the 1907 double eagle features Lady Liberty, striding forward with confidence and holding a torch in her right hand with a palm branch in her left.

Far behind her, one can make out the US Capitol building, while across the top is the word Liberty. Below this, the letters MCMVII are displayed, which are the Roman numerals for the year 1907. On the back, the side profile of a flying eagle is shown over a rising sun, while at the top the words United States of America and Twenty Dollars are included.

There remain several other 1907 Ultra High Relief double eagle coins in museums such as The Smithsonian. However, finding one offered in an auction setting is practically unheard of, especially one in this pristine condition.

Of the high relief types, 20 coins were struck total and primarily for VIP's of the time, given as gifts. Later, low relief versions were struck, but only a little over 12,000 were minted in Philadelphia.

The winner of the auction was not present in Baltimore on the day of the event, but placed his bid from California over the phone. It took two men to purchase the coin, splitting its ownership between each other.

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