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It has been said the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle is the most beautiful design ever minted and truly I agree with that statement. On March 1st 1848 Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907) was born in Dublin, Ireland.
Six months later, the family immigrated to New York City where Augustus grew up. Upon completion of school at age thirteen, he expressed strong interest in art as a career, so his father apprenticed him to a cameo cutter. While working days at his cameo lathe, Augustus also took art classes at the Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design.
When he was 19 years old his apprenticeship ended and he moved to Paris France to study art. In 1870 after completing school at Ecole des Beaux-Arts he traveled to Rome where he would study classical art and architecture and work on his first commissions. It was there he met his future wife, American art student Agusta Homer, whom he married in 1877.
In 1876 he received his first major commission; a monument to Civil War Admiral David Glasgow Farragut. After it was unveiled in in New York's Madison Square in 1881 his fame grew to new heights giving him the credentials and recognition of a modern day superstar. Of course because of this, new commissions at great numbers came to him. Of this great success he was able to do what he truly wanted to do, teach, which he did from 1888-1897.
As the 1900s dawned, Augustus Saint-Gaudens was a towering figure in the sphere of American fine arts. Widely acclaimed as the nation's preeminent sculptor, he was also a man of eloquence and influence who dominated the art world of his day not only by example but also through the exercise of power and persuasion.
One of Saint-Gaudens most famous works is the SHERMAN MONUMENT. This majestic, gilded-bronze equestrian group statue depicts one of the United States’ best-known generals, William Tecumseh Sherman (1820–1891).
Work on the Sherman Monument was begun in Saint-Gaudens’ New York studio, continued in Paris, and was finished in Cornish, NH, in 1901. The bronze was cast by Thiebault Brothers in Paris. The setting and pedestal were designed by architect Charles McKim. The monument was unveiled on May 30, 1903 in Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza, the entrance to New York City's Central Park off of 5th Ave.
As with many of the sculptor’s works, the allegorical figure of peace leading Sherman is modeled after Saint-Gaudens’s mistress, Davida Johnson. The pine branch at the horse’s feet represents Sherman’s march through Georgia. Disliking statues looking like “smoke stacks,” Saint-Gaudens had the piece gilded with two layers of gold leaf.
In 1905, President Roosevelt personally prevailed upon Saint-Gaudens to design his official inaugural medal, which proved to be exceptionally handsome. In a subsequent conversation the president urged the artist to create a series of U.S. coin designs, the double eagle and eagle, and also for a one-cent piece (which never reached production). Saint-Gaudens welcomed the challenge and plunged into the project with all his prodigious energy and skill.
The $20 Double Eagle
Saint-Gaudens moved to Cornish, NH what is known today as the famed Aspet estate that he named after the birthplace of his father in France. It was there, his famous artists' retreat, he molded and brought to life the most famous and beautiful coin design ever minted by the United States: The $20 Double Eagle Saint-Gaudens design. This design was promised to President Roosevelt a promise he said in which the coin would be made a living thing.
For a limited number of coins first struck was the Ultra High Relief, then the High Relief but Mint Engraver Charles E. Barber pushed to use a lower relief because of the difficulties to stack these coins. So the business strike coins were produced in low relief up until 1933.
The Saint has a figure on the obverse of Liberty draped in a gown while holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left had representing peace. The Capital building is in the lower obverse edge around 6:00 o’clock. Augustus Saint Gaudens initials “ASG” is directly beneath the date.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens died at his famous artists' retreat in Cornish, New Hampshire on August 3, 1907.
For those who truly appreciate "Great Works of Art", follow this link to an on-line gallery at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to view the great Augustus Saint-Gaudens' work. Use the "next" button to view all of his work...For more on Augustus Saint-Gaudens follow this link to the Art Cyclopedia.
For the collector of The Saint Gaudens Double Eagle Gold Coin, I've complied the following information to aid in making educated descision when you chose your next piece...
The Saint Gaudens Double Eaglewas minted at the following branches (Philadelphia, Denver, and San-Francisco) next to which I’ll give the quantity minted.
Business Strikes
"No Motto"
1907 372,917 40-50 “common date no motto”
1907 Extremely High Relief 16-22 estimated  
1907 High Relief 11,250 probably 20-25 Proof examples
1908 4,271,551 0 common date
1908-D 663,750 0 common date
1908 156,258 101
1908-D 349,500 0
1908-S 22,000 0 VERY RARE
1909/8 included in 1909 Mintages
2,712 certified between PCGS & NGC
1909 161,215 67
1909-D 52,500 0
1909-S 2,774,925 0
1910 482,000 167
1910-D 429,000 0 common date
1910-S 2,128,250 0 common date
1911 197,250 100
1911-D 846,500 0 common date
1911-S 775,750 0 VERY RARE
1912 149,750 74
1913 168,780 58
1913-D 393,500 0
1913-S 34,000 0
1914 95,250 70
1914-D 453,000 0 common date
1914-S 1,498,000 0 common date
1915 152,000 50
1915-S 567,500 0 common date
1916-S 796,000 0 common date
1920 228,250 0 common date
1920-S 558,000 0 SUPER RARE, MOST MELTED
1921 528,500 0 SUPER RARE, MOST MELTED
1922 1,375,000 0 common date
1922-S 2,658,000 0
1923 566,000 0 common date
1923-D 1,702,250 0 common date
1924 4,323,500 0 common date
1924-D 3,049,500 0
1924-S 2,927,500 0
1925 2,831,750 0 common date
1925-D 2,938,500 0
1925-S 3,776,500 0 VERY RARE
1926 816,750 0 common date
1926-D 481,000 0 VERY RARE
1926-S 2,041,500 0
1927 2,946,750 0 common date
1927-D 180,000 0 SUPER RARITY
1927-S 3,107,000 0 SUPER RARE, MOST MELTED
1928 8,816,000 0 common date
1929 1,779,750 0 SUPER RARE, MOST MELTED
1931 2,938,250 0 SUPER RARE, MOST MELTED
1931-D 106,500 0 SUPER RARE, MOST MELTED
1932 1,101,750 0 SUPER RARE, MOST MELTED
1933 445,500 0 ALMOST ALL WERE MELTED,