This gold coin takes its name from its designer, the famous American sculptor - Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Its name is often shortened to "$20 Saint" or "$20 St. Gaudens" within the gold coin collecting world. This last circulating $20 gold coin is considered to be one of the most beautiful rare United States gold coins. Whether you are an avid coin collector or an individual looking for long-term diversity for your financial portfolio, the Saint-Gaudens double eagle's unmatched beauty and rich history makes this a coin worthy of consideration. (*Coin collectors refer to $10 gold pieces as "Eagles" and $20 gold coins as "Double Eagles.")
Designing the St. Gaudens Gold Coin - In an effort to to raise the artistry of America's coinage, President Teddy Roosevelt engaged his friend and America's foremost sculptor, Augustus-Saint-Gaudens, to design new $20 and $10 gold coins. You may be familiar with some of Saint-Gaudens' more famous sculptures, which include "Standing Lincoln" in Chicago's Lincoln Park and the General Sherman Civil War monument in New York's Central Park. The obverse (front) depicts Liberty holding a staff and olive branch as she walks from the sun. The date appears to the viewer's right of Liberty (the date appeared in Roman numerals "MCMVII" on a portion of the coins minted in 1907.) The word 'LIBERTY' arcs above her. Stars representing the number of states in the union (46 from 1907-11 and 48 from 1912-33) curve around the rim. This depiction of Liberty was so acclaimed the Mint chose to use this same design when it created the modern American Eagle coins.
The reverse (back) of the $20 St. Gaudens gold coin features a bald eagle gliding across the sun. The words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and "TWENTY DOLLARS" span across the top of the coin. Although it was initially omitted from coins minted in 1907 and the first half of 1908 (see below,) the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" lies underneath the eagle.
$20 Saint-Gaudens Coin Minting Information - The first $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coins ever minted were a "trial" coin never intended for circulation. Only approximately 16-22 of these specimens were minted. Each coin was relatively thick and struck in what is called "Ultra High Relief," giving the appearance of a medal rather than a coin. These experimental pieces had a much higher relief than later issues and connected directly to the edge without a border, resulting in a very sharp appearance. Only a few of these coins are available today. Later in 1907 and continuing through 1933, these gold coins were struck in flat relief.
"In God We Trust" Coin Inscription - The newly minted $20 Saint-Gaudens coin was extremely controversial because of an important omission. In contrast to other gold coins minted during this period, the $20 Saint-Gaudens omitted the inscription "In God We Trust" (hence the name "No Motto".) President Roosevelt felt the motto and reference to God should not appear on coins that could be used in transactions in brothels, saloons and gambling halls, making them "close to sacrilege." Despite his motivations, the public construed the omission of this motto as an attack upon religion. The resulting uproar quickly led to a Congressional Act restoring the inscription which was added in mid-1908.