The Saint Gaudens Gold Double Eagle was commissioned by President Roosevelt and designed by his friend, the famous sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens. Approximately only 20 of these coins were initially minted, much thicker than a normal coin and in Ultra High Relief which makes it appear more like a medal rather than a coin. These were not intended to be circulated but were just experimental coins and only a few survived, making them extremely rare.
The Saint Gaudens Gold Coins are considered to be one of the most beautiful coins ever minted. This $20 Gold Double Eagle has a design of Lady Liberty which is the symbol of democracy. She holds the torch of freedom in one hand and an olive branch in the other symbolizing peace and goodwill.
Additionally, on the obverse the word “Liberty” is inscribed across the top of the coin and around the perimeter there is one star for each of the states. The reverse of the $20 St Gaudens gold coin features the national bird of America, the Bald Eagle flying over the rays from the sun and the words “In God We Trust” encircle the sun. Above the Bald Eagle is inscribed “United States Of America Twenty Dollars”.
The St Gaudens Double Eagle gold coins went into normal production (minted in a flat relief) in 1907 and were made continually until 1933. President Roosevelt ordered that the coins should be minted without the inscription “In God We Trust” even though this motto was on almost every US coin for the previous 100 years. His reason was that he believed that God’s name should not be on coins which could be used in gambling halls, saloons and brothels.
The St Gaudens Gold Double Eagle $20 coin was minted without the inscription for the whole of 1907 and large part of 1908. However, public outcry soon led to Congress ordering the Mint to inscribe the motto “In God We Trust” and it was applied to the coins of every subsequent year until 1933 when the US Government ceased the production of gold coins for general circulation.
500,000 Gold Double Eagles were minted in 1933 but they were not released into circulation. This was due to big changes in the currency laws during “The Great Depression” in an effort to stabilize the US Dollar. On April 5th, 1933 the US Government called a national state of emergency. They made an executive order to confiscate all of the gold bullion in the USA.
It became a federal crime for any US citizen to possess gold bullion and if they were caught they would face a penalty of 10 years in prison and or a fine which could be as high as $10,000. The Most Expensive Coin Ever Sold was a 1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle.
It went for $7,500,000!