Roger Burdette's Saint Gaudens Double Eagles Book
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2,042 posts in this topic

On 6/7/2022 at 6:47 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

As trade increased, you were more likely to ship DEs overseas -- which would then avoid melting.  That was my point.

Understood. However, banks/merchants nearly always preferred bars. Less loss to abrasion, easier to dispose of for bank credits, lower insurance rates and faster movement from ship to receiving bank. There were situations where the gold point favored coins for export, but they were not common. Coins also had an affinity for unstable dictatorial governments - they were easy to hide or make "vanish."

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On 6/7/2022 at 6:56 PM, RWB said:

Understood. However, banks/merchants nearly always preferred bars. Less loss to abrasion, easier to dispose of for bank credits, lower insurance rates and faster movement from ship to receiving bank. There were situations where the gold point favored coins for export, but they were not common. Coins also had an affinity for unstable dictatorial governments - they were easy to hide or make "vanish."

True....but Europeans, coming off numerous wars (including WW I)...had a citizenry that much preferred to hold gold coins relative to Americans.  Look at Germany during the Weimar Inflation.

Not sure how you quantify it but the fact that SDBs still showed coins decades later shows that many European citizens wanted to hold American gold coins in the 1920's and 1930's.

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On 6/7/2022 at 6:27 PM, RWB said:

DE had two practical functions....2) required backing for gold certificates.

What was the ratio backing Gold Certificates again.....60% ?

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The gold backing ratio changed -- its in the book - I think from 2/3 down to 1/2, but check.

Europeans were not accustomed to coins the size of DE - they hoarded sovereigns, Louis, and similar 'sovereign size' coins. Nazi confiscation records show very few DE in private hoards stolen from people -- mostly sovereign-size. That also makes sense because in Europe a $10 or $20 size coin was not part of regular coinage.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/8/2022 at 1:13 PM, RWB said:

The gold backing ratio changed -- its in the book - I think from 2/3 down to 1/2, but check.

Will do, thanks.  

On 6/8/2022 at 1:13 PM, RWB said:

Europeans were not accustomed to coins the size of DE - they hoarded sovereigns, Louis, and similar 'sovereign size' coins. Nazi confiscation records show very few DE in private hoards stolen from people -- mostly sovereign-size. That also makes sense because in Europe a $10 or $20 size coin was not part of regular coinage.

Are these coins smaller width-wise than a DE...but thicker ?  If they were $5 coins, then I guess overall they are smaller by 75%.

Since I thought most of these coins were saved/hoarded in Europe and in South/Central America (rather than held in pockets to be spent)....I didn't think the little extra width made a difference.  They're certainly not thick coins, that's for sure.(thumbsu

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 6/8/2022 at 2:18 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Will do, thanks.  

Are these coins smaller width-wise than a DE...but thicker ?  If they were $5 coins, then I guess overall they are smaller by 75%.

Since I thought most of these coins were saved/hoarded in Europe and in South/Central America (rather than held in pockets to be spent)....I didn't think the little extra width made a difference.  They're certainly not thick coins, that's for sure.(thumbsu

The Latin Monetary Union 20’s were about the size of a Stella. Smaller than a $5, but larger than the $3. 

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On 6/8/2022 at 3:18 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Will do, thanks.  

Are these coins smaller width-wise than a DE...but thicker ?  If they were $5 coins, then I guess overall they are smaller by 75%.

Since I thought most of these coins were saved/hoarded in Europe and in South/Central America (rather than held in pockets to be spent)....I didn't think the little extra width made a difference.  They're certainly not thick coins, that's for sure.(thumbsu

...as we have discussed before, re SDB coins, usually u find abundance of very similar gold value coins...france 20F, belg 20F, aus 20C, hung 20K, neth 10G, swis 20F....all similar size weight etc, also seldom circulated more of a gold coin CD.... same is true with the brit sov, swed 20K, russ 10R, nor 20K, ger 20M, den 20K...latter group all more melt value than former, basically, within these groups coins interchangable...as mentioned before that one SDB i purchased contents had 40 fren 20F (1907-1912) n the owner was not a coin collector....the US DE just didnt fall into this group of hoarding coins, most those were held by institutions i.e. banks....

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On 6/8/2022 at 3:37 PM, VKurtB said:

The Latin Monetary Union 20’s were about the size of a Stella. Smaller than a $5, but larger than the $3. 

...the Stella i knew was bout 5'7" n bout 5 1/2 stones...also latin....

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On 6/8/2022 at 3:48 PM, zadok said:

the US DE just didnt fall into this group of hoarding coins, most those were held by institutions i.e. banks....

But the history of the Saints and other gold coins from guys like Paul Wittlin is that they were in SDBs held by individuals not just the bank themselves.

I'm sure the banks had some....but it appears some/most were held by individuals.  I don't think a bank would just hold a few or a few dozen...not worth the time and expense and accounting.

But for a person of modest to upper-income means....a few coins or a few dozen in a SDB were great insurance.  Same here in the U.S.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 6/8/2022 at 3:52 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

But the history of the Saints and other gold coins from guys like Paul Wittlin is that they were in SDBs held by individuals not just the bank themselves.

I'm sure the banks had some....but it appears some/most were held by individuals.  I don't think a bank would just hold a few or a few dozen...not worth the time and expense and accounting.

But for a person of modest to upper-income means....a few coins or a few dozen in a SDB were great insurance.  Same here in the U.S.

...the bank holdings i was referring to were larger quantities not just a few coins, agree if they had just a couple dozen would be more of a head ache accounting wise....main point was the average person in europe didnt save or hoard DEs mostly the smaller interchangable denominations from european countries...SDB contents would indicate to support this, at least my experience on purchasing SDB contents, except that one box i discussed with u several months ago, all 1907 saints, that was the exception....

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If you have Dave Bowers book on hoards from about 20 years ago, read my contribution about the "Chicago Hoard" of $20s I did an appraisal on back in 1986. A lady called and asked if we bought gold coins. I said sure, bring them in. Se asked if I could come to the bank because they were too heavy to carry. I said yes. I met her at a bank and sat in a private room while she went off to get a vault attendant to help her with the box. When they came back the attendant was straining to push the cart. He just left the box on it and closed the door behind him. 

Just before the U.S. went off the gold standard, her grandmother, who was from "the old country" that was never specified, had decided to hoard some gold. She went to a variety of banks with cash and got $500 face in Double Eagles from each and went home and sewed the 25 coins into purple felt pads about 10 inches square, 5 x 5 with stitching between each coin. There were 43 such pads, or 1,075 coins. She handed me a pair of scissors and I got to take the first look at them by anybody in over 50 years.

One might happen to have 25 common circ. Libs or 25 common date circ. Saints. The next might have 25 Gem BU 1904's, or 1907-Ds, or 1911-Ds, or 1923-Ds or 1927s, or whatever the bank she went to happened to have an open bag of the day she went there. I am assuming that the circs came from solid bags of mixed circs sorted at the Fed by type, but I do not know this, and the BUs from original bags.

One pad was mixed BU Saints. I suspect that at the very end she could not get all that she wanted from the banks anymore, so she went to a coin dealer and bought some. As I was opening one pad, very carefully of course, I found, in random order with the other coins, a 1929, a 1930-S, a 1931, a 1931-D, and a 1932. With several squares to go I kept thinking "Holy (bleep)! Is this going to have a 1933 in it?" It did not.

We did buy the deal. We were never able to buy her two brothers' equal shares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TD

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Gold hoarded by Europeans included very few US coins and of these, DE and gold dollars, were the least saved. British sovereigns and coins of similar sizes were the normal output of European mints, thus they were the most readily available to citizens. Holders of DE and E were commercial banks and central banks, but much of that was temporary. Before 1934 imported gold coins usually were melted into bars. The quantities of central bank and commercial bank gold thereafter was a combination of $25,000 consolidated bags shipped around to avoid the cost of melting and leftovers from pre-1934.

The proportion of US gold in the bank holdings stolen by the Nazis was small. Most was in sovereigns and other "half eagle-size" pieces.

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On 6/8/2022 at 5:29 PM, RWB said:

Gold hoarded by Europeans included very few US coins and of these, DE and gold dollars, were the least saved. British sovereigns and coins of similar sizes were the normal output of European mints, thus they were the most readily available to citizens. Holders of DE and E were commercial banks and central banks, but much of that was temporary. Before 1934 imported gold coins usually were melted into bars. The quantities of central bank and commercial bank gold thereafter was a combination of $25,000 consolidated bags shipped around to avoid the cost of melting and leftovers from pre-1934.The proportion of US gold in the bank holdings stolen by the Nazis was small. Most was in sovereigns and other "half eagle-size" pieces.

(1)  Then why were so many American gold coins (including DEs) found in those mines ?

(2)  How were Paul Wittlin etc. al all finding those stray coins in all those SDBs with their "contacts ?"

Doesn't make sense.

 

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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The number of DE was not large when compared to non-US gold.

Swiss banks were not affected by the the Nazis. I bought DE from some of them well into the 1970s. As for details, you'll have to ask Wittlin and the others.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/8/2022 at 5:01 PM, RWB said:

The number of DE was not large when compared to non-US gold.

Swiss banks were not affected by the the Nazis. I bought DE from some of them well into the 1970s. As for details, you'll have to ask Wittlin and the others.

I can confirm this. In the LATER 1970’s, major Swiss banks were offering Double Eagles retail. Gold was $160ish an ounce at the time, and there was a premium on them. Their own bars carried less premium. I spent considerable time in and around Zürich in autumn of 1978. 

Edited by VKurtB
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Posted (edited)
On 6/8/2022 at 3:59 PM, zadok said:

...the bank holdings i was referring to were larger quantities not just a few coins, agree if they had just a couple dozen would be more of a head ache accounting wise....main point was the average person in europe didnt save or hoard DEs mostly the smaller interchangable denominations from european countries...SDB contents would indicate to support this, at least my experience on purchasing SDB contents, except that one box i discussed with u several months ago, all 1907 saints, that was the exception....

Understood.....let's assume that the population of Europe/EU in the 1940's and 1950's was about 150 million.  So the Top 1% is 1.5 million.....and even the Top 1% of 1% (which is a pretty high income/net worth today and probably was back then) is 15,000 people. 

So you EASILY could have 15,000 - 1,500,000 people/families (maybe more, poor and middle-class people held gold, too :)) who wanted to hold gold.  Some of them held U.S. coins....some of those were Double Eagles.....some/most of those were Saints and maybe Liberty's.

Voila....your European hoards brought back by Wittlin and others !! (thumbsu  

David Akers said that Wittlin and others were STILL sending back coins regularly that they were uncovering as late as the early-1970's.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 6/8/2022 at 4:41 PM, CaptHenway said:

If you have Dave Bowers book on hoards from about 20 years ago, read my contribution about the "Chicago Hoard" of $20s I did an appraisal on back in 1986. A lady called and asked if we bought gold coins. I said sure, bring them in. Se asked if I could come to the bank because they were too heavy to carry. I said yes. I met her at a bank and sat in a private room while she went off to get a vault attendant to help her with the box. When they came back the attendant was straining to push the cart. He just left the box on it and closed the door behind him. 

Just before the U.S. went off the gold standard, her grandmother, who was from "the old country" that was never specified, had decided to hoard some gold. She went to a variety of banks with cash and got $500 face in Double Eagles from each and went home and sewed the 25 coins into purple felt pads about 10 inches square, 5 x 5 with stitching between each coin. There were 43 such pads, or 1,075 coins. She handed me a pair of scissors and I got to take the first look at them by anybody in over 50 years.

One might happen to have 25 common circ. Libs or 25 common date circ. Saints. The next might have 25 Gem BU 1904's, or 1907-Ds, or 1911-Ds, or 1923-Ds or 1927s, or whatever the bank she went to happened to have an open bag of the day she went there. I am assuming that the circs came from solid bags of mixed circs sorted at the Fed by type, but I do not know this, and the BUs from original bags.

One pad was mixed BU Saints. I suspect that at the very end she could not get all that she wanted from the banks anymore, so she went to a coin dealer and bought some. As I was opening one pad, very carefully of course, I found, in random order with the other coins, a 1929, a 1930-S, a 1931, a 1931-D, and a 1932. With several squares to go I kept thinking "Holy (bleep)! Is this going to have a 1933 in it?" It did not.  We did buy the deal. We were never able to buy her two brothers' equal shares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  TD

Wow, what a story, CH. (thumbsu  I haven't yet gotten that hoard book but intend to.

Enjoy having read a bunch of your posts over ATS on Saints and other stuff.  Keep posting here ! xD

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On 6/8/2022 at 6:01 PM, RWB said:

As for details, you'll have to ask Wittlin and the others.

Unfortunately, he and most of those other dealers and their overseas contacts appear to have died out.  I believe Akers is one of the last with ties to them (he joined Paramount when Wittlin was still sending back the coins in the 1970's) and even he died about 10 years ago. :(

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While I can appreciate @DWLange's concern regarding tangential trajectories and the like, I am pleased to know if I remember something particularly memorable, I can do all my one-stop shopping right here. You never know who's going to drop in, or pop up on the "Saint's" thread, a succession of historic ongoing posts, without equal.  Kudos to both the contenders and contributors!   (thumbsu

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On 6/8/2022 at 10:37 PM, Quintus Arrius said:

While I can appreciate @DWLange's concern regarding tangential trajectories and the like, I am pleased to know if I remember something particularly memorable, I can do all my one-stop shopping right here. You never know who's going to drop in, or pop up on the "Saint's" thread, a succession of historic ongoing posts, without equal.  Kudos to both the contenders and contributors!   (thumbsu

I think even the non-Saint posts in this thread have valuable information.  That was my point to Dave.

Sure, you don't want it to go on for pages-and-pages....but that shipwreck thing WAS interesting.  As I said, I never heard of it.

Captain's hoard story above is unreal.  Someone came in with the Fab Five !!! (thumbsu

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Posted (edited)
On 6/9/2022 at 9:24 AM, CaptHenway said:

Fred Weinberg used to go to European banks to buy U.S. gold in the 1970's. Perhaps you could interview him.

Never met him, he's the guy who specializes in Error Coins, right ?

Might look him up and pick his brain if I can see him next year at FUN.  I believe he just retired (?) so who knows if he'll be at shows.  Figure he still might attend the big ones.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 6/8/2022 at 8:38 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

maybe more, poor and middle-class people held gold, too

If you examine gold hoarding in India, you will likely better understand how Europeans approached the topic. (There was a post a couple of months ago about a jeweler in India selling imitation sovereigns for gold hoarding purposes.) Those with a lot of available funds bought/buy larger quantities, not larger sizes.

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On 6/9/2022 at 11:09 AM, RWB said:

 Those with a lot of available funds bought/buy larger quantities, not larger sizes.

So you're saying they buy the equivalant of small denomination coins, but lots of them ?  As opposed to larger coins and/or bars ?

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On 6/9/2022 at 11:36 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

So you're saying they buy the equivalant of small denomination coins, but lots of them ?  As opposed to larger coins and/or bars ?

In Europe they bought the normally available sovereign-size gold coins. Larger gold coins were not as readily available (nor as easily used). US Eagles and DE were exceptions. In South America US $10 and $20 were preferred, along with sovereigns, because they were easily transportable and readily available due to extensive trade with the USA.

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On 6/9/2022 at 11:36 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

So you're saying they buy the equivalant of small denomination coins, but lots of them ?  As opposed to larger coins and/or bars ?

...in many countries, particularly south eastern asia, many individuals wore their gold usually 22kt...they didnt have to look for it they always knew where it was n as for being transportable, it came with them if/when they had to run...which happened frequently due to the volitivity of the region....banks for the most part were not trusted as long term depositories....

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On 6/8/2022 at 2:50 PM, zadok said:

...the Stella i knew was bout 5'7" n bout 5 1/2 stones...also latin....

“Streetcar Named Desire”?

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On 6/10/2022 at 10:03 AM, CaptHenway said:

I have seen people from southeast Asia come into the coin shop with heavy necklaces that tested out as 24kt. 

Not too long ago, electronic money transfers on a smartphone.....PayPal....checking your bank balances.....even having a bank nearby....was rare for some countries and select geographic areas (i.e, rural areas).

So many of the Older Generation of these countries would have large amounts of gold or jewelry.

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On 6/10/2022 at 10:03 AM, CaptHenway said:

I have seen people from southeast Asia come into the coin shop with heavy necklaces that tested out as 24kt. 

Do you still work at or own a coin shop ?

I'm wondering if you can briefly elaborate on the changes you have seen vis a vis that 1986 Saint-Gaudens find.....did you find people like that (in smaller quantities, of course) coming in daily or weekly 36 years ago....and then maybe 20 years later only monthly....and today maybe only 1-2 times a year ?  The frequency and probably quantity has to be on the downside, no ?

Older people in the 1980's would have been in their 30's or 40's when Saints stopped production.....dead today....but their kids today might be in their 70's and 80's and even later.

I always imagined that the people walking into coin shops with gold coins (including Double Eagles) must have been NUTS in the 1970's when gold first went up 5-fold and then eventually 20-fold.  The volume of people walking in with gold coins and/or DEs, even if small in quantities brought in, must have been very large in terms of walk-in volumes.

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