Roger Burdette's Saint Gaudens Double Eagles Book
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2,276 posts in this topic

On 11/7/2022 at 12:12 PM, RWB said:

Gold and silver evaporated during melting and were annually recovered from flues and chimneys -- even from the roof of an adjacent building.

You're telling us that gold went up in smoke.....vaporized....then re-constituted itself as gold flakes on houses across the street ?   And they tracked down that minute amount ?

Wow...unreal. (thumbsu

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Yes. Annually, it amounted to several thousand dollars, which was credited back to the M&R Dept. Here's the first page of 9 relating to this in 1879. There are others on the subject from earlier and later dates.

332527770_PagesfromRG104E-1Box115Jan-Mar-4.thumb.jpg.5b0500ff8ad2e2b33fe78eb6ff9e050f.jpg

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I'm surprised they could track it down back then....and surprised they retrieved it.  Even with the lower prices then prevailing in the economy, a few thousand dollars in gold given the volume of gold coins minted (from $20 down to $2.50 or whatever) would seem a rounding error.

Interesting, Roger...thanks ! (thumbsu

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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Note that this was after the normal clean-out done every year at Annual Settlement June 30. ($3,000 paid the annual wages of 3 workmen or 4 adjusters.)

Edited by RWB
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From CoinWeek:  "...Specifically, the coins’ role of backing gold certificates was of high importance because by law the certificates were redeemable in gold coinage at two-thirds of their face value."

Is this correct regarding Double Eagles ?  What about the other one-third ?  And I believe the book mentioned somewhere the percentage of gold certificates outstanding that had to be "backed" by Double Eagles (I don't believe other gold coins counted) which is different than the percentage redeemed above (I think).

I'm not sure RWB had a section solely on Gold Certificates, I'll look for it or the key sections if he or nobody else doesn't chime in.

Gold and Silver Certificates are a fascinating niche with how they interacted with the underlying metals and coins.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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It's amazing how often Argentina is mentioned in RWB's Saint DE book compared to other South and Central American countries.

Back in the early-1900's, the U.S. and Argentina each had about the same per-capita GDP.   Today, the U.S. has about 7x the GDP per-capita. :o  Somehow, Argentina after 1900 was an economic stronghold.  But decades later Peronist and Socialist policies retarded their growth and prosperity.

110 years ago, however, Argentina was a frequent destination for U.S. exports and imports and thus gold.  Roger includes a quote from an Argentinian official who claims at one point they had tens of millions of U.S. Double Eagles in their vaults.

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US Mints and assay offices scrupulously tracked gold and silver. They went to considerably lengths to recover as much as possible. The P and SF Mints had retaining sand wells where waste water from operations was channeled. This was cleaned out annually to recover silver and gold. (No water went directly into city sewers. I don't know if the Carson Mint sewage pit was ever cleaned out - but it might have contained enough gold/silver to make it worth doing.)

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MCMVII UHR:  The PR58 Sans Serif pattern that was struck during the 1st batch of UHR's back in February 1907....was "found" in 1992 by the current coin head at Bonham's auction house.  It was found at an estate sale and the subsequent sale was the first one recorded in the lineage of this coin.   Apparently, he found another UHR in 1995, too.

Hard to believe that a coin like this could be "missing" for over 80 years and wind up in something like an estate sale with no notice or publicity whatsoever.

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I have no basis with which to proceed with this assumption, but isn't it¬†possible¬†there were a number of people living on the United States who simply refused to relinquish their gold holdings when FDR issued his edict?¬† As long as a sizeable amount of Saints are missing, there is always the chance some may surface, and with them, anomalies both known and unknown.¬† ūü§Ē¬†

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On 11/15/2022 at 10:06 AM, Quintus Arrius said:

I have no basis with which to proceed with this assumption, but isn't it¬†possible¬†there were a number of people living on the United States who simply refused to relinquish their gold holdings when FDR issued his edict?¬† As long as a sizeable amount of Saints are missing, there is always the chance some may surface, and with them, anomalies both known and unknown.¬† ūü§Ē¬†

The MCMVII UHRs were called patterns -- not coins -- so in theory they would have been exempt from the EO.  Charles Barber and his estate at one time had 8 of the patterns/coins; if still in one place in 1933, you could make a case they were exempt like gold pottery or other gold artifacts.

This pattern/coin clearly would have been deemed "unique" and qualified as exempt under the EO's coin exemption, I would think.

I think there are still lots of Saints in SDBs and probably even a few MCMVII HR's.  But even in 1992 I was surprised to learn that 1 (maybe 2) of the UHRs had been "lost" for decades, since gold had risen hugely in price and the MCMVII UHR had sold for $200,000 in the mid-1970's.

All of the MCMVII UHRs originally went to VIPs or Mint personnel....you would think their heirs or estates all knew about the original provenance of the coin/patterns....but I guess somewhere along the line a few were given to or inherited by folks who had no idea what they had.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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Anybody familiar with a "Triple Die Obverse" TDO FS-101 ?  It's mentioned in the book, and one is up for sale, but I'm not sure what exactly it is.  Roger has pictures and descriptions, but I'm not seeing it. :|

https://www.greatcollections.com/Coin/1255122/1926-Saint-Gaudens-Gold-Double-Eagle-Tripled-Die-Obverse-FS-101-PCGS-MS-66

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I am not seeing it either, but I am on a cellphone. (Any idea why buyers must pay sales tax on eBay, but save for CA. residents, everyone else is given a pass? Anyone?)

Edited by Quintus Arrius
Missing word
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@GoldFinger1969--This "Cherrypickers' Guide" variety is also listed with photos on NGC Variety Plus, with the comment, "Though not rare, this is a spectacular variety." There isn't much demand for most varieties of larger denomination gold coins, as their gold value is so high to begin with.  

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On 11/20/2022 at 8:08 PM, Sandon said:

@GoldFinger1969--This "Cherrypickers' Guide" variety is also listed with photos on NGC Variety Plus, with the comment, "Though not rare, this is a spectacular variety." There isn't much demand for most varieties of larger denomination gold coins, as their gold value is so high to begin with.  

But what is a TDO ?  Is it a strike-through ?  A doubleing ?  What ?

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  @GoldFinger1969--Just as a coin exhibiting a "doubled die" is a coin exhibiting a double image of some or all of the letters, numbers, and/or devices on one side of the coin due to doubling in the die for that side from which the coin was struck, a "tripled die" coin exhibits a triple image of some or all of its letters, numbers and/or devices.  Just as a die that produces doubled die coins is created when the "hub" used to make the die is shifted once between blows during the die making process, which formerly required multiple blows, a die that produces tripled die coins results from the hub having been shifted twice during that process.  An 1892 Barber half dollar with a tripled die reverse is probably the best-known tripled die, though I've seen the 1926 St. Gaudens $20 tripled die obverse offered before as well.

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On 11/20/2022 at 10:55 PM, Sandon said:

  @GoldFinger1969--Just as a coin exhibiting a "doubled die" is a coin exhibiting a double image of some or all of the letters, numbers, and/or devices on one side of the coin due to doubling in the die for that side from which the coin was struck, a "tripled die" coin exhibits a triple image of some or all of its letters, numbers and/or devices.  Just as a die that produces doubled die coins is created when the "hub" used to make the die is shifted once between blows during the die making process, which formerly required multiple blows, a die that produces tripled die coins results from the hub having been shifted twice during that process.  An 1892 Barber half dollar with a tripled die reverse is probably the best-known tripled die, though I've seen the 1926 St. Gaudens $20 tripled die obverse offered before as well.

Thanks....I'll look at the auction pics closer as well as the pics in Roger's book.  I didn't know what to look for.

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Discussing survivors and hoards towards the back of the book, Roger states:  "After the Gillio/Wells Fargo hoard reached market there was a pause in the growth of authentication for this date coin, then, quantities began to increase. The present (early 2015) quantities, in excess of 260,000 authentication events, are more than seven times the Gil-lio/Wells Fargo hoard quantities. Although some rise due to resubmissions is expected, an in-crease of this magnitude, among only one date/mint, suggests thousands of new coins coming on the market from the same source. With this in mind, it is posited that the total quantity of double eagles in the original group was at approximately 150,000 pieces, possibly more."

I'm now seeing in excess of 364,000 grading events combined PCGS+NGC (193K + 170K) for the 1908 No-Motto Saint.  Since this is a coin that except in Superb Gem or higher it is NOT worth it to crack-out and re-submit, I wonder if this is additional proof that the original hoard may have been much larger and/or if other 1908 NM's have just come out even after 2015 when Roger first wrote that section above.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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Roger, a recurring theme in your book is that it was a "waste" to keep striking Double Eagles and then have them sit in vaults....letters from Mint officials admitting this....etc.

Question....do you recall any figures for how much it cost monetarily to run all 3 mints per year ?  Or maybe what percentage of that figure could be apportioned to the striking of double eagles (obviuosly, the mints struck other coins for which personnel were paid) ?

I don't recall seeing any figures in your book, but I'm re-reading all the non-Saint chapters focused on coinage and gold so if you did mention it I guess I will eventually come across it.

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I'm not sure I asked this before so apologies to Roger or anybody who answers this....why did Gold Certificates have to be backed by 2/3rds gold coin ?  Why did it make a difference if the certificates were backed by gold coin or gold bars ?

Unless it was simply to try and justify the "wasteful" expense of striking all the coins in the first place since use in commerce was so low.  :)

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@GoldFinger1969:

You may recall the story about the Ecuadorian guy who walked off with a bucket of gold taken from the tailgate of an armored car which (contrary to initial news reports) contained two bricks of gold (not a bucket full of gold flakes) weighing about 85 lbs. and worth 1.6M (2006) in New York's Diamond District.

Now that he had the gold, exactly what did he have? 

I believe the USG required that gold certificates be represented by a corresponding standard measurement or weight of gold of a certain purity. The currency to my recollection said "upon demand."  That's my wee hours of the morning guess.

[Edit:  A silver or gold coin would fit the bill nicely.]

Edited by Quintus Arrius
Addition of edit.
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On 12/3/2022 at 1:13 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

I'm not sure I asked this before so apologies to Roger or anybody who answers this....why did Gold Certificates have to be backed by 2/3rds gold coin ?  Why did it make a difference if the certificates were backed by gold coin or gold bars ?

Unless it was simply to try and justify the "wasteful" expense of striking all the coins in the first place since use in commerce was so low. 

That was the law. The purpose was to maintain public confidence in the gold certificates and other gold-backed securities. The coin vs bullion proportion was intended to meet any public demand for legal tender coin while avoiding the cost of coinage for at least part of the backing.

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On 12/3/2022 at 11:23 AM, RWB said:

That was the law. The purpose was to maintain public confidence in the gold certificates and other gold-backed securities. The coin vs bullion proportion was intended to meet any public demand for legal tender coin while avoiding the cost of coinage for at least part of the backing.

Got it...didn't think and realize you can't cut a gold bar to give someone their gold if they want to redeem the gold certificate.  You need the coins depending on how big the Gold Certificate denomination was.

Thanks ! (thumbsu

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Interesting that $20 Saint-Gaudens DEs sold for $75 and up in France in 1946 after the war ended.  :o

The French Franc was losing ground terribly after WW I and obviously after WW II (Vichy France).  I don't know if those premium prices for DEs persisted and how they were impacted by Roosters or the rebuilding of the country and passage of time. 

A 100% premium to the value of the gold content seems high -- I'll do some more research and report back.  

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Somebody mention Roosters? :whatthe:

FWIW:  The 20-franc gold roosters from 1907 to 1914, according to Numista, were re-minted between 1951 to 1960 at 37,483,500 copies----nearly 1/3 of the entire Rooster series run.

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On 12/3/2022 at 12:35 PM, Quintus Arrius said:

Somebody mention Roosters? FWIW:  The 20-franc gold roosters from 1907 to 1914, according to Numista, were re-minted between 1951 to 1960 at 37,483,500 copies----nearly 1/3 of the entire Rooster series run.

I'm surprised there weren't more Roosters struck as the U.S. coins (including DEs) were very popular with the French.  This would include striking 100 Franc coins, closer to 1 ounce.  But anything, really.

Huge incentive to strike their own coins with U.S. coins going for double the spot price of gold.

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On 12/4/2022 at 8:57 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

I'm surprised there weren't more Roosters struck as the U.S. coins (including DEs) were very popular with the French.  This would include striking 100 Franc coins, closer to 1 ounce.  But anything, really.

Huge incentive to strike their own coins with U.S. coins going for double the spot price of gold.

[If knowledge were gaughed at having a good idea of exactly what it is a man does not know, I would be qualified as brilliant. Sorry if that sounded a bit Donald Rumsfeld-ish, but the entire Rooster run is shrouded in impenetrable secrecy.  I suspect I'd have to put my nose to the grindstone to get at the answers but with my luck they'd all be recorded in moldering logbooks quietly disintegrating in a vast non-climate-controlled repository---- written in French!]  :makepoint:  :roflmao: 

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