Augustus St. GaudensBorn in Dublin Ireland, in 1848, Augustus St. Gaudens traveled to Paris and Rome to study art and architecture, before moving to New York. A prolific sculptor, his works include Diana (1894) and Standing Lincoln (1887). When president Theodore Roosevelt wanted to redesign United States to give them more artistic appeal, he called upon St.Gaudens. The insipid liberty head eagles and double eagles were replaced by fresh designs. The coins were introduced in 1907, the same year St. Gaudens died.
The St. Gaudens Double Eagle
The first St. Gaudens double eagles were produced in 1907, struck in high relief, with Roman numeral dates. The high relief pieces, however were impractical and so aesthetics were partially abandoned. Flatter coins with Arabic numerals were struck later that year.
The 1933 Double Eagle
In 1933, 445,500 double eagles were minted. Franklin Roosevelt then issued an order prohibiting banks from paying out gold as well as all private ownership of gold. Virtually all of the 1933 Double Eagles were melted. However a few of them escaped. The United States government has been confiscating virtually all 1933 double eagles saying that they were stolen from the mint. Dr. Planchet, however, notes that the same policy does not seem to apply to coins such as the 1913 Liberty Head nickels that were made illegally and taken from the mint. The government permitted the sale of a single 1933 double eagle that was apparently legally given to King Farouk of Egypt. The coin was auctioned in 2002 for $7,590,020. Other 1933 Saints probably exist, but will never surface for fear the governments will seize them.
The St. Gaudens Eagle
Augustus St. Gaudens also designed the Eagle (ten dollar gold) coin released in 1907. The obverse of the coin shows a personification of the head of Liberty wearing an Indian war bonnet.
The modern St.Gaudens Eagle bullion coins.
The United States mint revived the obverse design of the St. Gaudens double eagle in 1986. For more information about the bullion coins, please go to the page on bullion coins
New Ultra High Relief Saint Gaudens coinsWhat the mint could not successfully produce a century earlier, they perservered. Read about the new result on the ultra high relief Saint Gaudens page.