23 August 2022
The extremely rare coin, from the Bob R. Simpson Collection, smashed the previous record of $2.2 million at Heritage Coins’ US Coins Signature Auction in Dallas, Texas, on 23 August.
The 27-D St Gaudens Double Eagle has been described as a ‘legendary rarity – the rarest regular issue gold coin of any denomination of the 20th century’.
The coin was part of a smallish mint of 180,000 pieces, delivered in seven batches between 12 and 25 August 1927, suggesting that they were intended for a specific purpose, although no documentation has come to light on this subject.
As none of the coins were ever shipped to federal Reserve Banks, it has been suggested that they were intended strictly as currency reserves.
Of the 180,000 double eagles struck at the Denver Mint in 1927, only seven coins are commercially available today. The coin sold at auction on 23 August was first owned by New York coin dealer Lester Merkin.
It then changed hands into various private collections before finding a long-tern home in H. Jeff Browning’s collection in 1974. Following his death it was sold at Sotheby’s and Stacks’s in 2001 for $402,500. Bob Simpson acquired the coin privately around 2005 – it has not been offered at auction for 19 years.
‘We expected the strength of the $20 Saint market to continue into the sale of Mr. Simpson’s collection, but certain results still far exceeded our estimates,’ Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President Todd Imhof said.
‘What was most remarkable to me about the $4.44 million sale was the fact Heritage delivered at least five bidders on the 1927-D $20 who remained engaged on the coin even as it surpassed $3 million.’