The Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle was first minted in 1907. A total of 11,250 pieces were manufactured in High Relief, meaning the coin’s features protrude outward further compared to normal coinage, providing greater depth and beauty than could otherwise be achieved.
Unfortunately, mass production of the high relief style proved to be impractical; up to five strikes were required to flow the metal accordingly, resulting in extended manufacturing cycle time and shortened die life.
A very small wire rim was formed along the obverse and reverse perimeter of many of the 1907 high relief pieces, caused by metal being forced up between the dies and the restraining collar during repeated strikings. Pieces lacking this characteristic are called flat rim examples.
Later in 1907, the relief of the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle was reduced to more ordinary heights, as it remained until production ended in 1933.
The Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle theme was so widely admired that it was resurrected for gold bullion coinage issued by the US Mint starting in 1986.
The double eagle’s obverse features a full-length portrait of Liberty grasping a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left. She is shown in full stride with rays of sunlight behind her, the word LIBERTY above her and the U. S. Capitol Building to the left of her flowing gown. Encircling her are 46 stars—one for each state in the Union at that time.
The designer’s monogram (ASG) appears below the date.
The coin’s reverse depicts a breathtaking eagle in flight—perhaps the most spectacular likeness of the nation’s official emblem ever to grace a U. S. coin or medal. Below this magnificent bird is the sun with its rays extending upward; above it, in two semicircular tiers, are the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and TWENTY DOLLARS.