The 1927-D Double Eagle, Tracking the Iconic Coin

If you were sleeping on the 1927-D Saint Gaudens double eagle date, a Heritage Auctions sale in 2022 made you take notice and recognize.

The sale of the MS-66 coin in August of 2022 brought in $4,440,000, a new record for the series.

And get this – the coin is not even the finest of all 1927-D Saints.

There’s one MS-67 coin and one MS-66+ coin finer than the record $4.4 million dollar sale.

PCGS shows a value estimate of $5 million for the MS-66 coin.

Only 14 coins from the 1927-D series are currently known to exist.

The Massively Coveted 1927-D Saint

So how did the 1927-D double eagle’s become so rare?

There’s a few things that happened. First, the original mintage was fairly low, with only 180,000 coins struck from the Denver mint.

Second, the coins were never shipped overseas for use in foreign trade like other double eagle mintage. The batch of 1927-D coins never even left the Denver Mint.

They were stored in bags, secured in vaults at the Denver Mint until the orders came for them all to be melted down in 1933.

So how did any of the 1927-D coins survive?

As is typical of the U.S. Mint, samples are selected every year of coin production for inspection. For these coins, records indicate 194 were shipped for assay purposes.

Then, after inspection and testing, 31 coins were destroyed. So 163 coins were sent to the Philadelphia Mint Cashier by the Assay Commission in February 1928 for circulation.

Coin expert Roger Burdette estimates 20 coins have survived over the years, but only 14 examples can be traced at this moment.

Of the 14 known coins, all are in Mint State grades, which goes to support the argument against them getting shipped overseas for foreign trade.

Other series coins that were shipped overseas displayed marks on the surface because of rough handling and storage during transport.

14 Incredible Coins, Where Are They?

Out of the 14 known specimens from the 1927-D series, three currently rest at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

One coin is held by the Connecticut State Library Collection.

Seven coins are well-documented by coin experts from auction sales over the years.

  1. MS-63 PCGS – Charles Kramer Collection, Richmond Collection, Bently Collection.
  2. MS-65+ PCGS – James Kelly, Steven Duckor, Dr. Thaine B. Price Collection, Douglas Martin Collection.
  3. MS-66 PCGS – Connecticut State Library, possibly John D. Groendyke Collection.
  4. MS-66 PCGS – Bartle Collection
  5. MS-66 PCGS – Past owners include Mike Brownlee, Jeff Browning, and Bob R. Simpson.
  6. MS-66+ PCGS – Louis E. Eliasberg
  7. MS-67 PCGS – Past owners include Philip H. Morse and the Charlotte Collection.

So, seven plus three equals eleven. That only makes ten known coins. But experts agree there’s 14 known specimens. What’s going on?

There are four mystery coins from the 1927-D series that coin collectors have documented over the years.

It’s not that the coins don’t exist, but they have gone off the radar for decades.

Coin collectors are a very astute bunch. If a coin is a mystery to them, it’s something to take note of.

  1. MS-64 – This coin was last seen in 1973, purchased for $32,000 for the Gilhousen Collection.
  2. MS-64 – This coin was last documented in 1957 as part of the Eastern University-Schmandt Collection, and has not been seen since.
  3. MS-63 – Last seen in 1979 by David Akers and Jim Halperin. At that time, the coin was sold by Mike Brownlee to a private collection.

The Museum Holdings

It’s always helpful to note the coins held by museums, and their condition.

Will these coins ever be offered for sale into private collections? We assume the answer is no, but you can never be sure.

What if the Smithsonian has a budget shortfall someday, and needs to raise some cash to pay the bills? Who is bidding at that auction?

What would the economic climate look like if the Smithsonian is struggling? It sounds like the most unlikely scenario in the world, but a fun exercise to consider.

Currently, the Smithsonian holds two MS-66 coins and one MS-65. Another MS-66 coin sits in the Connecticut State Library collection.

The coin was obtained directly from the Denver Mint in the year it was struck by librarian George S. Godard.

How Do I Buy a 1927-D Double Eagle?

If you want a 1927-D Saint for your collection, you need to be patient. The greatest collectors in the world have tried and been unsuccessful in their attempts to own one.

You can assume the price tag will be several millions, and you might have a bidding war on your hands. But don’t give up just yet. This is where collectors can rise to superstar status.

If you enjoy the thrill of the hunt, stalking a 1927-D double eagle could be one of the most thrilling rides of your life. Let me know if I can help!

1927-D saint gaudens double eagle
1927-D saint

Don’t miss it! My episode about creating the Saint Gaudens double eagle gold coins –