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$20 Liberty versus St. Gaudens


Doogy
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Personally, I can certainly see the beauty of the St. Gaudens, but actually prefer the less decorative and more straightforward design of the Liberty head $20. I know the Saints have their rabid fans (for good reason), so i'm wondering if i'm alone in my respect and preference for the Liberty? Looking forward to your comments!

 

 

Regards,

 

Doug

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I like both coins for different reasons...the Saint is a classic design from a time gone by...the last of the gold coins made by our mint. They just don't make them like that anymore...well I guess they do....that design still influences the bullion coins of today

 

 

the libs I like because they are the workhorse of the $20 design's they were around for the taming of the wild west and the design is basic and simple like the people that lived back then.

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$20 Liberty. Saints are nice but the design looks too much like a medal kinda thing and less like a coin, plus i don't really rate the reverse that much. I'm not a fan of coins as sculptured artwork, i'd rather have coins as coins with heraldry and shields and a total lack of imagination. So $20 Lib all the way!

 

I have owned one of each and i've sold them both now, the only one i remotely miss is the $20 Lib, the Saint i forget i had it.

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Well, clearly this is all a matter of subjective opinion, and I thing by my signature line you'll know where my loyalties lie! :lol: When I set about on my current double eagle obsession, I chose Saints mainly because it had been a dream of mine to own just one ever since I was a kid just starting to collect. That evolved into pursuing a set, and as that process has unfolded, it has become clear that the Saint-Gaudens eagles and double eagles represent what many would describe as the absolute pinnacle of United States coin design. When Teddy Roosevelt looked at his change he saw Longacre's designs that were more than a half century old compared with the more beautiful designs of ancient coins and those of contemporary Europe (I shudder to think what Roosevelt would have thought of today's monstrocities!). So in 1907 with the introduction of the two new Saint-Gaudens designs, TR ushered in a new era in coinage which eventually brought us the winged liberty head dime, the standing liberty quarter, the walking liberty half, the peace dollar, the buffalo nickel, the incuse indian half and quarter eagles, and a hairs breadth from having a Saint-Gaudens cent (unfortunately we ended up with a century of Lincoln). Everything since this golden age has been one step after another toward bland lifeless basemetal tokens for our coinage. So this is a major factor in my preference for Saints.

 

Despite my obvious preference, there is one area where Saints fall far short of Longacre's Liberty, and that is history. Unlike the Liberty design (particularly the early coins), Saints seldom circulated, as most sat in bank vaults as backing for various currency notes. Some dates did circulate, such as the early dates from 1907-1916, and some random dates like the 25-S, but by and large the coins were not used in commerce but as a reserve asset. Liberty double eagles, particularly Type 1 and 2, circulated heavily and were a major part of commerce in the 19th century. From the initial coins of the gold rush era, through the Civil War, all the way through W.J. Bryant's cross of gold speech, these coins served as currency. Granted, they began to decline in use once a stable system of currency notes was established after the Civil War, so many later Type 3s circulated about as much as Saints, but the history in commerce is impressive. And of course I own a number of Liberty double eagles, and the design is pleasing. I prefer the original Type 1 to the subsequent modified versions for its simplicity and clean lines on the reverse. And certainly when I hit the wall on Saints (in about 3 or 4 more coins!) I will likely start a set of Type 2 Libs, as they are almost perennially ignored in the market, so lots of bargains to be found, particularly in AU-55 through MS-62.

 

Those are my rambling thoughts, great topic for discussion! :ninja:

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I have neither, only the modern pseudo-Gaudens bullion. Regardless, I do have to say that I prefer the Saint merely for aesthetic reasons. I find the design to be more dynamic. I am not familiar with the designer's original intent for symbolism, but for me I see Liberty having stepped up above oppression, tyranny, etc. And with forceful winds blowing at her she thrusts the torch of freedom forward in a gesture that says "I will not be toppled". And this does not even touch the dawning sun.

 

Perhaps I am investing more in the design than there actually is. However for a coin to "say" that much is impressive to me. Now if I can only figure out what the Cook Islands coin is "saying". :ninja:

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I'm with LD. I like both for various reasons.

 

The reverse on the $20 Liberty is my favorite U.S. coinage reverse. The eagle is just......wow.

 

The St. Gaudens is just overall a very beautiful design. Nothing is out of place. The entire coin is well balanced and thought out.

 

We can go on and on about the pros vs cons of each. In the end we can conclude both are fantastic designs for the the most part. I would be happy to have either in my collection.

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Burks, If you like the reverse of the Liberty double eagle, you should look into the Capitol Visitor Center silver dollar. The reverse has a design similar to the Type 3 double eagle reverse, but it's in silver and considerably less expensive. I remember buying a set of them when they came out in 2001 because of the reverse.

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The high relief saint, no doubt about it. One of the most beautiful coins ever. If I were to pursue a date set, however, I would probably go with the older liberty (its the history thing at that point). Now, if you were to ask about the $10, again there is no question in my mind which is more beautiful. I'll take (figuratively of course) jtryka's avatar any day!

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...Now, if you were to ask about the $10, again there is no question in my mind which is more beuatiful. I'll take (figuratively of course) jtryka's avatar any day!

 

 

I agree! In fact that is probably my favorite US gold coin. One which I do not have, but definitely want to get.

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I agree with all who picked the Saint-Gaudens double eagle. From an artistic standpoint - the Saint-Gaudens design stands alone. The fact that Gaudens has influenced so many other artists/designers of popular coins (Weinman's merc dime and walking lib for example) speaks volumes about his historical impact on numismatics and sculpture in general.

 

I also like the $20 Liberty as well but that may be more a reflection of the relative lack of artistry in today's coinage than anything else. If Teddy Roosevelt or Augustus Saint Gaudens were alive today, I suspect they would feel the same way about many modern designs.

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The Lib just leaves me flat--it's just a bust, like the whole Barber series (not to mention all modern pocket change). The Saint, on the other hand, leaves me weak in the knees. The Lib is a piece of gold; the Saint is a piece of art. Just the idea of reaching into my pocket in the Teens or Twenties and pulling out in one fistful a Walker, a Saint, a Standing Lib, an Indian half- or quarter-eagle... :ninja:

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Now, if you were to ask about the $10, again there is no question in my mind which is more beautiful. I'll take (figuratively of course) jtryka's avatar any day!

 

Keep in mind my Avatar is actually a pattern for the double eagle, which eventually shaped the design of the eagle. And for the sake of equal representation (someone posted a photo of a Type 2 Lib) here is an upgrade that came in the mail yesterday:

 

1912p20dobv.JPG

1912p20drev.JPG

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I love the original Liberty on the eagls and half-eagles. But between the $20 Lib and the saint, I have to go with the saints. It's just a dynamic, neo-classical design that captures the spirit of it's times in a positive and wonderful way. The Liberty design isn't much better than the monarchist stuff from Europe :ninja:

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You know when you really think hard on this and literally, gold in any form is beautiful, doesn't matter if it is a Liberty or a Saint, it is still beautiful.

 

yup, i think you hit the nail on the head! I love gold coins, and i've seen very few examples that i don't like.

 

 

Doug

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Saints for me :ninja:

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