In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt decided that American currency lacked artistic merit and needed to be redesigned. He commissioned master sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to revamp our nation'scoins to better represent America's emergence as a world power. Saint-Gaudens immediately began work on America's largest gold coin: the $20 Double Eagle coin. His magnificent design features a beautiful Lady Liberty striding toward the dawn of a new day. In her right hand is a torch held aloft, and in her left hand is an olive branch. The reverse is dominated by the image of an American eagle infull flight with its head proudly raised in a show of strength as it soars above the sun's rays.
Saint-Gaudens' masterpiece has been called the most beautiful coin of all time, but its story took a more historic turn in 1933 when another Roosevelt - President Franklin Roosevelt - made private ownership of gold illegal. All but a handful of 1933 Gold Double Eagles were confiscated and destroyed. When one sold in 2002 for a record $7.59 Million, it became the most valuable gold coin in history!
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