Wells Fargo 1908 $20 Nevada Gold Pieces



2015-06-26 10:35:12

The Wells Fargo 1908 $20 Nevada Gold Pieces are a collection of rare and collectible coins, which were struck in the USA in 1908 and purchased by American bank Wells Fargo in 1997.

History of the coin

In 1849, the US Mint began creating large $20 gold coins for the first time. Just over 50 years later, in 1901, Teddy Roosevelt was sworn in as President.

Roosevelt disapproved of the bulky, plain coins in circulation, and in 1906 commissioned famous sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, to re-design all of the major coinage circulating in the US.

One of the major designs Saint-Gaudens worked on was the $20 gold coin.

Saint-Gaudens proposed a smaller more beautifully crafted coin, featuring delicate, high-relief images - reminiscent of classical, Greek coinage.

The resulting coins were and continue to be widely considered to be the most beautiful coins in American history.


The 1908 Nevada design was unique. Originally, it was to be circulated in the mid-west state bearing the standard motto ‘In God We Trust’ inscribed at the bottom of the obverse side.

However, Roosevelt specifically requested that the motto be excluded due what he considered to be the immoral habits of many men in the state – namely, gambling, drinking and the use of brothels.

Roosevelt’s wishes were upheld throughout most of 1908, until Congress intervened and demanded that the motto be included once more.

This continued until the $20 Saint-Gaudens coin was taken out of circulation in 1933.

As such, the 1908 ‘no motto’ $20 gold pieces are very rare and highly valuable.


In 1997, American bank Wells Fargo completed the purchase of a collection of 15,000 of the $20 ‘no motto’ gold pieces. In excellent condition, the collection was purchased for an estimated $10m.

Notable sales

In February 2011, Pook & Pook held a ‘Decorative Arts’ auction, which included four of the Wells Fargo 1908 $20 Nevada gold pieces.

Estimated to individually sell for between $5,000-7,000, each coin realised $7,110.

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