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Extraordinary Gem Flat Rim 1907 High Relief

1907 $20 High Relief, Flat Rim MS65 PCGS. CAC. According to Thayer Tolles in Augustus Saint-Gaudens in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in his works the sculptor employed an effective thematic device that amplified the overall narrative "by synthesizing the real and the ideal, the material and the spiritual, harnessing a naturalistic portrait to an allegorical figure." While earlier works of Saint-Gaudens employed symbols in a naturalistic setting, such as the poppies in the Shaw Memorial to symbolize eternal sleep, it was on the figure for the twenty dollar gold piece that he was able to truly combine all elements. He was able to use the symbolic devices of the torch, representative of Liberty, and the olive branch that traditionally symbolizes peace, but it was on the figure of Liberty where Saint-Gaudens was able to truly integrate the natural and symbolic. It is little wonder that the motif on the High Relief twenty has not been eclipsed in the century since its creation. Few sculptors or medalists have the creative vision to bring together all these elements and communicate the concept of Liberty in the small format of a coin, thus explaining the enduring legacy and popularity of the High Relief twenties.
This is a magnificent example of Saint-Gaudens' natural and symbolic vision for American coinage. The surfaces are exceptionally clean, obviously well cared for since the day of issue. The striking details are notably strong with even definition on the pillars of the capitol and no merging of the letters with the rim on the upper reverse. While the rim is mostly flat on each side, there is a bit of a wire rim on the upper right portion of both obverse and reverse--most Flat Rim twenties show some evidence of a wire rim.
From The Maltbie Family Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26F2, PCGS# 9136)

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Auction Dates
January, 2011
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The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens as Illustrated by the Morse and Duckor Collections
Revised Edition by James L. Halperin, Mark R. Borckardt, Mark Van Winkle, Jon Amato, and Gregory J. Rohan, with special contributor David W. Akers

The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is an issue-by-issue examination of these two artistically inspired series of gold coins. Each date and mintmark is reviewed with up-to-date information, much of which has never been previously published. The book is based on two extraordinary collections: The Phillip H. Morse collection and the Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor collection.

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