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Gem Flat Rim MCMVII High Relief1907 $20 High Relief, Flat Rim MS65 PCGS. The thin golden fin (or "wire rim") commonly seen on earlier high relief double eagles was considered nothing less than a major defect by the mint. The fin was easily abraded and this had the potential for reducing the coin's weight to below legal standard. It was also an aesthetic problem that marred the otherwise magnificent and difficult to produce coins.
Using suggestions made by Director Leach (based on his years of working with gold at San Francisco), the Philadelphia Mint changed the way they milled the coin blanks. These alterations allowed coins to be struck with almost no fin and met with full approval from Roosevelt, "The President was greatly pleased with the sample of the lot now being struck off on the Medal press." Although the coins were noticeably superior to earlier pieces, engraver Charles Barber was concerned: "All the coins now made are the same, which gives me alarm, as they are so well made that I fear the President may demand the continuance of this particular coin."
Ultimately, cost and low productivity prevented more extensive coining of the high relief version. According to Roger Burdette, approximately one-third of the 12,367 pieces struck were of the finless variety. As with other High Relief twenties, they were shipped to sub-Treasuries in small bags that contained 250 pieces with little done to prevent nicks and scrapes. Only 58 High Relief coins were included with the Treasurer's little hoard of gold in 1912. All had been sold by February 1913 for an average of just $23.00 each.
Of all the variations on the initial double eagle design presented to the President in December 1906, the High Relief, Flat Rim coins are closest to a golden realization of Saint-Gaudens final design. Detail, execution and overall appearance are closest to the sculptor's last Very High Relief models of March 1907. Although the much-exalted Extremely High Relief experimental pieces get more publicity, it is this--an almost accidental coin--that truly embodies the artistic collaboration of Theodore Roosevelt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
This is a magnificent, Gem example of the Flat Rim variant. The surfaces have thick, satiny mint luster and are sharply defined, as one would expect from a coin that was struck three times with a hydraulic press. The MS65 grade, of course, precludes any noticeable or mentionable contact marks. Simply magnificent quality.
From The Kutasi Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26F2, PCGS# 9136)
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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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