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Description

Gem 1907 Flat Rim High Relief
Extraordinary Yellow-Gold Surfaces

1907 $20 High Relief, Flat Rim MS65 PCGS. The latter part of Augustus Saint-Gaudens' life proved cruelly ironic. He achieved global stature as a sculptor after he was awarded the Grand Prix at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. He was named a correspondent of the Institute de France and the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. In 1899 he wrote "Wings are beginning to sprout on my shoulders." He was later awarded the prestigious Chevalier de la Legion d' Honneur and the Royal Academy of Arts in London named him an honorary foreign academician. He also received honorary degrees from Princeton, Yale, and Harvard. In 1904 he was elected to the National Academy of Arts and Letters, the same year as Samuel Clemens.
But Saint-Gaudens' many achievements and honors that signaled his ascendancy in the art world were overshadowed by medical problems. He struggled for years with depression. In 1900 he returned from Paris and had surgery for an intestinal tumor. Cancer then afflicted him and eventually took his life in August 1907. In spite of these physical maladies he continued to accept and work on commissions as his health allowed. His later bas-reliefs were mostly handed off to assistants, but Saint-Gaudens took a personal interest in the design and execution of the ten and twenty dollar gold coins that President Roosevelt challenged him to complete. The president saw these coins as a partial overhaul of the mediocrity he saw in circulation at the time. Incorporating the striding Victory from his Sherman Monument (now located at the entrance to Central Park), Saint-Gaudens was able to use a design he had labored over for several years in the 1890s. By combining the central elements of the figure of Victory with the three-dimensionality desired by President Roosevelt, he achieved a singularly impressive striding figure of Liberty--a design that remains unparalleled among U.S. coinage designs 104 years after minting.
There is something unusual about this coin, something quite extraordinary. The surfaces have a bright gleam that is similar to the pure gold finish on an Ultra. Which is to say, each side is bright yellow-gold with none of the usual reddish patina seen on most High Reliefs. The mint luster is satiny, as always, and there are only the tiniest contact marks on each side--a loupe will be required to locate them. This is truly a High Relief that must be examined to be fully appreciated.(Registry values: N7079) (PCGS# 9136)

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Auction Dates
January, 2011
5th-9th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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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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