1907 High Relief Saint-Gaudens Twenty, MS65
1907 $20 High Relief, Flat Rim MS65 PCGS. The son of
Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Homer, wrote reminiscences of his father's
life in an article published in the June 1927 issue of The
Mentor. The first page of the article strongly underscores two
points in the youth of his father's life: his persistence and
cameo-cutting. The importance of cameo-cutting has often been
overlooked in the development of Saint-Gaudens as an artist. At the
age of 14 he was an apprenticed cameo-cutter, and this craft
enabled him to earn a living wage while still in New York City.
When he emigrated to Paris, he was less successful because of the
abundance of talented cutters in that city. Nevertheless, he
persisted, and even after he was admitted to the École des
Beaux-Arts, he continued to support himself and his studies.
Important One-Year Low-Mintage Issue
America's Most Beautiful Coin Design
After he left Paris in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, he set up shop in Rome. Once again, he returned to cameo-cutting in order to support himself until payment arrived for his first monumental work "Hiawatha." Cameo-cutting was particularly suitable training for the various bronze and plaster plaques he made throughout his later professional life, and it was invaluable when he was called upon by President Roosevelt to redesign the ten and twenty dollar coins.
High Relief double eagles are a blend of both his early skills as a cameo-cutter and his later talent for naturalistic renderings of subjects in sculptural form. The blend of both talents in the form of the 1907 twenties brought out a problem he had not previously encountered; the coins were wonderfully designed but their high relief rendered them unsuitable for high-speed coinage production. Nevertheless, President Roosevelt continued to champion the coins even after the sculptor's death in August 1907, and ordered production to commence even if it took all day and night to strike a single coin. Production was not quite that slow, but because of the high relief and multiple blows required by a hydraulic press, only 12,367 pieces were struck.
The High Relief Saint-Gaudens double eagles are known in both Wire Rim and Flat Rim varieties. This delightful Gem represents the much scarcer Flat Rim type, issued later in the year. The central design elements are sharply rendered, as expected with this issue, but the peripheries show the typical softness, due to the curvature of the fields. The pleasing yellow and rose-gold surfaces radiate vibrant mint luster, with only minor signs of contact and outstanding visual appeal.(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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