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1907 Flat Rim High Relief, MS66
Rare, High-Grade Example

1907 $20 High Relief, Flat Rim MS66 PCGS. The first production of the High Relief coins produced undesirable "fins" or knife rims on the coins, created by the metal flowing between the face dies and the edge collar. After officially taking office on November 1, it was little more than a month later when Mint Director Frank A. Leach wrote to Philadelphia Mint Superintendent John Landis on December 6 (Burdette, Renaissance of American Coinage 1905-1908):

"I was exceedingly humiliated today to have the Secretary of the Treasury call attention to the excessive burr, or fin, on one of the new double eagle pieces now being distributed.
"I was also surprised to find so many of these defective coins in a bag as I saw in the Treasurer's office here.
"I gave explicit orders when in Philadelphia that such coins should not be delivered, and directed the man who seemed to have the coins in charge to see that the same should all be gone over and the bad ones laid aside.
"I wish you to make [an] investigation and see why my instructions were not carried out, and if there was any negligence or carelessness, who is to blame."

Leach not long after reinforced that already-forceful and ominous message with another reminder:

"You are hereby instructed to continue striking the double eagles on the medal press from now until January 1, 1908. In the execution of this work I would suggest that the operators be instructed to work with extreme care so as to prevent the excessive burrs on the edges of the coin, and that they attempt to turn out no more work daily than can be well done. It is desired that you proceed with this work immediately, so as to get out as many of these coins as possible within the legal limit of time these designs can be used. You will receive instructions as to the distribution of these coins later, possibly through the Treasurer."

Although Mint personnel succeeded in almost entirely eliminating the "burrs" or wire rims, the Flat Rim pieces, as such pieces are called today, are rarer by a factor of about 5 to 1. High-grade Flat Rim coins such as the present piece are far rarer than their Wire Rim counterparts. This piece, like most Flat Rim coins, nonetheless does show a trace of a wire rim, from 10 o'clock to 11:30 on the reverse. The strike is impeccably bold, and close examination with a loupe fails to reveal even the most trivial distractions on this incredibly lovely and exceedingly rare coin. PCGS has certified only nine specimens finer than the present example (4/12).
Ex: Central States Signature (Heritage, 5/2007), lot 2395.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26F2, PCGS# 9136)

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Auction Dates
May-Jun, 2012
30th-3rd Wednesday-Sunday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
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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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