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Near-Gem MCMVII High Relief, Wire Rim

1907 $20 High Relief, Wire Rim MS64 PCGS. If the glass were always full, one would never appreciate water. So it is with the U.S. Mint, which giveth with the one hand and promptly taketh away with the other. While American collectors are rejoicing over the Mint's plans to issue an ultrahigh-relief MMIX-dated gold piece next year in tribute to Augustus Saint-Gaudens' double eagle masterwork, those same collectors (the present cataloger included-GH) are already regretting the missed opportunity the Mint is creating by choosing, rather than a true-to-life, standard-size (34-mm) Ultra High Relief, to produce a smaller (27-mm) version on a double-thick planchet. From the finely crafted press release on the Mint website, it appears that a standard-size (34-mm) gold piece in ultrahigh relief may still be beyond Mint capabilities, while a 27-mm double-thick piece, containing one net troy ounce of 24-karat gold, is doable. Either way, the coin is likely to be spectacular.
Nonetheless, the fact remains that the MCMVII-dated High Reliefs are and will remain for most collectors the most faithful rendition of Saint-Gaudens' vision, barring the purchase of one of the extremely few original Ultra High Reliefs available in the marketplace. This piece has the usual bright, satiny mint luster always seen on high grade High Relief twenties. The color is bright yellow-gold for the most part, with only a hint of light reddish patina. The surfaces are essentially flawless and appear even finer than the stated grade.
For many collectors, the near-Gem grade level represents the optimal collector grade for this issue, with coins offering most of the appeal of a full Gem, yet at a considerable discount to the MS65 price.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26F2, PCGS# 9135)

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Auction Dates
Jul-Aug, 2008
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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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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