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Description

MCMVII High Relief Twenty, MS65
Bright, Satiny Surfaces, Slight Trace of a Wire Rim

1907 $20 High Relief, Wire Rim MS65 NGC. Much has been made about the personal friction as well as design differences between Augustus Saint-Gaudens and the Mint's Chief Engraver Charles Barber. And for good reason. The first run-in between these two occurred in the early 1890s when Saint-Gaudens submitted two designs for the World's Columbian Exposition medal. The first design featured a nude male youth "in the full vigor of young life." This first design was struck down as unacceptable. A modified "fig-leaf" version was also rejected, and the sculptor was asked to submit another design. This second design displayed a Ptolemaic eagle within a laurel wreath at the top with award verbiage covering the remainder of the reverse. This design was also rejected, but with no word of explanation. Instead, Charles Barber submitted a pedestrian design for the reverse and it was immediately accepted. Saint-Gaudens was livid and he fired off a letter to the New York Daily Tribune expressing the "rare shamelessness of such an offense" and his "unbridled astonishment." It was a full decade before the sculptor again considered working on a Mint product. When he did consent to redesign the nation's coinage in 1904, it was with the vigorous support of the president, who minimized Barber's interference with the production of Saint-Gaudens' high relief design for the twenty dollar gold piece.
The result of Saint-Gaudens' efforts and the noninterference of the Mint (especially Charles Barber) is easily seen on the High Relief twenties from 1907, and this coin is an excellent example. The design motifs appear lifelike, quite unlike the coins in circulation at the time. This is an especially vibrant, satiny example whose yellow-gold surfaces show just a tinge of reddish patina. Essentially unabraded surfaces further explain the Gem designation.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26F2, PCGS# 9135)

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Auction Dates
Nov-Dec, 2012
29th-2nd
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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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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