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Gem 1907 Wire Rim High Relief Twenty
Subtle Reddish Patina

1907 $20 High Relief, Wire Rim MS65 PCGS. CAC. It is widely believed that the relationship between Augustus Saint-Gaudens and President Roosevelt started with the "Genesis Letter" of December 1904 (Heritage, 8/2012), lot 5433. That famous letter sharply criticizes the current circulating coinage, and asks the Secretary of the Treasury if it would be possible to employ Saint-Gaudens to "give us a coinage that would have some beauty." In fact, the president and sculptor were acquainted years previously from their mutual involvement on the Park Commission, a committee that made suggestions about how to best realize Major L'Enfant's vision for the capital from a hundred years before. In a letter from Saint-Gaudens to the president, dated August 15, 1903, the sculptor reveals Roosevelt's appreciation for the Sherman monument: "I don't know how to thank you for your more than kind words about the 'Sherman' and my other work." The fact that President Roosevelt had seen the Sherman group and had taken the time to favorably comment on it may go a long way toward explaining why Saint-Gaudens chose to adapt the figure of Liberty from the Sherman for the central figure on the obverse on the twenty dollar gold piece. Eleven years of work on the Sherman by Saint-Gaudens and his staff of artisans, coupled with a presidential endorsement, assured a favorable public reception of the double eagle when it was released in high relief in 1907.

This piece was obviously well-received and well-preserved by generations of collectors. There are no obvious or mentionable contact marks on either side of this reddish-tinted Gem. The wire rim is complete around the obverse, but almost missing around the reverse.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26F2, PCGS# 9135)

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June, 2013
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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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