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Superb 1907 No Motto Ten Dollar--One of the Finest Examples Known

1907 $10 No Motto MS67 PCGS. This last version of the 1907 gold eagle is the one used for production of coins that actually made it into circulation. Dies were prepared from a new set of models provided by the Saint-Gaudens' estate and approved by Philadelphia Mint engraver Barber. Overall, the design resulted in sharper looking coins. These were used only through the end of the calendar year 1907. For 1908, a slightly revised version was issued that corrected some of the problems encountered with the 1907 edition.
Only days after approval had been given to use Barber's version with the rim added, a new pair of models arrived from the Saint-Gaudens estate. These had been prepared by Henry Hering and Homer Saint-Gaudens (the sculptor's son) in the lowest relief they believed the artist would have accepted. In addition to a more coinlike relief, the design had more deeply cut details than previous ones and omitted the triangular text stops on the reverse. (By the time the mint made reductions from the models, the triangles had turned into irregular ovals somewhat like periods, or the pellets on medieval coinage.)
Barber immediately pronounced the new models acceptable for coinage and approved them, commenting that production could begin in about a month. When instructions came from Acting Director Preston to strike coins for circulation, the order stipulated they be made from the second models. To Barber, these were the ones just received. But to Preston they were the ones to which Barber had added a rim--really from the first models. The situation was confusing for the 74-year-old Preston, and having the White House and Treasury Secretary breathing down his neck didn't improve the difficult circumstances.
It fell to Frank Leach, who took office as Mint Director on November 1, to resolve the situation. He had all but 50 of the coins struck on Preston's orders melted. He then ordered production of the final variety of ten dollar gold coin from the last models as approved by Barber. The new coins were a significant improvement over the previous versions in detail and mechanical characteristics. Relief was within coinable limits and the rim was wide enough to protect the design. As on the other two versions for 1907, 46 small stars circle the edge of the coin. Over the next decade small changes were made to the design of the eagle to strengthen the feathers, stars, and other parts of the design. Two stars were added to the edge in 1912.
These eagles were the first of the Saint-Gaudens coins to be released into circulation in early November 1907. Their release came several days before the official acceptance of Oklahoma--the forty-sixth state--into the Union, making the starred edge a technical anomaly. But few paid attention to the coin's edge; their attention was drawn to the absence of the religious motto IN GOD WE TRUST from the coin. Within days, letters and petitions of protest were on their way to Congress and the President. Less than a year later the design was modified to include the motto on the reverse. No proofs were issued for coin collectors; however, at least two sandblast proofs with an unusually wide rim are known. We know nothing about when or why they were made.
This is a stunning Superb Gem Mint State example of this date, and one of the very finest graded by either service. Only two pieces have been certified finer--one at PCGS and one at NGC. This production variant of the 1907 ten dollar is known for being well-produced and many are also well-preserved, making it an excellent type coin. The luster on this piece is frosted and bright. Each side shows slight reddish-gold color with occasional lilac accents within the recesses of the design elements. A lovely, pristine example of this important coin--the first of the Saint-Gaudens coinage released into circulation.
From The Kutasi Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 28GF, PCGS# 8852)

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Auction Dates
January, 2007
3rd-6th Wednesday-Saturday
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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