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Magnificent Superb Gem 1907 No Periods Eagle

1907 $10 No Periods MS68 PCGS. Most collectors know Augustus Saint-Gaudens was both the most prominent sculptor of his time, as well as the designer of the eagle and double eagle that still bear his name. In 1906 and the first half of 1907, Augustus Saint-Gaudens' health was deteriorating rapidly. However, an enthusiastic President Roosevelt insisted on holding Saint-Gaudens to his promise to create models of the ten and twenty dollar gold coins the two had discussed in 1905. Saint-Gaudens was, indeed, dragging his feet on completing this project. In addition to a loss of energy brought on by his declining health, he also had other sculptural commissions to complete in 1906 and 1907. Despite these conflicts, on December 15, 1906, models for the two large denomination gold coins were delivered to the Executive Mansion.
The 1907 Wire Rim eagle represented the first attempt by Saint-Gaudens to execute an Indian Head design in U.S. gold which was, in reality, a left facing portrait of Liberty adorned with an Indian headdress. The name of this variety stems from the delicate, knife-like rim that both sides display. This feature is the result of metal being forced between the collar and the dies during striking; the coins were not originally designed with a defined rim. The wire rim on both sides had the potential to interfere with the ejection process, was highly susceptible to abrasions, and also caused stacking problems. These considerations explain why the Mint did not adopt Saint-Gaudens' original design for circulation.
When the original Wire Rim design was found to be impractical and unsatisfactory for normal production, Charles Barber, Chief Engraver of the Mint, made noticeable modifications, particularly to the edge. He was satisfied with the second version, the so-called Rolled Edge variety, and a large number of these were struck in anticipation of placing them in circulation. Correspondence from the Mint indicates $315,000 worth of newly designed Rolled Edge eagles (31,500 pieces) were struck. Despite Barber's satisfaction, Superintendent of the Mint John Landis was unhappy, and he indicated as much in a letter dated September 25, 1907, to Director of the Mint Frank Leach. With the letter, Landis enclosed two examples of the new 1907 eagle design: one the Rolled Edge version, the other a new improved version which subsequently became known as the No Periods or regular issue. These coins were submitted with the following comments:
"You will notice that the eagle from the last model (No Periods) is a great improvement over those of the first model (the Rolled Edge). The latter are indefinite in detail and outline, not being at all sharp and look like imperfect coins or coins that have been sweated, while the former is sharp in outline, the detail shows up well, the border is broad and prominent and the coins will stack perfectly. If this last model meets with your approval, I would strongly urge upon you the expediency of immediately replacing the $315,000 now on hand, of the first model with eagles of the last model. I think we will be severely criticized, and certainly deserve to be, if the eagles already struck should be allowed to go into circulation."
Finally, we arrive at the No Periods variety. It represented the third and final attempt by the Philadelphia Mint to create a ten dollar gold coin that was practical for commerce, easy to strike, and visually attractive since the first two attempts had failed. Revisions made to the coining dies included strengthening the minute details on the devices and retaining the recognizable Flat Rim for proper stacking. A subtle feature was incorporated to differentiate this variety from the previous two: the periods before E PLURIBUS UNUM were eliminated.
A total of 239,406 No Periods tens were struck for general circulation. The 1907 No Periods variety is well known to numismatists as one of the better produced Indian tens, and this piece is the epitome of perfection. The exceedingly sharp details include the headdress at the center of the obverse, the peripheral stars, the reverse legend, and even the feathers on the upper portion of the eagle's wing. The luster is thick and satiny. Both sides are enhanced with yellow-gold and green-gold patina in a slightly variegated fashion with subtle hints of pink at the central regions. Close examination reveals only the most minimal microscopic marks. If one had to list anything as a future identifier on the beautiful coin, one tiny lateral abrasion is present on the eagle's right (facing) leg at the midpoint.
Only about 20 Superb examples have currently been certified by both services. Heritage Auctions has recently offered two exceptional MS67 examples: one NGC coin in the June 2005 Long Beach Sale, the other a PCGS-graded piece in the September 2005 Long Beach Auction. Neither of those coins could approach the exceptional appeal of this magnificently preserved piece. A truly Superb specimen of this beautifully designed, first-year U.S. gold coin. It is the single finest specimen thus far graded by PCGS (4/06), and was previously graded MS68 at NGC, flip accompanies lot.
From The Rusty Forehand Collection.(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 28GF, PCGS# 8852)

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Auction Dates
June, 2006
1st-3rd Thursday-Saturday
Internet/Mail/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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