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Gorgeous Gem 1907 Rolled Edge Ten Dollar
1907 $10 Rolled Edge MS65 PCGS. More than a quarter-century
before the infamous Franklin Delano Roosevelt Executive Order and
the subsequent gold recall of the 1930s all but destroyed many of
the late classic U.S. gold issues, another single issue was
virtually wiped out during his cousin Theodore Roosevelt's
administration. That issue was the "Rolled Rim," also called the
"Rolled Edge" or (paradoxically) the "Normal Edge."
The Famous Judd-1903, All But 50 Melted
The Rolled Rim coins were meant to solve the problems of their Wire Rim predecessors, but wound up creating problems of their own. In the September 10, 2007 edition of Coin World, Roger W. Burdette and Jeff Reichenberger discuss the reasons for the Rolled Rim coins and their nature:
"The first version of [Saint-Gaudens] $10 coin had no properly defined rim, made a wobbly stack when the experimental pieces were piled, and required the use of a medal press to bring up the design.
"To remedy these defects, [Chief Engraver Charles] Barber made a new set of hubs and dies from the same set of models as before. But this time, he cut a well defined rim into the hubs. Experimental pieces demonstrated that the relief was low enough that the coins could be struck on ordinary presses. These were shown to the Treasury secretary and President Roosevelt and approved.
"This second gold eagle version had the design in slightly higher than normal relief. The fields ended at a well defined rim on which the coins could sit when stacked. On the reverse, the legends had small text stops - usually called periods - at ends of each inscription, just as on the first version.
"The Philadelphia Mint struck 31,500 pieces of the second version on normal coinage presses in late September 1907 and the coins seemed destined for release across the country."
This was an extensive commitment; for example, the 1911-D eagle issue has a recorded mintage of 30,100 pieces. It was also a commitment that ended up undone. With a new model from the studio of the late Saint-Gaudens, the Mint produced what would be known as the No Periods regular issue, rendering the Rolled Rim coins obsolete. Burdette and Reichenberger quote Philadelphia Mint Superintendent John Landis, in a letter sent to acting Mint Director Robert Preston:
"You will notice that the eagle from the last model is a great improvement over those of the first model. ... 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 models. ... I think we will be severely criticized, and certainly deserve to be, if the eagles already struck should be allowed to go into circulation."
The decision was not unanimous; the authors cite an Assistant Treasury Secretary, John Edwards, as being in opposition. Nonetheless, the replacement Mint Director, Frank Leach, ordered all but 50 of the Rolled Rim pieces melted down. The 50 survivors were then distributed over the course of the next year; Burdette's writing in Coin World and elsewhere includes a remarkable distribution table showing where various pieces were directed.
A previous cataloger praised the luster of this coin, calling it "satiny." While the coin offers bolder luster than that usually associated with satin, there is considerable fine texture in the sunset-orange fields. This Gem has a couple of tiny copper flecks in the fields, but the coin's most visible defect--a small circular feature above the L in PLURIBUS on the reverse that may have been a gas bubble trapped in the planchet--apparently occurred prior to striking. This is also the coin's most reliable pedigree marker and a good feature to note for future appearances.
Ex: Heritage (3/1999), lot 6790; later, Goldberg (9/2008), lot 1283, which realized $230,000.
From The Las Vegas Collection, Part Two.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 268C, PCGS# 8851)
View all of [The Las Vegas Collection, Part Two ]
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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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