Superb Gem 1907 Rolled Edge Indian Ten
1907 $10 Rolled Edge MS67 PCGS. Judd-1903, formerly
Judd-1775, R.5. This was the second version of the Saint-Gaudens
ten dollar design produced in 1907. After plain-edge patterns of
the knife rim/periods eagle were struck, Chief Engraver Charles
Barber realized the lack of a normal rim prevented coins from
stacking properly. Believing that these designs might be used for
circulation purposes later in the year (not just to satisfy
President Roosevelt), Barber used the same models as for the knife
rim coins to make new hubs. However, on these new hubs the engraver
cut a normal rim so that the pieces would stack. Experimental
examples with irregular edge stars were made and the change was
approved. But, before production dies could be made, another angry
letter arrived from President Roosevelt demanding that coins be
struck "by September first" from the first dies. Mint Director
George Roberts had resigned in July, and Acting Director Robert
Preston ordered 500 of the first variety struck.
Among the Finest Certified
Barber's second version with normal rim and periods was then planned for use in striking circulation pieces. Just before large-scale production began, a pair of new models arrived from Saint-Gaudens' estate. According to Barber, these models were satisfactory for circulation use and he recommended they be used in place of his rim-added version. Acting Director Preston apparently became confused about the different versions of the ten dollar coin, and ordered production use of Barber's version, over the objections of Barber and other Philadelphia Mint officials. Thirty-one thousand five hundred pieces were struck in late September and seemed destined for release to banks across the country. Philadelphia Mint Superintendent John Landis thought the results were inferior and that the mint should issue only pieces made from the new models. As an aside, numismatists today clearly disagree with Superintendent Landis as the Rolled Rim ten is listed as # 52 in the Garrett-Guth reference 100 Greatest U.S. Coins. He wrote to Acting Director Preston on September 25, 1907, enclosing two examples of the new 1907 eagle design: one the normal rim/periods version, the other a sample made from the new models from Saint-Gaudens' estate. (These later became the normal circulation coins for 1907.)
"You will notice that the eagle from the last model [from Saint-Gaudens' estate--no periods] is a great improvement over those of the first model [the normal rim/with periods]. 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 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."
Assistant Treasury Secretary John Edwards thought the coins were satisfactory and should be released due to the high demand for gold in commerce. (This was near the beginning of the brief, but serious 1907 Knickerbocker Panic, and public demand for gold coin was high along the East Coast.) On November 1 Frank Leach, the new Mint director, finally assumed full control of his office. One of the first things he did was to countermand the assistant secretary's order. Having just come from several years as superintendent of the San Francisco Mint, Leach's experience told him that Landis was right and the coins were not up to standard for sharpness and overall quality. Leach had all of the 31,500 normal rim/periods coins melted except for 50 pieces kept for distribution to museums and public coin collections. A list of purchasers shows the original owners of many of these coins. Some ended up in the hands of museums or famous collectors such as John Work Garrett, William H. Woodin, and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Others found their way to hobbyists now unknown to collectors. The last recorded sale from the Mint was on October 19, 1908, to Dr. S. E. Young of Baywood, Virginia. All of these pieces have normal edge stars. All were struck on normal production presses--not a medal press. The master hubs were destroyed in 1910. While it is universally believed that 40 to 45 pieces have survived today, even great rarities like a Rolled Rim ten Indian can be lost or damaged under extraordinary circumstances. Such is the fate of one MS66 specimen that was stolen by a postal carrier last year. That individual was recently convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for his crime. The coin, however, has vanished, and it may be years before it surfaces again, if indeed it ever does.
This piece has lovely, thick mint frost over each side. The fields show a few small swirling die polishing marks, like the Wire Rim tens only to a lesser degree. The surfaces are original with reddish-gold and lilac coloration over both obverse and reverse. This is one of the finest Rolled Rim tens known. The two major services have only certified four other pieces in MS67 (two at PCGS and two at NGC), and none are finer (11/07).
Ex: Kutasi Collection (Heritage, 1/07), lot 3160, which realized $402,500.
From The Madison Collection.(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 268C, PCGS# 8851)
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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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