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Outstanding and Historic 1907 Indian Head Wire Rim Eagle, MS64 NGC

1907 $10 Wire Rim MS64 NGC. Many numismatists feel that the 1907 Periods, Wire Rim eagles most perfectly represent Augustus Saint-Gaudens' concept for this coin. Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth, in their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins, provide some background information on the noted sculptor's first attempt to execute an Indian Head design on American gold coinage:

"Saint-Gaudens felt that the heroic standing figure of Liberty should be placed only on the larger double eagle, and hence chose to show only her head and neck, and modeled Liberty after his own rendition of Nike (Victory) from the famous General Sherman Monument (1905). President Theodore Roosevelt demanded that a Native American war bonnet be added to Liberty, a fanciful object for either Liberty or a Native American woman to wear."

The initial ten dollar gold coins displayed a pronounced knife-like or "wire" rim, sometimes referred to as a "fin," rather than a normal flat rim. Roger Burdette, in his recent book Renaissance of American Coinage, 1905-1908, sums up the problems that Chief Engraver Charles Barber foresaw resulting from this feature:

"As Barber pointed out, the fin, created by metal flowing between the face dies and edge collar, was a major problem. Aesthetically, it made the coins look rough and irregular. The greater difficulty, however, was loss of gold as the fin quickly wore off. Ten and twenty dollar coins were used primarily in large transactions and international settlements. When gold coin was exported, the cost of gold in New York was based on the face value of the coin, rather than weight. If new coins could be secured, they were nearly as satisfactory to ship as bars. (Gold coin was bought from the Treasury at face value, and credited in Europe according to weight.) However, in the case of coin that had been in circulation or was not otherwise of full weight, the banker had to receive a higher rate for his overseas drafts against the shipment than in the case of bars. Consequently, if the coins had a fin, which quickly wore off, the shipper in the United States was paying for something he didn't get. The only solution was to obtain a higher rate of exchange on drafts sold against the gold. Any perception by bankers that the new-design coins were underweight could have had severe financial repercussions on international trade."

Five hundred 1907 Wire Rim ten dollar coins were reportedly struck before being replaced with the Flat or "Rolled" Rim variety. Because of their novelty as a first-year issue and beautiful design, many were saved from circulation, and sold at face value to officials, museums, and collectors. Nearly 500 Wire Rim examples have been graded by NGC and PCGS, some of which are obviously resubmissions.
The MS64 example in the present lot displays the yellow-gold satiny finish typical for the issue, that in this case is tinted with traces of light green. The luster is outstanding, and a well-executed strike has resulted in sharp definition on the design features. Light die polish lines are noted in the reverse fields, and a minute alloy spot is visible at 9 o'clock on the reverse rim. Some unobtrusive marks on the first couple of bonnet feathers are the only mentionable "flaws" evident on this marvelous specimen. Indeed, in our opinion, this coin has been conservatively graded by NGC.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26F2, PCGS# 8850)

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Auction Dates
April, 2007
9th-10th Monday-Tuesday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 642

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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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