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Stunning Gem 1907 Wire Rim Eagle

1907 $10 Wire Rim MS65 NGC. The 1907 Wire Rim eagle is an experimental issue--but it is one that would have reached circulation had Teddy Roosevelt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens had their way, and had its design been more practical for coinage and commerce. Although it is listed in the Judd pattern reference (Judd-1901; Judd-1774 before the eighth edition), even the Judd editors waffle on the status of the piece: "Regular or pattern? This point can be debated."
The 1907 Wire Rim eagle, for all intents, can be included in the same class as another august group, the 1879 Flowing Hair stellas. Both were experimental designs, both are listed as patterns, and both were made as delicacies for the well-connected.
Notwithstanding its technical status, the 1907 Wire Rim is widely pursued and collected alongside the regular-issue coins beginning with the 1907 No Periods. Similarly, the 1879 Flowing Hair stellas are often collected as part of a complete U.S. gold type set.
Garrett and Guth, in 100 Greatest U.S. Coins, discuss this in conjunction with the 1907 Rolled Rim issue that followed:

"Reportedly, 500 were struck and this design type is considered experimental per conventional wisdom, although research has revealed that, in fact, these were made as delicacies to be distributed by Mint officials, Treasury Department officials, and others. To acquire one of these, you needed a 'connection'! "

Akers' Handbook of 20th century gold notes an original mintage of 542 coins, of which "70 pieces were melted between 1915 and 1918," leaving a net distribution of 472 coins. Most of the existing specimens, at least those certified, are Gems or nearly so; the average certified survivor grades a bit better than MS63.
The present MS65 NGC-certified piece is a stunning work of numismatic art, with deep, even, consistent apricot-orange coloration throughout and splendid eye appeal. The obverse presents a wonderful cameo appearance--more through the design than through any obvious field-device contrast--and is virtually pristine, save for a trivial mark or two. Two minuscule dark flecks on Liberty's jawline are mentioned for pedigree purposes only. The reverse is equally appealing.
This Gem would make a splendid beginning on a U.S. gold collection that could surely take a lifetime of joy (and some mighty deep pockets) to complete: an entire 1907 type set of U.S. gold, from the quarter eagle through double eagle. Such a collection would include the 1907 Liberty Head quarter eagle; the P- and D-mint Liberty Head half eagles; the PDS set of Liberty Head eagles, along with the Wire Rim, Rolled Rim, and No Periods Saint-Gaudens eagles; the 1907-PDS Liberty Head twenties; and the final hurdle would be the 1907 Ultra High Relief Saint-Gaudens twenty, the High Reliefs with Wire Rim and Flat Rim, and the regular-issue 1907 Arabic numerals. Let us know if you want to take the challenge: We will be glad to help.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26F2, PCGS# 8850)

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Auction Dates
September, 2009
9th-13th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 4
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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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