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Incredible Judd-1901 1907 Periods, Wire Rim Eagle, MS67

1907 $10 Wire Rim MS67 NGC. Judd-1901, formerly Judd-1774. The Periods variants of the 1907 Saint-Gaudens eagle hold an interesting place in American numismatics. Their status as patterns or regular issues is debatable; while the pieces were never officially released for circulation, their large mintage and inherent beauty have made them popular with series enthusiasts, and for years, the Judd-1901, listed as "1907, Wire Rim, Periods" with a mintage of 500 pieces, has been a fixture in the Guide Book.
A number of features distinguish the design of the Judd-1901 from the version that was used to strike the first circulating pieces. The overall relief is substantially greater than for the circulating varieties, though the difference between the Judd-1901 and the regular issue is not so great as the change from the High Relief Saint-Gaudens double eagle to its regular-issue counterpart. Beyond the relief, the most substantial difference is in the eponymous periods; most frequently mentioned are the periods or pellets that bookend the words E PLURIBUS UNUM, while Walter Breen also noted the periods around TEN DOLLARS and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Less frequently mentioned in numismatic literature is the period on the headband, after LIBERTY.
The lack of a rim separates the Judd-1901 from later incarnations, such as the Rolled Rim variety. Roger Burdette, in his Renaissance of American Coinage 1905-1908, quotes a letter dated July 22, 1907 from then-Mint Director George Roberts to designer Augustus Saint-Gaudens. In the letter, Roberts notes that the fields run right to the edge of the coin; combined with the high relief of the central devices, this meant that " ... the eagle comes clear up fully level with the edge ..." He also writes about the wire rim, which he described as " ... a slight burr on the edge which will not be there in a perfect coin," with his choice of words clearly indicating his opinion that the wire rim was an unintended result of the minting process and far from desirable. Later iterations of the Saint-Gaudens eagle would feature a rim, whether the rounded variety featured on the so-called "Rolled Rim" Periods pieces or the flat rim that appears on circulating examples.
The ninth edition of Judd's United States Pattern Coins indicates that the Judd-1901 has a high survival rate, stating that "[n]early all of the 500 1907 Wire Rim eagles transferred to the Treasury Department were quietly dispersed among privileged officials." Judd further notes that of "several hundred" examples known to collectors, most are Mint State, with most pieces in a range from slightly below Select to Gem. Superb Gems are highly elusive and appear on the market only infrequently; by one grade point, this is the finest example of the Periods, Wire Rim Saint-Gaudens eagle that Heritage has ever offered at auction, and in the NGC Census Report, it is one of just five pieces graded MS67 with only three numerically finer survivors (4/08).
This Superb Gem is a spectacular lemon-gold beauty with immense luster in a style that is peculiar to the Wire Rim eagles, what Breen once referred to as "reticulated." The plastic holder has a few potentially misleading scratches that may appear in images of the coin, but in-person examination confirms the remarkable preservation of its smooth, virtually flawless surfaces. Occasional hints of striking softness at the uppermost design elements are the norm for this issue, and a subtle rim flaw at the lower reverse is of little concern. In sum, a wonderful representative that presents a striking opportunity for the discerning and dedicated numismatist.(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 26F2, PCGS# 8850)

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Auction Dates
May-Jun, 2008
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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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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