Condition Census 1908 Motto Ten, MS68
1908 $10 Motto MS68 NGC. Only 33,500 business strikes were
produced of the 1908 No Motto ten dollar pieces before the okay
came to switch to the With Motto coins, over the strong objections
of President Theodore Roosevelt, who fervently believed that a
reference to God on coinage amount to sacrilege. Of course the new
Saint-Gaudens designs were his "pet project," so he took a special
interest in every detail surrounding their issuance in 1907-08. The
With Motto pieces were produced to an extent roughly 10 times as
large, at 341,370 business strikes.
Only One MS68+ Certified Finer
An item in March 1908's The Numismatist noted:
"Washington, February 19:--IN GOD WE TRUST will be restored to all coins of the United States from which the motto recently was removed by the president if the bill of Representative William McKinley of Illinois, which was unanimously ordered and reported to the House by the Committee [on] Coinage and Weight and Measures today, is passed Congress ... . It is believed by the committee that it will be unanimously passed by the body, the President having indicated that he has no objection to it. The bill takes effect 30 days after its passage. Before the committee adjourned Representative Wallace of Arkansas suggested that the words I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH be placed on all paper money of the government."
(The William McKinley cited above is different from the man who served as the United States' 25th president.) While the Wallace measure clearly failed, McKinley prevailed; the motto was restored to American coinage in short order.
The present MS68 example is tied for second place in the Condition Census with several other examples certified MS68 at NGC and PCGS -- four submissions at NGC, three at PCGS. There is only a single MS68+ specimen at PCGS finer, currently in the High Desert Collection Registry Set, the No. 1 complete type set of U.S. gold (1795-1933).
As expected from the numeric grade of this Superb Gem, the surfaces are virtually perfect. Each side has a granular, mattelike finish typical for the new coinage, with an overlay of soft, frosted mint luster. Even color dominates on each side, a pale reddish-golden hue. Also uniform is the sharp strike throughout the mark-free surfaces. A fine prize for a high-end Registry Set.(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 28GJ, PCGS# 8859)
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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.
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