Tied For Finest Known 1909-D Eagle, MS67 PCGS, Ex: Price1909-D $10 MS67 PCGS. Breen-7109. The 1909-D is a scarcer issue among early ten dollar Indians and much more challenging than its mintage of 121,540 pieces would indicate. David Akers (1988) contends that it is one of the most underrated issues in the series, and is actually one of the rarest in an absolute sense. Even in MS60 this date is somewhat scarce, and it can only be located with great difficulty in MS63 and MS64. In Gem and better condition this date is quite rare. PCGS and NGC combined have certified only 16 examples in MS65 and higher grades, and it is likely that some of these are resubmissions (9/05). Moreover, our records indicate that the '09-D in these higher Mint State grades has appeared in major auction sales only nine times within the past ten to fifteen years.
In his May 1998 catalog of the Thaine Price Collection, Akers writes that a number of 1909-D ten dollar coins that were not previously known to the numismatic community have come on to the market in recent years. He goes on to say that most of these are of minimal Uncirculated quality, with only a few even reaching the Choice level.
Walter Breen, in his 1988 Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, identifies two variants of the D mintmark on the 1909. The first variety has a broad D opposite the arrow points, and parallel with the upright of the T in TEN, as on the current specimen. The second variety has the mintmark below the arrow points. Breen says this was an intentional change in position to give a less cramped effect. According to Breen, the first variety is scarcer in Uncirculated grades than is the second variety.
We feel that it is worthwhile to list recent appearances of the 1909-D eagle in the finer grades of Mint State. Superior offered a PCGS graded MS66 specimen in its May 1992 sale of the Adams, et al collections (lot 2908). The cataloger described this as a "blindingly bright" coin, identified by a small nick on the eagle's left shoulder. Another PCGS graded MS66 appeared in David Akers' May 1998 sale of the Thaine Price Collection (lot 49). This specimen was described as being "sharply struck with superb satiny luster." A few minute marks are noted on the eagle's wing. This coin reappeared as lot 8290 in the Heritage 1999 FUN Sale. Likewise, the previously mentioned Superior coin reappeared as lot 1106 in Goldberg's October 2 and 3, 2000 California Sale. Finally, Stack's offered a Gem Brilliant Uncirculated example in its January 2004 sale of the Michaels Collection (lot 3010). This piece was described as having a "blush of champagne toning" and "only trivial defects under close scrutiny."
The coin we offer in the present lot displays beautiful orange-gold and lime-green patina and fantastic frosty luster. The design elements are sharply struck, with most of the headdress and eagle's feathers being well defined. The surfaces are impeccably preserved on both sides, with just a few miniscule marks concealed within the eagle's left wing and leg. A light grease streak occurs at the rear of the Indian's neck, and several more are noted in the fields beneath IN GOD WE TRUST and E PLURIBUS UNUM. These do not detract in the least, and can be used for pedigree identification. Indeed, these streaks, as well as the light marks on the eagle's wing and left leg, match those on the photos of the specimens in the May 1998 Akers sale of the Price Collection, and the 1999 Heritage FUN Sale, confirming that these are all the same coin. Population: 2 in 67, 0 finer (9/05).
From The Phillip H. Morse Collection of Saint-Gaudens Coinage.(#8863)(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 28GN, PCGS# 8863)
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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
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