Conditionally Rare Premium Gem 1911-S Indian Ten1911-S $10 MS66 PCGS. Ex: Duckor. Between NGC and PCGS, the two services have graded just 10 examples of this issue in MS66, with none finer (11/08). The vast majority (if not all) hail from a single repatriated hoard that dates to the late 1970s. Before that, this issue of just 51,000 pieces was considered virtually unobtainable, and even the appearance of several dozen Mint State examples only whetted collectors' appetites for the coins.
Selections from a story regarding that important hoard, told by numismatist Marc Emory of Heritage Auction Galleries, are taken from The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens (published by Ivy Press in 2006):
"In January 1979, at the Basel (Switzerland) coin show, a dealer approached me who just a few months before had offered me a 1909 $10. He thought that coin was FDC, maybe even a Roman Finish proof. In reality, it was one of the most blatantly awful forgeries imaginable. This same dealer now asked what a Gem Uncirculated 1911-S $10 would be worth. After the incident with the 1909, I was highly suspicious, but said it would be worth upward of $1000. ... He invited me up to his hotel room, and I tried to contain my amazement when he produced two absolutely beautiful Gem specimens with gorgeous light patina.
Later that evening, in the lobby of the hotel, I ran into another dealer from Barcelona, who called me over. Although I rarely went down to Spain, as the export of gold coins from Spain was an incredibly tedious bureaucratic affair in those days, I was known by the Barcelona dealers because I spoke Catalan. ... He explained that there was a group of 30 (!!!) pieces that were being brokered by a coin collector from Barcelona--a man who had business around the world. One thing you learn in the coin business is never say never, so I asked where so many pieces could have come from.
He explained that the American governor of the Philippines had given 50 brand new $10 pieces that were sent from the San Francisco mint to a friend from Spain. As the U.S. had taken the Philippines from Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898, American coins circulated freely in the Philippines then, and many Spaniards had stayed on after their government had ceded control of the islands to the United States. The man had brought them with him when he returned home to Spain, and these coins were now being sold by his grandson. ... By and by, the rest of the coins trickled out, and eventually all 50 pieces reached the American numismatic market. ... That group remains one of the most remarkable finds of my thirty-plus years on the job."
This beautiful Premium Gem offers fresh, coruscating luster and lavender-tinged yellow-orange surfaces that border on pristine. The devices are well struck overall, though a trace of softness appears at Liberty's central hair detail, and the visual appeal of the piece is stunning. An incredible representative that would add considerable cachet to any Registry set of Indian Head gold eagles.
From The Jim O'Neal Collection of Saint-Gaudens Eagles.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 28GV, PCGS# 8870)
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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.
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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