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Enticing Gem 1912-S Eagle

1912-S $10 MS65 NGC. Since we offered the legendary Phillip H. Morse Collection of Saint-Gaudens Coinage late last year, the number of certified Gem specimens of this elusive issue has climbed by a total of ... one coin. The number of Gem pieces at NGC and PCGS combined now stands at 11 pieces, with three coins finer (9/06). Specifically, NGC has certified four Gems, with two coins finer, while PCGS has encapsulated seven MS65 pieces, and only one example finer (9/06). Those figures likely include at least one, if not several, duplications. With a mintage limited to 300,000 pieces--moderate, but certainly not impossibly low by series standards--we must attribute the issue's rarity both to its difficult striking characteristics, as well as to undoubted meltings that would have occurred after the gold recall of 1933.
The Morse Collection contained the only MS66 we have ever had the privilege to offer--the "finest example to cross the auction block in many years," according to the Garrett-Guth gold Encyclopedia--along with a single MS65 piece, both graded by PCGS. Only three other times before the present specimen have we offered an MS65 coin, in the last 13 years of our auction records. The difficulty of the issue is the strike details on Liberty's highpoint hair and the leading edge of the eagle's wing, both of which lack definition on most examples. The present Gem specimen is an enticing exception to that generality, as Liberty's tresses and the eagle's plumage show no significant weakness. Indeed, extensive perusal with a loupe reveals a total lack of strike weakness anywhere on the coin. The surfaces are antique-gold, and the few minuscule abrasions that can be located at all are completely consistent with an MS65 grade. Much luster radiates from the fine-grained, mattelike surfaces. Series specialists--as well as lovers of Augustus Saint-Gaudens' coinage designs, usually considered the pinnacle of U.S. numismatics--would do well to take heed. This fleeting opportunity may not soon repeat itself.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 269G, PCGS# 8872)

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Auction Dates
October, 2006
24th-26th Tuesday-Thursday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
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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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