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Elusive, Lustrous Near-Gem 1913-S Eagle

1913-S $10 MS64 NGC. This elusive issue was formerly the king of the Indian eagle series in Gem condition, but it has lately been dethroned by the 1911-D. OK, let us say queen, rather than king. The Garrett-Guth gold Encyclopedia writes, "The 1913-S eagle was once the undisputed key to the series. Since the advent of certification, however, this premier condition rarity has been nudged out of top place by the 1911-D issue. In terms of absolute rarity, these dates are very similar, but a few more gem 1913-S coins have been certified." That statement is still true today, although in strict MS65 (not including higher coins) condition, both NGC and PCGS have graded only three pieces each of the 1911-D and the 1913-S. But while there are also three 1913-S pieces graded finer--an MS66 at PCGS, and two MS67s at NGC--there are no finer coins than MS65 of the 1911-D at either service. Interestingly, in MS64 grade, that of the present example, those two services have actually graded more examples of the 1911-D than of the 1913-S, 26 pieces to 24.
Our auction records indicate that we have offered 240 examples of the 1913-S since January 1993, and yet only 10 of those pieces graded MS64. The only piece finer is the single astonishing MS67 coin that we offered in 2005. In terms of eye appeal alone, this piece certainly would attain full Gem status, as the surfaces are deeply patinated in rich orange-gold coloration, with beaming luster than is much more intense than usually seen on high grade specimens. The strike is bold, although a touch of softness creeps in on the forward edge of the eagle's wing. A few light abrasions, neither distracting nor prevalent, appear to be the grade-limiting factor. Population: 12 in 64, 3 finer (9/06).
From The Clifton Rodenburg Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 28GZ, PCGS# 8874)

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Auction Dates
October, 2006
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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