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Description

Rare Gem 1915-S Indian Head Eagle

1915-S $10 MS65 PCGS. The authors of The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse Collection offer these words concerning the rarity of the 1915-S eagle:

"The 1915-S is in the upper echelon of rarity among ten dollar Indian gold pieces. Only 59,000 pieces were struck, and it appears that some attempt was made to actually place this issue in circulation as the majority of known survivors are in AU condition. The absolute and condition rarity of this issue is undisputed by those who are familiar with this difficult series. The 1915-S is comparable in Mint State rarity to the 1913-S and the much wider recognized 1920-S. Fewer than 200 pieces are believed known today in the various grades of Uncirculated. There are less than 40 pieces extant in MS63 condition with another 30 or so in MS64. Probably no more than 10 pieces exist in MS65 and finer conditions."

Further along, the authors--after discussing a couple of other examples that set the current auction records during the 1989 "investor-crazed market"--make another interesting observation concerning a particular Gem coin, the same MS65 grade as the current piece:

"One of the better-known 1915-S tens is a PCGS MS65. While not the highest graded, it has been a part of three of the finest collections of ten Indians ever assembled: Thaine Price, William Thomas Michaels, and John Kutasi. This particular coin has exceptional mint luster and rich yellow-gold color with noticeably granular surfaces, which is unlike the finish seen on many 1915-S tens."

While we have not been able to track the provenance of this piece, we would mention that while it appears to have a noticeable granularity, it is not as heavy as the Gem mentioned in the quote above. We would also mention that this coin has stunning, trouble-free surfaces that lack any obvious dark spots or other mentionable impairments. For pedigree purposes we note a small scrape just below the lowest feather on the Indian's headdress. On the reverse there are a couple of tiny ticks in the right field below CA. This piece indeed appears high-end for the grade, with lovely yellow-orange color and a meticulous strike. Census: 4 in 65, 2 finer (11/08).
See: Video Lot Description(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 28H6, PCGS# 8879)

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Auction Dates
January, 2009
7th-11th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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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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