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1920-S Indian Ten, MS63
Rare 20th Century Gold Issue
Most Elusive Indian Eagle in Mint State

1920-S $10 MS63 NGC. The 1920-S Indian ten dollar gold piece claims a nominal mintage of 126,500 pieces, but the issue is much more difficult to locate than that total would suggest. Most of the mintage was stored in banks and Treasury vaults, with just a few examples released into circulation near the time of issue. After the Gold Recall of 1933, virtually all of these coins were turned in and melted, to be stored as gold bars in the Federal Bullion Repository at Fort Knox. Today, the 1920-S is one of the rarest issues of the series in absolute terms, and the rarest in Mint State condition. A few extremely high quality coins have survived, but most examples seen are in the MS60-MS64 grade range, like the present coin. David Akers estimated 25-40 coins are extant in Mint State grades, with NGC and PCGS combining to certify 75 examples in all grades between them (2/14). The population figures undoubtedly contain some resubmissions and crossovers.

B. Max Mehl described a typical example of the 1920-S in lot 717 of the Dr. Charles W. Green Collection, which he sold on April 26, 1949:

"1920 Originally purchased as uncirculated, and I believe that the coin has never been in circulation, but it has minute nicks on obverse which are, undoubtedly, due to having been handled with other coins. These very slight defects are mentioned for the sake of accuracy, but hardly affect the appearance of the coin as they are hardly noticeable. The second-rarest $10.00 gold piece of this Mint. Record $250.00 and certainly worth it. I bespeak for this coin a very bright future. Some day it will be rated and valued among our real rarities."

The lot realized $265, a new record at the time. Mehl's prediction for the bright future of this issue would prove correct. Recent auction appearances include the sale of the finest known MS67 PCGS example from the Dr. and Mrs. Steven Duckor Collection, which realized $1,725,000 when it sold at a Heritage auction in 2007.

The present coin is an attractive Select example, with vivid orange-gold surfaces that show some reddish highlights. This example is well-detailed, but shows the touch of softness always seen on the hair around the ears and the eagle's leg. Like the coin in Mehl's description, this piece shows a few minor contact marks on both sides, but none merit individual mention. Vibrant mint luster adds to the outstanding eye appeal. Census: 5 in 63, 8 finer (2/14).
From the Collection of Donald E. Bently, sold for the benefit of the Bently Foundation.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 28H8, PCGS# 8881)

Service and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
March, 2014
20th Thursday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 516

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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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