Radiant Premium Gem 1926 Eagle1926 $10 MS66 PCGS. Among explanations of the availability of the 1926 eagle, the opening paragraph of the issue's entry in The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse Collection is a nonpareil:
"The 1926 ten dollar had a mintage of more than a million coins, and unlike many other ten Indians, it does not appear to have been extensively melted. Rather, many thousands were apparently shipped overseas in the late 1920s and 1930s to French and Swiss banks. Old hoards of this date have been available to collectors for at least 50 years. While this is a sure indicator of commonness when compared to other issues in the series, it also is good news for the collector as it increases the pool of available coins of this challenging design type."
While the presence of an MS66 piece in this "common" slot may seem unusual for this stellar collection, given the number of Superb Gem examples that represent other issues, there is no such option for even the wealthiest aficionado. Paradoxically for an issue so heavily minted and saved, the 1926 is unavailable at the MS67 level and a condition rarity even in Premium Gem, with just eight coins in the latter grade certified by PCGS (11/08). The repatriation process was not kind to the 1926. In his A Handbook of United States Gold Coins, David Akers writes that "Many specimens exhibit unsightly surface 'cuts' that seem considerably worse than one would normally expect as bagmarks. Is there an explanation for this?"
The sentiment is echoed by Garrett and Guth in their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins: "Despite the large mintage and general attractive nature of this date, most show more handling marks than seen on previous issues." No such troubles affect this gorgeous Premium Gem, which shows only a handful of luster grazes and other such trivial faults. The strike is exquisite, and the amber-gold and sun-yellow surfaces teem with luster. A powerfully appealing piece that would be a credit to any collection.
From The Jim O'Neal Collection of Saint-Gaudens Eagles.(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 28H9, PCGS# 8882)
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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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