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1907 High Relief Twenty, Gem Proof 65 NGC

1907 $20 High Relief PR65 NGC. Augustus Saint-Gaudens first came to Theodore Roosevelt's attention when he designed the President's inaugural medal. The driving force behind the wholesale coinage redesign of the early 20th century, Roosevelt solicited the New Hampshire artist to prepare new designs for the Eagle and Double Eagle. Saint-Gaudens chose to portray a standing representation of Liberty on the obverse of the Double Eagle, and a majestic flying eagle was selected for the reverse. The first coins produced with this design were the 24 Ultra High Relief patterns that the Philadelphia Mint produced in early 1907. Despite the awesome beauty of these coins, the mint realized that this initial design was too difficult and costly to produce in business strike format. Sadly, Saint-Gaudens died on August 3 before he could help the mint's staff lower the relief of his Double Eagle coin. The requisite work was carried out by Saint-Gaudens' assistant, Henry Hering, and the mint produced 11,250 High Relief Twenties for circulation in the last two months of 1907.
Unbeknownst to novice collectors, the mint also struck an unknown, but very limited number of proof High Relief Double Eagles for presentation purposes. These coins display a satin finish, and two die varieties are known. Each of these die pairs was also coupled with a distinct collar. This particular coin does not display a small spine from the L in LIBERTY, and, as such, we assume that it was struck from the collar that displays uneven bases on the M in UNUM. (Of course, the NGC holder precludes confirmation of this.) This is Breen variety 2-D, Collar II.
An impressive coin in all regards, both sides are remarkably hairline-free. There are numerous die striations in the fields, but we stress that this feature is diagnostic of this issue. Both sides display a warm, honey-gold sheen that accents the uncommonly sharp striking detail. For pedigree purposes, we mention a couple of contact marks in the reverse field above the sun and below the eagle's leg.(#9132) (NGC ID# 28AX, PCGS# 9132)

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Auction Dates
March, 2005
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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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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