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Delectable Matte PR66 1908 With Motto Eagle

1908 $10 Motto PR66 PCGS. The 1907 No Motto eagles released into circulation reflected President Theodore Roosevelt's personal conviction that the name of the Deity should not appear on coinage. Those first eagles entering the channels of commerce were Mint Engraver Charles Barber's reworking of sculptor-designer Augustus Saint-Gaudens' original design concept. However, the Mint Act of 1865 mandated that the motto IN GOD WE TRUST should appear on all larger coins, and Congress insisted upon it. Acceding to the majority rule (and knowing where his bread was buttered), Roosevelt accordingly had the motto added to the 1908 eagles and double eagles. Other minor design tweaks were made, including making the first U in UNUM more prominent. Proofs of this year are apparently found in three different finishes: a dark-olive matte proof finish; a "Roman gold" finish with a light yellow satiny semibrilliant surface; and a satin finish. The Garrett-Guth Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795-1933 notes that "The finish most commonly seen is a dark matte Proof finish, and of the 116 coins struck, this represents virtually all known examples. As a date, this is the most commonly available of the Proof issues."
This piece is definitely one of the dark-olive proofs. The surfaces are virtually flawless on the obverse. The only "defects" on the reverse are a series of light, diagonal specks of green (the origin of which we really cannot determine or even speculate about), and two tiny marks on the upper part of the eagle's wing.
The current online NGC Census Report enumerates two satin finish proofs, both graded PR64, alongside 64 survivors with the matte finish, ranging from PR62 to PR68. PCGS's online Population Report also lists two satin finish proofs, both graded PR64, along with 34 matte proofs. The present specimen, graded PR66 by PCGS, is one of seven so graded, with none finer (11/06). Both of those population totals for matte proofs include the inevitable resubmissions. As the most available proof issue in the finest obtainable grade, this wonderful coin would make an ideal acquisition for a high grade type set.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 2AME, PCGS# 8890)

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Auction Dates
January, 2007
3rd-6th Wednesday-Saturday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 3
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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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