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Exquisite 1908 Ten Dollar
Superb Gem Matte Proof

1908 $10 Motto PR67 NGC. With approximately 50 pieces believed extant in all grades, the 1908 proof ten is undeniably rare. Few collectors will have the opportunity to see an example, let alone possess one. Those fortunate enough to consider ownership of this first-year Indian eagle proof issue will have to accept a slightly impaired example or wait years between auction appearances to acquire a Superb Gem proof such as the current coin. In fact, Heritage has auctioned a mere four examples at this lofty grade level during the past 15 years.
To understand why less than half of the original mintage of 116 proof 1908 tens have survived, one must consider a few factors. Being a new issue, some of the 1908 proof Saint-Gaudens coins were acquired by non-collectors and were likely treated as souvenirs as opposed to numismatic works of art. The ensuing two decades witnessed troubling financial times and the matte proof coins would have looked like the circulating coins of the same design to the average citizen, thus it is likely that some were circulated. Even contemporary collectors were not pleased with the concept of sandblasted proof gold as they were accustomed to the brilliant proof coinage of the previous five decades. And, since the premium paid for the early Saint-Gaudens proof coins was five cents over face value, the incentive to carefully preserve these pieces was apparently shared by only a few astute collectors. Breen (1988) stated that of the 25 or more 1908 proof tens that he examined, nearly half showed "nicks or shiny spots from careless handling."
The current example is an exceptional survivor, displaying seemingly flawless surfaces and a bold strike, as one would expect with the assigned grade. The coloration is characteristic of early matte proof gold; a blend of khaki and olive. A stunning piece to behold! Census: 10 in 67, 2 finer (5/08).(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 2AME, PCGS# 8890)

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Auction Dates
June, 2008
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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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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