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Impressive Gem Matte Proof 1908 With Motto Ten

1908 PR 65 NGC. Ex: Trompeter. In addition to being the first year the Mint employed the matte proofing process for gold coins, 1908 was also the first year the inspired Saint-Gaudens' design for the ten dollar gold piece was officially produced in the proof format. When first struck the previous year and in the first half of 1908, ten and twenty-dollar gold pieces lacked the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. This was omitted as President Roosevelt, who wished to make a break with many traditions of the past, believed that including the motto had only provided fodder for punsters who used the motto as a source for colloquial humor such as "In God We Trust; All Others Pay Cash." Roosevelt was a deeply religious man and ordered the motto removed. Congress, however, had to bow to public demands to include the motto, and in the latter half of 1908 it was added again to ten and twenty dollar gold coins and all proof tens of 1908 display the motto.
There were 116 proofs struck in this year, most of which show a deep coloration, somewhere between a khaki and olive color. This piece, however, is part of a small minority of lighter colored ones. It is widely recognized that the 1908 is the most "common" date among the series of matte proof ten Indians. However, the number extant is not as large as one might at first believe. Not only did attrition take a heavy toll on this date, but the widespread distribution among non-collectors caused many of the surviving proofs to be impaired, showing nicks, scratches, or shiny spots. Traditional sources state that somewhere between two and three dozen pieces exist today. However, we believe a larger number are extant, somewhere in the range of 40-55 coins.
This is a near-flawless rendering of Saint-Gaudens' design. The surfaces have a light matte finish (even on the edge as on the 1911-15 coins), and have a minutely granular finish, unlike the distinctive coarse grain matte finish usually seen on 1908 proof gold. The coin is separated from perfection by three minute pin marks on the upper wing, visible only under a glass and then only at certain angles. This is a beautiful coin in every respect and one of the finer examples certified with 10 pieces graded as gems by NGC (7/98) and another 6 finer. An extraordinary and important matte proof gold coin. (NGC ID# 2AME, PCGS# 8890)

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Auction Dates
September, 1998
26th-29th Saturday-Tuesday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 0
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 301
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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