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Gem Proof 1910 Eagle, Second-Rarest
Among the Type Two Issues

1910 $10 PR65 NGC. The production figure for the proof 1910 eagles is given as 204 pieces, by far the largest of the Type Two (With Motto) issues. The figure nonetheless seems anomalous, considerably out of context with the remainder of the series. The current thinking, as espoused equally by Mike Fuljenz (2010) and Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth (2006) in their respective references, is that the first-year 1908 is the commonest proof Indian eagle, with the 1911 in second place -- at least in high grades.
Garrett and Guth opine concerning the 1910 proof eagles:

"Although the mintage climbed substantially for Proofs in 1910, as compared with 1909, few of these coins were saved in gem grades. In fact, the 1910 issue rates as the second-rarest date of the eight Proof dates that are generally available to collectors, with a total of just 24 coins having been graded PF-65 or finer. This is really splitting hairs though, as all the Proofs from 1909 to 1915 are represented in PF-65 or finer by 22 to 34 coins, except for the 1908 issue which boasts 57 examples in PF-65 or higher."

While the population data have changed since the words above were written -- resubmissions in most instances -- the relative rarity rankings have not. The 1910 eagle in Gem condition has two coins certified at NGC including the present piece, with 11 finer, while PCGS has graded five submissions in PR65, with a mere two pieces finer. It appears likely that quite a few pieces made at the Mint were melted as unsold at the end of the production run. It also appears that some of the survivors were indifferently cared for, given the relative paucity of Gem-or-finer examples.
Almost all of the 1909- and 1910-dated proofs were produced with what we today call the "Roman gold" finish, although Garrett and Guth note a single "unique" known 1910 matte proof gold set. The devices are boldly rendered on both sides of this lovely Gem proof, which displays satin luster over brilliant yellow surfaces. Traces of light blue add to the eye appeal. A minuscule obverse rim disturbance at 8 o'clock is easily overlooked. This amazing Indian eagle will grace the finest collection of proof gold coins. Census: 2 in 65, 11 finer (2/11).
From The B & D Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 28HG, PCGS# 8892)

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Auction Dates
Apr-May, 2011
27th-1st Wednesday-Sunday
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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