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Impressive Gem Proof 1912 Indian Eagle

1912 $10 PR66 NGC. Among proof Indian eagles, several dates have lower mintages than this issue with its production of 83 coins. Among those lower mintage dates are 1909, 1913, 1914, and 1915. Despite the mintage scenario, gold specialist David Akers still considered the 1912 to be the rarest of all these dates. In 1980, Akers commented: "Proofs of this date are extremely rare, and in my opinion, are the rarest of the Indian Head type. The mintage would not indicate this but either the proofs of this year suffered an unusually high attrition rate for some reason, or most of the mintage were melted because the 1912 appears less often in proof than any other Indian Head. I doubt if more than 15-20 can be accounted for today, and only one has appeared at auction in over 25 years." Although his analysis is now a quarter-century old, it appears that the date still remains as one of the rarest. Examination of the combined PCGS and NGC populations for all proof Indian Head eagles from 1908 to 1915, including 415 graded submissions of all dates, indicates that the 1912 and 1915-dated issues are the rarest, with 35 pieces and 34 pieces certified respectively. Close behind is the 1913 proof eagle with just 37 examples certified in all grades.
Upon initial inspection, the surfaces exhibit the typical yellow sheen of all matte proofs of this date, created by countless tiny facets that disperse the light. Magnification clearly shows the nature of this matte or sandblast finish. Walter Breen said this: "Proofs have fine sandblast finish, showing millions of sparkling facets under a magnifier." Of course, this was more of a broad general statement, for we doubt that anyone has or will ever take it upon themselves to try counting these individual sparkling facets. The only blemish to the surfaces that can be seen without magnification is a small tear drop mark in the left reverse field, which we believe to be a planchet defect that was present when this coin was struck, (Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26YD, PCGS# 8894)

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Auction Dates
April, 2006
6th-7th Thursday-Friday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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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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