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Description

Superb Gem Proof 1912 Indian Eagle, Among the Finest Known

1912 $10 PR67 PCGS. An exemplary specimen of this proof coinage. From the Indian Head eagle series introduction in 1907, the Mint took elaborate pains to "tweak" the surface textures and appearances of the proofs from one year to the next. The 1907 issue was produced with both a matte proof texture as well as a satin proof finish: A single, clearly special satin proof of that date is listed in the Garrett-Guth gold Encyclopedia. In 1908 perhaps three different finishes were used for proofs, the most common a dark matte surface. Most of the 1909 and 1910 coins were produced with an unusual, much lighter "Roman gold" texture. The Breen Encyclopedia reports that two finishes were used in 1911, both the matte texture of 1908 and a fine, sandblast finish. In 1912 yet another new surface treatment was employed, one that resulted in thousands of tiny, reflective facets on the surfaces of the coin. This piece shows fascinating finely granular surfaces with even brown-gold coloration. The only mark we see on either side of this magnificent coin is a tiny tick in the lower obverse field (magnification will be required).
An analysis of the combined NGC/PCGS population data for the 1912 proof confirms as still true today something that David Akers wrote more than 25 years ago: "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." Looking at the current data, of the 423 proofs certified at NGC and PCGS combined, (excluding the extremely rare 1908 satin proof and 1910 matte proof), the 1912 and 1915 issues are tied for the smallest number of proof specimens graded, with 34 pieces each. But beyond the absolute rarity of the issue as a proof, consider the added conditional rarity: Both services together have certified only 55 proofs of all Indian Head eagles in PR67, exceeded by only seven examples. The present example is one of nine PR67 1912s at both services (five at NGC, four at PCGS), with none finer (10/06).
Photographed on page 67 of Proof Gold Coinage of the United States, by Robert Loewinger, M.D., as a representative of the 1912-1915 Barber-Saint-Gaudens design, with 48 edge stars and the fine sandblast finish.
From The Dr. Robert J. Loewinger Collection.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26YD, PCGS# 8894)

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Auction Dates
January, 2007
3rd-6th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
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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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