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Gem Proof 1913 Eagle
Third-Scarcest Proof Indian

1913 $10 PR65 NGC. In the early 20th century the Mint experimented with several proof finishes, particularly on the gold issues of 1907 to 1915. New finishes were also tried on proof copper, nickel, and silver coins, although not to the same extent as gold and none of the experimental silver proofs were sold to the public. Gold proofs from the mid-19th century through the end of the Liberty Head type all featured the same finish, which is undoubtedly the most familiar with collectors today. The devices were heavily frosted and the fields deeply mirrored, which created a stark cameo contrast seen on most Liberty Head gold proofs.
In contrast, none of the new gold designs of the 20th century featured this cameo effect. The first collectible year for Indian Head proof eagles is the 1908, and virtually all of these pieces feature a dark matte finish with deep mustard-gold coloration. Proofs of 1909 and 1910 have the so-called Roman Finish, which is lighter and more satiny than the 1908 proofs. 1911 was a transitional year for proofs and most have a dark matte finish similar to the 1908.
In 1912 and 1913 the Mint used a fine sandblast finish, which Garrett and Guth write (2006) "appears under a microscope as millions of tiny facets." The finish was against adjusted in 1914 and 1915 with a slightly coarser appearance. Although the sandblast proofs are considered by many present-day numismatists to be aesthetically superior, they failed to catch on with contemporary collectors and proof gold production was discontinued entirely in 1915 (and the following year for copper, nickel, and silver proofs).
Consequently, the 1913 ten had a mintage of only 71 pieces, and after the 1910 and 1915 it ranks as the third scarcest proof Indian Head eagle. This specimen boasts original khaki-brown patination across both sides. The strike is razor-sharp, as one would expect from a proof. The eye appeal is exceptional with glints of light from the individual surface facets, especially when examined under a loupe. A few minuscule grade-limiting handling marks are seen in the left obverse field, but the reverse is virtually devoid of any contact. NGC reports only five examples in Gem Proof with 15 specimens finer (10/11).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 28HH, PCGS# 8895)

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Auction Dates
November, 2011
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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