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1907 Arabic Numerals Twenty, Small Edge Letters, PR68 PCGS

1907 $20 Small Edge Lettering PR68 PCGS. Technically a pattern, but unrecognized as such to date, the Small and Large Edge Arabic Numerals twenties are experimental coins that were struck in very limited numbers (only three Small Letters are known). Contrary to popular belief, it appears that the lowered relief Small Edge Letter proof twenty was actually struck before the unique Large Edge Letter proof. We base this opinion on direct observation of the two coins. The Small Letters proof shows less definition, as evident on the Capitol building and the eagle's belly, indicating mint personnel really did not know how much striking pressure to use to fully bring up lowered relief coins. Second, and even more convincingly, the Small Edge Letters coin lacks any trace of die polishing on the rim at 9 o'clock. This is quite pronounced on the Large Edge Letters piece. This indicates that mint personnel polished the rim of the Large Letters coin before striking. With a maximum number of four pieces of both Small and Large Letters proofs produced, die polishing would certainly be evident on each coin struck after the polishing was done; ergo, the coin with no polishing was the first struck. The Small Edge lettering (a.k.a. Die Collar II) is distinguished by the motto on the edge reading: * * * * * * * E I P L U R I B U S * I U N U M * * * * * I. On this particular coin the distinctive arrangement of the Small Letters is noticeable and the * I UNUM is actually viewable through the PCGS encasement.
Only three Small Edge Letter proofs are believed known. Each is pedigreed in Breen's 1988 Encyclopedia, but we do not know which of the three this piece represents as all three appearances at auction or private sale are from the 1950s. That being said, this is the only Small Edge Letters coin that has been certified in any grade by either PCGS or NGC. This may be significant as there may be fewer than three proofs known--it has often happened that pedigrees were confused over a period of 40 or more years and more coins were listed for certain issues than were actually extant.
Like the Large Edge Letters coin below, the surfaces on this piece are bright, especially when compared to the finish seen on the matte proofs from 1908. The finish on this coin is a curious hybrid of brightness that resembles a "Roman Gold" coin from 1909 or 1910, with a fine-grain matte finish as seen on other 1908 and 1911-1915 proof twenties. Lovely satiny mint luster rolls around the surfaces and is unimpeded by even the tiniest imperfections. Close examination with a loupe failed to reveal any flaws on this magnificent coin. The basic yellow-gold coloration of the piece is overlaid by a subtle orange patina that gives the coin even more eye appeal. Only the most important and specialized collections of twenties have included examples of the Small and Large Letters Arabic Numerals twenties. To our knowledge, the only two collections to have contained both examples were those of Ed Trompeter and Phillip Morse.
Ex: Ed Trompeter Collection; Heritage private sale, 1999.
From The Phillip H. Morse Collection of Saint-Gaudens Coinage.(#9198)(Registry values: P10) (NGC ID# 26GT, PCGS# 9198)

View all of [The Morse Collection: Palm Beach, November 3, 2005 ]

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Auction Dates
November, 2005
3rd Thursday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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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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