While it would be a gross misnomer to label the 1908 proof twenty a common coin, it is true that it is the date most frequently encountered among the eight issues in this very rare series. Green (1936) notes that an unknown number of proofs were melted in the mint as unsold on January 2, 1909. Published estimates of the number of survivors of this issue range from as few as 15 to 25 (Bowers) to as many as 30 to 35 (Akers). We believe the number to be even larger and estimate that there are between 45 and 60 pieces in all grades known today.
This is an impressive example of this important date, the first issue struck with the matte finish in this large format. The only surface flaws we can detect are a few small shiny spots on the highpoints of the obverse: on the nose of Liberty, breasts, knee, and toes. Still, these do not detract significantly from the overall impact of this impressive coin which stands as tied as the finest example certified by either of the major grading services as of April, being tied with two other NGC pieces. (NGC ID# 26GV, PCGS# 9205)
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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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