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Description

NGC 1908 PR 66. There were 101 proofs struck of this large denomination gold coin in 1908. All have the motto on the reverse, a result of Congressional support of the mention of the deity on the nation's larger coins. This action was taken after President Roosevelt eliminated the motto from the newly designed coins of 1907. Roosevelt was a devoutly religious man, and did not think it proper for the name of the deity appear on coinage where it could be ridiculed by the ungodly. Of the 101 proofs struck, there were two varieties of matte finish used, a lighter finish (only 3 known) and the darker finish (the type usually seen). This piece is the darker variety and its surfaces very closely resemble the lower denomination coins from this year with their coarse grain finish. Even though the surfaces are deeper in hue than seen on other years, there is, nevertheless, a considerable sparkle of the sandblast surface that is visible when closely examined.
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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Auction Dates
Jul-Aug, 1994
30th-2nd Saturday-Tuesday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 193
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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