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Premium Gem Proof 'Satin Finish' 1909 Double Eagle

1909 $20 PR66 NGC. Collectors showed disappointment over the dark matte proof finishes on most proof gold of 1908, including double eagles, and orders plummeted the following year, in 1909. Even without an unpopular finish on the premiere Saint-Gaudens proof double eagles, sales would likely have nosedived the following year anyway. The history of American numismatics is rife with example after example of a new coin design that saw large proof mintages, only to dwindle substantially to fractions thereof in the ensuing years.
At any rate, only 67 proof double eagles were officially struck in 1909. Interestingly, no proofs are known of the overdate 1909/8 error, even though its die was produced by dual impressions from 1908- and 1909-dated hubs.
All of the proof double eagles of 1909, of course, were of the new, brighter Roman Finish, also called Satin Finish. In 1981 David Akers estimated that no more than 20-25 pieces were known. However, we believe the number of survivors is somewhat higher--based on the numbers of certified specimens with a reasonable estimate for crossovers and duplications--with somewhere between 30 and 40 proofs extant today, or perhaps half of the original mintage remaining. This is a magnificent proof striking that shows no obvious "shiny spots." Outstanding striking details are evident on each side, as only seen on proofs. The surfaces display an intermingling of subtle orange-gold with pale lilac. Essentially perfect surfaces, and a significant offering of this two-year proof gold subtype. Census: 8 in 66, 6 finer (11/07).(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26GW, PCGS# 9206)

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Auction Dates
January, 2008
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 4
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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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