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Exceptional Gem 'Roman Gold' Proof Double Eagle

1910 $20 PR65 NGC. The year 1910 represents the second year the Mint tried to placate collectors of the day with its modified matte proofing process. The first year of production was 1908 and it was roundly criticized by gold collectors. In 1909, the Mint modified the process and continued it through 1910. The difference was profound. The proofs produced in these two years were still struck on special planchets and also struck multiple times on a medal press, but they did not receive any post-striking treatment, i.e., sandblasting. The result for collectors of the day was confusion. Many were unable to tell the difference in a Roman Gold proof and a fully struck business strike. Many were spent, others were mixed in by collectors of a later generations with regular issue coins. The surfaces of proof coins struck during these years are bright and Breen described it as "midway between satiny and mirrorlike."
This particular coin has just such a finish as described by Breen, and of course, no trace of sandblasting. Every nuance of the design is fully developed on each side and there are no distracting contact marks present. However, for the sake of identification, there are a couple of copper-colored alloy spots in the center of the reverse. The official mintage for the 1910 proof was 167 pieces, but this number is suspiciously large. From the number of survivors, one has to conclude that either the original mintage was incorrect, or quite a substantial number were melted at year's end as unsold. Only 30 to 45 pieces are believed known today with probably no more than 20 different coins that are certified finer than this Gem.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GX, PCGS# 9207)

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Auction Dates
April, 2006
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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