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Exceptional 1911 Saint-Gaudens Twenty
1911 $20 PR67 NGC. Because the curved surfaces of the new
Saint-Gaudens gold coins were unsuitable for the traditional
brightly mirrored proof effect, the Mint experimented with several
European techniques for the proof coins of the early 20th century.
The sandblast, or matte, proof style was first used on the double
eagle proofs of 1908, but that innovation proved to be unpopular
with collectors of the era, who did not appreciate the artistic,
Old World style of the coins. The Mint attempted to placate
collectors by introducing a modified style, called the Roman or
Satin finish in 1909 and 1910, but numismatists found that finish
equally unacceptable. A return to the matte proof finish was
mandated in 1911, and an even 100 proofs were minted.
Superb Gem Matte Proof
An unknown quantity of proof 1911 double eagles were distributed, but the total must have been small, based on the number of survivors seen today. Writing in 1977, Walter Breen estimated less than 20 examples were extant, while David Akers postulated a range of 20-25 specimens in 1982. In light of recent population data, a range of 40-50 coins recognizable as proofs seems more reasonable today.
The present coin is a spectacular specimen, with virtually perfect surfaces. Even under magnification, no contact marks or shiny spots are visible. Characteristic bright, sparkling facets of granularity are apparent, with several tiny, widely scattered darker brown specks that appear to be from the alloy. The strike is all one could ask for, with all the majestic design elements portrayed in full detail. The connoisseur cannot help but appreciate the refined beauty of this magnificent coin. Census: 12 in 67, 5 finer (6/09).(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26GY, PCGS# 9208)
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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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