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1912 Saint-Gaudens Twenty, PR67
Finest Certified at PCGS
Must-Have Registry Set Candidate

1912 $20 PR67 PCGS Secure. CAC. Only 74 proof Saint-Gaudens double eagles were struck in 1912, and this date is roughly comparable in rarity to the 1911 and the other dates of the series (except for the 1908, which is the most "common"). Earlier estimates of the number of survivors have ranged between 10-15 pieces to as many as 20-25 specimens. We believe the actual number of proofs in all grades is somewhat higher, between 40 and 50 coins.

The finish of this piece shows nearly monochromatic mustard coloration over both sides, though close inspection reveals occasional hints of olive-gold. Magnification shows myriad tiny sparkling facets from the sandblast surfaces. This sparkle gives the coin a "life" and sheen that serves as a perfect counterbalance to the otherwise deep coloration on the piece. Unfortunately, this "sandblast" finish proved as unpopular with collectors as the matte and Roman finishes of earlier years. The design was modified slightly in 1912, adding two stars to the obverse array to signify the admission of Arizona and New Mexico to the Union.

Despite the lack of enthusiasm most contemporary collectors showed for the proof issues of this period, a few numismatists like Virgil Brand and John H. Clapp continued to order proofs from the Mint on a regular basis. One such numismatist was William Forrester Dunham, whose collection featured an unbroken run of proof twenties from 1885 until 1914. When his collection was sold by B. Max Mehl in June 1941, the 1912 proof Saint was described in lot 2359:

"1912 Sandblast proof. Rare. For some reason this date seems to be more scarce and difficult to obtain than any of the other dates of this series."

Present-day numismatists believe the later issues of the series are even rarer than the 1912, but Mehl's comments may have been true in 1941, before the coins in the great collections of Louis Eliasberg, Colonel E.H.R. Green, and Virgil Brand came on the market. The 1912 remains quite rare, in any case.

The present coin is a magnificent Superb Gem, with fully struck devices and a wire rim around both sides. Close inspection with a loupe reveals no mentionable distractions on the unblemished fields. This is the only specimen graded MS67 by PCGS, and its added CAC endorsement makes this piece even more desirable. This is the first time a Superb Gem from PCGS has been offered at public auction. Registry Set enthusiasts should bid accordingly. Population: 1 in 67, 0 finer (7/13).(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26GZ, PCGS# 9209)

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
August, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 1,647

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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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