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1915 Matte PR65 Saint-Gaudens Twenty
Final Year With Sandblast Finish, Series Key

1915 $20 PR65 NGC. The 1915 is the key to the short series of matte and Roman Finish twenties. Its rarity is immediately obvious when one looks at the mintage of 50 pieces, a function of both the value of a twenty dollar gold piece in 1915 and the difficulty of preserving such a coin for 96 years. The most reliable estimate of the number of survivors is 25 to 30 coins, or somewhere around 50% of the mintage. Proofs from 1915 are generally described as having a coarser, "sandpaper-like" finish with larger granules in the matte surface.
High grade examples of the 1915 proof twenty are especially challenging. Most survivors show some tiny blemishes that prevent a grade higher than PR65. PCGS has graded no 1915 proofs higher than PR65. NGC has certified 10 finer, nine as PR66 and a single PR67. This is unlike previous years where high-grade survivors are relatively plentiful, with "relatively plentiful" defined as between 3 and 12 PR67 coins graded with the occasional PR68. There is no reason we know of for the lack of high-grade examples of this issue.
This example has the expected larger-grain matte finish. The color is pale greenish-yellow. The flaws are limited to a couple of shallow contact marks on the bent knee of Liberty -- so shallow that the sandblast surface was undisturbed -- and there is none of the shininess often seen when contact marks appear on matte proofs. There are several interesting brownish alloy spots around the rims. This is a trait we have noticed on other 1915 proof Saints. On this piece, the most noticeable ones and the ones that could be used for pedigree purposes, are on the reverse rim at 4 and 7 o'clock with another small one at the bottom of the N of IN. It is only at a major auction such as this one that such a prime rarity will be available.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26H4, PCGS# 9212)

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Auction Dates
August, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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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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