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Description

Gem 1908-S Twenty Dollar
Among the Finest Known at NGC

1908-S $20 MS65 NGC. The usual narrative for most of the rare mintmarked Saint-Gaudens double eagle issues from later in the series is one of high mintage -- coupled with limited distribution, in many cases -- and subsequent high meltage after the Gold Recall of 1933. The story for the 1908-S, however, is one of genuinely low mintage, even though most examples of the 22,000 pieces struck appear to have been released, based on the condition curve of the surviving pieces. The minuscule production places the 1908-S as the lowest among regular issues of the Saint-Gaudens, With Motto subtype. Bowers estimates that from 1,200 to 1,800 examples exist today in circulated and Mint State grades combined, for "raw" and certified pieces. That figure is consistent, or possibly an overestimate, based on certified totals at NGC and PCGS combined, 933 coins with a certainty of duplications.
The average certified survivor at NGC and PCGS -- presumably the top end of the entire population -- is around AU55, although certified examples range all the way from a single Fine specimen (at PCGS) up through a handful of coins in MS66 and MS67.
The present Gem is exceptional, as the issue is considered very rare in MS65 or finer; despite the wider availability of examples in the lower Mint State grades, the survivors thin out sharply above MS64. This piece offers sharp striking details overall, as usual on this well-produced issue. Vibrant luster appears throughout, with attractive greenish-gold surfaces. A few minor handling marks near the obverse rays explain the grade but are the only discernible blemishes. Census: 8 in 65, 5 finer (11/12).
Ex: Summer FUN Signature (Heritage, 7/2010), lot 4946.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26FA, PCGS# 9149)

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Auction Dates
January, 2013
9th-14th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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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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