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Remarkable 1909 Double Eagle, MS66, Ex: Price
Significant Condition Rarity

1909 $20 MS66 PCGS. Ex: Price. Writing in the catalog of the Dr. Thaine B. Price Collection, David Akers said of this marvelous piece, now certified MS66 by PCGS but at the time unencapsulated or "raw":

"1909, Gem Uncirculated. Very sharply struck with the broad border that is seen on most early With Motto Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles. (It is not quite as broad and uniform as on the 1908 With Motto, however). This piece is very lustrous with superb medium orange gold color as well as a few attractive and distinctive copper spots plus one small dark stain (not carbon) on the obverse near the rim at K-8. There are a few light bagmarks in the fields, but the figure of Liberty and the eagle are very clean. This is an absolutely outstanding 1909 Double Eagle, one of the finest to appear at auction in a number of years. It is also substantially finer than any of the specimens from the hoard of 1909 Double Eagles that have come onto the market in recent years."

Akers' catalog description continues by discussing the relative rarity of the 1909 and 1909/8 issues in relation to a recently released hoard of 1909s into the marketplace:

"Prior to the appearance on the market recently of a substantial number of mint state specimens, the 1909 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle was generally considered to be much more scarce than it is now known to be. Hundreds of specimens have come onto the market over the past few years from one large hoard, and many of these specimens are attractive and fairly high quality, although most of them grade Choice Uncirculated or lower. A moderate number, however, are Very Choice Uncirculated, but I am not aware of any that have graded Gem. As a result, although the 1909 is now readily available in Choice Uncirculated, and only moderately rare in Very Choice Uncirculated, Gems like this one are still at the highest rarity level and among the most difficult to obtain in the series. For some reason, the 1909 has always been overshadowed by the 1909/8, probably just due to the latter's popularity as an overdate. However, it has been my experience that Gems of the 1909 issue are definitely more difficult to locate than Gems of the 1909/8, although both issues can legitimately be considered very rare in Gem Uncirculated condition."

Any such hoards of 1909 double eagles have by now been well-absorbed into the marketplace, and today the certified populations of the overdate and nonoverdate are just about equal. But as Akers intimated, the 1909 double eagle is now coming to the forefront as a major rarity in MS64 or finer, and in MS66, this specimen is among the handful of finest known for the issue, one of seven so certified at PCGS, with none finer (3/10). We must also add that what Akers called "copper spots" we would classify merely as deep, attractive amber-gold toning near the rims--although the small dark planchet crack at 8 o'clock provides positive confirmation that this is in fact the same coin, as does plate-matching.
Ex: Dr. Thaine B. Price Collection (David Akers Numismatics, 5/1998), lot 80, which realized $35,750.
From The Carter Family Collection.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26FC, PCGS# 9150)

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Auction Dates
Apr-May, 2010
28th-2nd Wednesday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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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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