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Seldom-Seen Gem 1915 Double Eagle

1915 $20 MS65 PCGS. Bowers writes of the 1915 double eagle that "as is true for several double eagles in this date range, the Philadelphia Mint issue is more elusive than are those from the branch mints." The millions of collectors who began their numismatic careers filling up "penny boards" with Lincoln cents are generally used to the branch mint issues being scarcer than their P-mint siblings; perhaps that is the reason that many collectors fail to realize the rarity of an issue such as the 1915 Philadelphia double eagle, especially in high grades.
Akers' recent Handbook of 20th century gold goes into more specifics concerning the 1915:

"With respect to both overall rarity and high-grade rarity, the 1915 is very similar to the 1914 and considerably rarer than the 1911. It is not, however, as rare as the 1909 in any grade, nor is it as elusive as the 1913 in in high grades. Most 1915 Double Eagles grade MS-60 to MS-64, although the issue is still scarce even in these grades. Gems are rare, and the 1915 is unknown any finer than MS-65."

This piece is endowed with surfaces that are nearly mark-free and display lovely orange-gold coloration with tinges of greenish-gold. The strike is bold but not full, with minor softness on some of the elements near the periphery, such as portions of the Capitol dome and Liberty's sandal. Brilliant cartwheel luster emanates from both sides. We note a small, undistracting alloy spot between rays 7 and 8 from the left.
This specimen is one of only 36 Gem examples certified at PCGS, along with a single MS65+, and there are none finer at PCGS. Since Akers wrote those words, NGC has certified a single MS66 piece (3/10).(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 26FV, PCGS# 9167)

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Auction Dates
Apr-May, 2010
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 3
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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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