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    1907 High Relief Twenty, MS65
    Scarcer Flat Rim Variant

    1907 $20 High Relief, Flat Rim MS65 NGC. Even those who are geniuses in their given field can go just so far with their God-given abilities. At some point in any artist's life, hard work must complement natural ability. Hard work was a lifelong habit for Augustus Saint-Gaudens. When he was in his teens, he worked as a cameo-cutter by day, and attended the Cooper Institute in the evenings. In his Reminiscences, Saint-Gaudens was justifiably proud of the hard work during his youth. In a humorous and somewhat self-effacing quote from his biography, he reflected on his lifetime potential:

    "With such an incentive I became a terrific worker, toiling every night until eleven o'clock after the class was over, in the conviction that in me another heaven-born genius had been given to the world. I can remember thinking in public conveyances, that if the men standing on the platform around me could realize how great a genius was rubbing elbows with them in the quiet-looking boy by their side, they would be profoundly impressed."

    The habits of the "terrific worker" in his youth continued throughout Saint-Gaudens' career, taking on more sculptural commissions than he could complete. This workload required him to establish a French-inspired atelier system that employed numerous workmen of varying degrees of ability. Toward the end of his life, Saint-Gaudens still used this atelier system and it was primarily Henry Hering, the most trusted of this inner group of artists, who ran interference between the Mint and the president to finally complete and strike the High Relief twenties in 1907. Hering and Chief Engraver Charles Barber later modified Saint-Gaudens' design to produce the Arabic Numerals version of the double eagle that was suitable for high-speed coinage and mass production.

    Only 12,367 High Relief double eagles were struck in 1907 and about three quarters of the survivors show a thin fin, or wire rim around the edges of the coin, caused by metal extruding through the narrow gap between the die and collar when the coins were struck. This feature was considered undesirable at the time, and mint personnel worked hard to eliminate it by adjusting the milling and planchet size of the coins. They were successful, and the coins produced later in the year have a flat rim, like the present coin.

    The coin offered here is a delightful Gem, with well-detailed sculptural design elements and vibrant mint luster. The reddish-gold surfaces are free of large or distracting contact marks and eye appeal is quite strong. Census: 85 in 65 (1 in 65+), 91 finer (12/13).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26F2, PCGS# 9136)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2014
    3rd-5th Monday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,247

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse and Steven Duckor Collections
    Revised Edition by Roger Burdette, and edited by James L. Halperin and Mark Van Winkle

    Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles is an issue-by-issue examination of this 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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