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    Elusive MCMVII High Relief, Flat Rim, MS66

    1907 $20 High Relief, Flat Rim MS66 PCGS. The Wire Rim/Flat Rim dichotomy is one that is somewhat overdone today. Collectors who are inexpert in the issue are often surprised to learn that the so-called Wire Rim pieces often show considerable flatness around the rim in places, and the so-called Flat Rim pieces usually show some evidence of a wire rim. Although officials at the time these issues were produced, most notably Mint Director Frank Leach and Treasury Secretary George Cortelyou, viewed the "burrs" or "fins" on the edge as a defect, collectors today prize both varieties, even if there is often no clear point of discontinuity from one to the other. In the aggregate, of course, the Wire Rim pieces will show more of the diagnostic than the Flat Rim coins.
    Even a cursory glance at the PCGS and NGC population figures, however, will tell one that the Flat Rim pieces are many times more elusive than the Wire Rim coins, but the proportion of Wire Rims to Flat Rims decreases in the upper Mint State levels. For example, in MS63 PCGS has certified 905 Wire Rims versus 102 Flat Rims, a 9:1 margin. But in MS66, the grade of the present coin, PCGS has certified 63 Wire Rim pieces, with 20 finer, versus 36 Flat Rims, with seven finer--only a 7:4 margin (6/08).
    This is not really so surprising a statistical conclusion when one realizes, the nicer a High Relief is, the better the odds are that it is a Flat Rim coin. After Director Leach wrote his first scathing note to Mint production personnel about being "humiliated" in front of Secretary Cortelyou over the wire rims, he directed that "in the execution of this work I would suggest that the operators be instructed to work with extreme care so as to prevent the excessive burrs on the edges of the coin, and that they attempt to turn out no more work daily than can be well done." The subsequent Flat Rims were produced in lower numbers, with greater care and likely a lower daily production rate.
    While this piece is termed a Flat Rim, it predictably has a trace of a wire rim on each side. The surfaces show rich, satiny luster, and the striking details are fully detailed throughout. As one would expect from a coin in such a superior grade, there are no obvious or mentionable marks on either side.
    From The Pierson MacDonald Grieve Collection.(Registry values: N10218) (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.

    View all of [Pierson MacDonald Grieve Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Jul-Aug, 2008
    30th-3rd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,087

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    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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