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    Superb Gem Flat Rim MCMVII Twenty

    1907 $20 High Relief, Flat Rim MS67 NGC. Numismatists are familiar with Augustus Saint-Gaudens' eagle and double eagle, but his oeuvre included statues, bas-reliefs, medallions, cameos, and works in other media. As a teenager he began his career with an apprenticeship to a cameo-cutter before he left for Paris in 1867. Although he was able to sell cameos in New York City, by his own account he was less successful in Paris, where other artists were more skillful. Saint-Gaudens would soon create works on a grander scale, but his experience with cameo-cutting would come in handy when he was commissioned to design medals and, later, coins.
    It is impossible to say which of Saint-Gaudens' many works was the most important, but certainly his statue of General William Tecumseh Sherman is one of the most lauded, and the figure of Victory (Nike) in the monument would later be used as a model for the double eagle. This statue also brought Saint-Gaudens into contact with Roosevelt, who was vice president at the time, and their collaboration would later result in the beginning of the American coinage renaissance.
    Saint-Gaudens wanted his statue of Sherman to be positioned near Grant's Tomb, which was completed in 1897, for artistic and historical reasons. Roger Burdette (2006) writes, "After a chance meeting on a train returning from the Buffalo Exhibition in May 1901, he sought the intervention of vice-president Theodore Roosevelt in an attempt to secure his preferred location of the statue."
    Although Roosevelt was unsuccessful and the statue was placed at the southeastern corner of New York's Central Park, he did not forget his encounter with Saint-Gaudens. Less than four years later, Roosevelt would ask Saint-Gaudens to redesign some of the country's coins. The coins were Saint-Gaudens' final project, and the 1907 High Relief double eagle was the fitting capstone to the artist's distinguished career.
    The physical perfection of this coin makes one realize why Theodore Roosevelt was so proud of these pieces and why he used them for presentation purposes. The surfaces are essentially perfect. We just do not see any flaws on either side--they may exist--we simply do not see them. The bright yellow-golden surfaces display radiant mint luster, and the striking details are complete throughout (note the separation of the letters at the top of the reverse from the rim). Few collectors will ever own a High Relief. Even fewer will ever see, much less own an example such as this one. For the Flat Rim variety, Census: 16 in 67, 3 finer (6/10).(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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2010
    11th-15th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 22
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 830

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    15% 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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    The pre-sale publicity was more than I imagined, and the actual catalog better than I had expected - and my expectations were high!
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