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    Gem MCMVII High Relief Twenty, Wire Rim

    1907 $20 High Relief, Wire Rim MS65 NGC. This is an issue that members of the collecting public never tire of, nor should they. While the High Relief coins are not rare in the strictest sense, they are simply beautiful, and for many--perhaps most--collectors, that is enough. That beauty is expressed in a timeless, classic elegance that no other U.S. coin conveys in quite the same way. As a testament to the undying artistry of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the U.S. Mint in 2009 resurrected his design to offer a reduced-size, extra-thick version of the original 1907 Ultra High Relief coins, patterns which were issued in minuscule quantities (perhaps 16 to 22 coins). To quote from the Mint website, www.usmint.gov:

    "This [2009-dated] one-ounce, 24-karat gold coin is a triumph in coin design representing the culmination--more than a century in the making--of a partnership between a renowned artist, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and a visionary leader, President Theodore Roosevelt. The coin is a digitally reproduced version of Saint-Gaudens' original ultra high relief 1907 Double Eagle gold piece, which was never released into circulation.

    "On the coin's obverse, Saint-Gaudens shows Liberty, personified by a statuesque woman striding powerfully forward. A young eagle flying during a sunrise is depicted on the reverse. The original 1907 Double Eagle is considered by many the most beautiful coin ever made in the United States. But despite Saint-Gaudens' artistic masterpiece, the minting process at the time did not allow for the mass production of ultra high relief coins, and Saint-Gaudens' artistic vision was never fully realized."

    Despite the "digital mapping" and other technologies now available at the Mint, the present cataloger and many others cannot help but feel disappointment over the smaller size of the new coins, although they have many other charms. It appears equally true today, as in 1907, that production of a large-size Ultra High Relief in any kind of production quantities would and will remain an unfulfilled dream. Many collectors will certainly opt for both coins, but the 1907 High Reliefs for many numismatists remain the gold standard for collectible examples of "the Saint's" artistry.
    The present Gem specimen has silky, satiny surfaces that are absent the usual heavy reddish patina. The coin is primarily light green-gold throughout. There are faint, swirling die polish lines in the fields, a feature often seen on the issue. Strong magnification is needed to discern any contact marks or tiny planchet flakes, none of which are worthy of singular mention.
    From The Frank M. Stirling Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26F2, PCGS# 9135)

    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 [The Frank M. Stirling Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2009
    28th-31st Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,266

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    15% of the successful bid (minimum $9) 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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