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    Incredible MS67 1907 High Relief Twenty
    Wire Rim, Ex: Morse

    1907 $20 High Relief, Wire Rim MS67 NGC. Augustus Saint-Gaudens was the undisputed master of American sculpture at the time he was commissioned to redesign the eagle and double eagle. When Saint-Gaudens became a cameo cutter in New York City at age 13, American art was dominated by portrait painting. Paris was the center of the art world, and Saint-Gaudens studied there from 1867 to 1875. On his return to the United States, he found the country in the midst of what Mark Twain called the "Gilded Age," and art was an essential part of the culture.
    Saint-Gaudens did not just participate in this artistic movement, but he became a guiding force for American artists. He introduced the country to the French ideals and, according to art historian Henry J. Duffy, "his works engaged the audience in a more immediate way than any other American sculpture at the time." Many of Saint-Gaudens' sculptures and friezes were placed in public areas, such as parks and museums, where thousands of people could interact with them. However, perhaps none of his other works affected as many people on a daily basis as his ten and twenty dollar coins.
    Saint-Gaudens was a revolutionary not only in sculpture, but in coinage. Most Americans were concerned about the value of their coins, not the appearance. Theodore Roosevelt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens thought that while a coin was an instrument of commerce, it could also be a work of art. This notion resulted in the redesign of American coins by some of the country's leading artists. Saint-Gaudens' extraordinary 1907 High Relief double eagle represents the pinnacle of this coinage renaissance.
    This extraordinary High Relief previously appeared in our auction of the Phillip H. Morse Collection. The following is an updated version of the description as it appeared in that landmark offering from 2005:

    "The 1907 High Relief Wire Rim twenty dollar, according to the Census reports, is readily available in Mint State grades through MS64. It becomes considerably scarcer in Gem and Premium Gem, and very challenging in MS67 and higher grades. Indeed, a total of just 24 MS67 specimens, the grade of the piece in the current lot, have been seen by both NGC and PCGS, along with 5 coins grading higher (7/10). Moreover, according to our auction records, only eight Superb Gems have made appearances over the past 29 years. We present a review of four of these sales below.
    "In its August 1978 sale of the Kaufman Sale, RARCOA offered a piece described as having 'magnificent deep golden toning' (lot 1907). The specimen appearing in Superior's October 1989 of the Heifetz Collection (lot 5200) is described as follows: 'the strike is spectacular, crisp and bold, with no signs of weakness.' The 1907 High Relief in Superior's May 1990 sale is called 'Perfect-sleek, elegant, pleasing to the eye and impeccable' (lot 5790). Finally, a Superb Gem we sold in our August 1997 ANA Sale is described thus: 'the radiant, satiny luster has a gleam that is unique to High Reliefs' (lot 7873).
    "The descriptors applied to the foregoing MS67 High Reliefs can be applied to the present coin from the Phillip Morse Collection. It has deep yellow-gold toning over a satiny finish with radiant luster. The strike is exquisite, with all of the design elements displaying excellent definition, and the surfaces are impeccably preserved, exhibiting not even a few minor abrasions that might serve as pedigree markers. Indeed, the only identifiers on this coin are a couple of light alloy spots, one in the middle of the eagle's lowest tail feather, and another on a feathertip over the eagle's leg. A faint wire rim is noted along the right (facing) obverse."

    Ex: Phillip H. Morse Collection of Saint-Gaudens Coinage (Heritage, 11/2005), lot 6524.(Registry values: N10218) (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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2010
    11th-15th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,606

    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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