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    Famed 1907 High Relief, Wire Rim Twenty
    An Incredible Superb Gem

    1907 $20 High Relief, Wire Rim MS67 PCGS. From the time Augustus Saint-Gaudens studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the late 1860s, he and several other sculptors sought to recapture the style of Renaissance art. He sought to combine classical design with the "breathing" quality found on Renaissance sculpture, bas-reliefs, and medals. This early admiration of the Renaissance evolved in later years into a personal manifesto: the "quality of a work of art [should] be judged on its character or effect, rather than on its degree of technical completion." This belief explains how Saint-Gaudens could admire Auguste Rodin, whose works lacked the technical completion seen in Saint-Gaudens own sculpture, yet they conveyed a powerful character or effect.
    As Saint-Gaudens aged his works became more polished, but they never lost the character of the subject. This is easily seen on the High Relief double eagle. The striding figure of Liberty was based upon the Nike of Samothrace in the Louvre. The first plaster showed the figure of Liberty with wings, as seen on the Nike. Later the wings were dropped, and the figure strides confidently toward the viewer in three dimensions. The background emphasizes the radiance of the sunrise, an obvious allusion to the dawning of America's importance on the world stage. The rays underscore another of Saint-Gaudens' sculptural beliefs and one he taught his students: "Remember that your background is your atmosphere, and part of the composition."
    Though that concave background proved to be too much for the Mint to handle in 1907 (his Ultra High Relief design was not realized until 2009), even the diminished artistry of the High Relief twenty makes it one of the most accomplished and important U.S. coinage designs, and in the eyes of many, the best the nation has ever had. Offered here is a magnificently preserved MS67 survivor, luminous yellow-gold under a moderate layer of patina with subtle peach accents within the eagle's wings. This gorgeous coin is not merely a coin; transformed by time, it is a work of art. Population: 19 in 67, 4 finer (6/11).(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, 2011
    11th-14th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,986

    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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