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    Description

    1907 Indian Eagle, MS65
    Rare Rolled Rim Variety
    All But 50 Pieces Melted

    1907 $10 Rolled Rim MS65 PCGS. Struck in September 1907, the Rolled Rim 1907 Indian eagle is one of the rarest issues in the series, surpassed only by the 1933. It retains the smooth, sculpted details of Augustus Saint-Gaudens' original Wire Rim models but with a defined border that Chief Engraver Charles Barber turned into the die in an effort to improve stacking of the coins. The order to strike this variety came on September 9, and 31,500 pieces were struck. However, almost all of these coins never left the Mint.

    On September 25, the acting Mint Director examined a new pattern coin struck with a refined version of Saint-Gaudens' design that the late sculptor's assistant, Henry Hering, had provided Barber. In addition to the broad rim, the central devices were remodeled with slightly lower relief and sharper details, which were preferred for coinage. In The U.S. Mint and Coinage, Don Taxay reproduces a letter from Mint Superintendent John Landis to the Director:

    "You will notice that the eagle from the last model is a great improvement over those of the first model. The latter are indefinite in detail and outline, not being at all sharp, look like imperfect coins or coins that have been sweated, while the former is sharp in outline, the detail shows up well, the border is broad and prominent and the coins will stack perfectly.
    "We have on hand $315,000 of the first model, struck on the coining press ... If this last model meets with your approval, I would strongly urge upon you the expediency of immediately replacing the $315,000, now on hand, of the first model, with eagles of the last model."



    All but 50 of the Rolled Rim coins were melted. In Renaissance of American Coinage, 1905-1908, Roger Burdette lists 10 pieces as having gone to the Mint Bureau, two to the Metropolitan Art Museum, and eight to Mint officials, which left 30 pieces on hand at the Mint that could be acquired by collectors, such as Robert Garrett and others. In the following years, the Rolled Rim coin became the only Indian gold eagle more sought-after than the original Wire Rim issue. In the George H. Earle Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), a Rolled Rim 1907 ten realized $46 -- nearly twice the $25 that a Wire Rim coin in the very next lot brought. Chapman had cataloged the coin as: "Excessively rare. Only 50 struck and of these some 15 are known to exist." That statement failed to account for Rolled Rim coins not on the market at the time, but it effectively captured the rarity of the issue. In June 1946, in a lot description for a Rolled Rim coin in the William Cutler Atwater Collection, B. Max Mehl wrote: "Although this coin has a recent record of $375.00, I believe that this record is in its 'infancy.'" As Mehl predicted, prices have continued to rise exponentially over the years. More recent sales include the MS65 PCGS specimen in lot 2502 of the Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 5/2007), which realized $230,000.

    PCGS CoinFacts estimates that only 40 to 42 Rolled Rim eagles are extant in all grades, some of which are cleaned or otherwise impaired. We have handled an example on only 27 previous occasions, eight of which represented coins with varying degrees of wear, from being improperly stored or possibly carried as a pocket piece. Another 14 appearances represented coins in MS65 to MS67. The rarest grade range was MS60 to MS64, wherein we have seen only five specimens. Clearly, the combined certified population (PCGS and NGC) of 83 coins -- primarily in MS65 and MS66 condition -- is inflated by resubmissions and crossovers (4/20).

    The present coin is a delightful Gem representative of this iconic gold rarity. Satiny luster shimmers in the fields and across the untouched devices, illuminating rich honey-gold color and the diagnostic, swirling die polish lines in the fields. Many Indian eagles in high grade will reveal faint hairlines across the high points of the devices if tilted to catch light at a certain angle, although no such effect is seen on this piece. Only a couple of truly microscopic ticks on Liberty's cheek seem to prevent an even higher classification. The strike is a secondary consideration on this issue due to the bold relief of the design, although we note a slight measure of softness on the eagle's right (facing) talons. This is a coin that will fit in well among Gem-graded Indian eagles in a complete collection, and indeed, its rarity and artistic beauty will make it a capstone of a fine numismatic cabinet. Population: 18 in 65 (1 in 65+), 18 finer (4/20).(Registry values: N10218)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 268C, PCGS# 8851)

    Weight: 16.72 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2020
    4th-7th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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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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