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    Finest Certified 1908 Indian Five Dollar
    A Remarkable MS68 Example

    1908 $5 MS68 NGC. Early in 1908, Dr. William Sturgis Bigelow, a close friend of President Theodore Roosevelt, proposed to the President the idea of making coins with devices sunk beneath the fields; that is, with the relief designs depressed so that the highest points would not be worn away. With Roosevelt's blessing, Bigelow persuaded Boston sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt to submit models on this technique. Roosevelt enthusiastically approved the designs, and ordered that Pratt's models go to the Mint for translation into master dies, hubs, and working dies. The new design was to be used on the quarter and half eagles, both dated 1908.
    Pratt's design were criticized early on. One of the most vocal critics was Philadelphia coin dealer Samuel Hudson Chapman, who alleged that the designs were "antinaturalistic, unhygienic, incapable of stacking, and too easily counterfeited." Despite these objections, the designs remained without further modification, and graced both the quarter eagle and half eagle denominations through 1929.
    The 1908 five dollar piece, with a mintage of 577,845 business strikes, is one of the most common issues of the series, and is readily available in all grades through near-Gem. Indeed, NGC and PCGS have certified several thousand pieces through this level of preservation. The census/population figures drop significantly from this point on. In MS67, for example, a mere four examples have been seen by the two services. The MS68 specimen for sale in this lot is the only piece given the specified grade designation; no coins have been seen finer by either service.
    Satiny surfaces display a delicate mix of yellow-gold, mint-green, and orange color resting upon vibrant luster. A solid strike has resulted in crisp definition on the design elements, including the hair at the Indian's temple, the feathers of the bonnet, and the eagle's plumage. Close scrutiny reveals no mentionable marks on impeccably preserved surfaces. This is a wonderful, and perhaps once in a lifetime, opportunity for the connoisseur of twentieth century gold coinage to acquire the finest known example of this historic issue.(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 28DE, PCGS# 8510)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2007
    8th-10th Wednesday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 656

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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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    Allamonte Springs, FL
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