Gem Proof 1909 Ten Dollar
1909 $10 PR65 NGC.
A 'Roman Gold' Beauty
"The customer is always right." -- attributed to Marshall Field
One of the most infamous errors in the history of the Philadelphia Mint's customer service came in 1908, when the Mint struck proofs of the new gold designs with a matte finish. It must have been a natural error for the Mint staff to make; after all, the various European mints had been using the process for several years, and it was familiar to them as part of the medal-maker's art. The designs of Bela Lyon Pratt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens were rendered more like medals than coins in the early going, after all.
The Mint's gold-proof-buying customers, on the other hand, largely rejected the coins. Having grown used to the brilliant mirrors on their glittering sets, they dismissed the matte proofs and their intentionally dulled surfaces. The next year, the Mint attempted to bridge the gap with the so-called "Roman Gold" texture, which combines satiny finish and brightness. The compromise pleased few, and after two years, the Roman Gold experiment was over and matte proofs were at the fore once again.
This Gem specimen of the 1909 ten dollar proof hails from the first year of the Roman Gold texture, which many collectors have come to appreciate. (Also appreciated by collectors: the net mintage of just 74 pieces.) This coin's yellow-gold surfaces offer the correct level of brightness, and the eagle's feathers offer exquisite detail. A few small shiny areas interrupt the satin texture, and a single contact mark is noted just below the second A in AMERICA, but the overall visual appeal is impressive. Census: 13 in 65, 13 finer (5/11).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 28HF, PCGS# 8891)
Weight: 16.72 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
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Revised Edition by James L. Halperin, Mark R. Borckardt, Mark Van Winkle, Jon Amato, and Gregory J. Rohan, with special contributor David W. Akers
The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is an issue-by-issue examination of these two 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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