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    Description

    1909 Five Dollar Indian, PR67 ★
    Impeccable 'Roman Finish' Superb Gem

    1909 $5 PR67 ★ NGC. Paraphrasing from our description of "The Matte Proofing Process" (page 36) in The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse Collection, when the Mint introduced four new gold coinage designs in 1908, it was determined, due to the extreme curvature of the dies, that the old method of producing proof gold could not be used, in which portions of the coins would turn out with brilliant mirrored fields. A "sandblast" method was used, in which the newly produced gold pieces were taken to an industrial cabinet and "carefully sandblasted on each side with a stream of fine, industrial sand to impart a dull, grainy effect. The fineness of the particles and skill of the workman doing the sandblasting governed the shade and appearance of the particular coin, ranging from light yellow-gold, to light brown, to deep khaki-green color."

    Some numismatists liked the new finish. Most did not, however, and in the following year 1909 the Mint struck proof gold on planchets that received no pre- or post-production treatment. Later the enigmatic "Roman Finish" was used to describe these pieces. Breen describes it as a "satiny, semi brilliant, pale lemon color." The present coin shows two different perspectives on the untreated gold proof, depending on the distance from which the observer looks at the coin. From a distance, it is remarkable how bright the fields are. The piece appears bright yellow-gold, with a slight hint of reddish patina. As expected of the grade, essential contact is nonexistent, and the NGC Star appellation justly confirms the overwhelming appeal. A fine wire rim appears around the entire reverse and nearly all of the obverse. In PR67 this piece is one of three pieces so graded, and there are three finer, all PR68 without the Star (3/16). Obviously, auction appearances at this rarefied grade level are infrequent. However, we would point out one more recent appearance of a PCGS-graded PR67+ coin with CAC endorsement, which was lot 1232 in our recently concluded Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/2016). That coin brought $105,750.
    Ex: Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/2010), lot 1641, which brought $57,500.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 25ZS, PCGS# 8540)

    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
    Apr-May, 2016
    27th-1st Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 30
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 893

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