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    1908 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, PR66
    First Year With Motto
    101 Examples Struck

    1908 $20 Motto PR66 NGC. A nominal mintage of 101 proof Saint-Gaudens double eagles was achieved in 1908. Although most business-strike coins of this date were produced without the motto IN GOD WE TRUST, all proofs were struck after August of 1908, when the design changed over to the Motto type by Congressional mandate. Although a few experimental proofs of the Arabic numerals design were produced in 1907, the 1908 With Motto coins were the first examples of Augustus Saint-Gaudens celebrated design to be offered to the general public in proof format.

    If all 101 examples of the 1908 proof double eagle had been distributed and carefully preserved for future collectors it would still be a very scarce issue today. Unfortunately, the dark matte proof finish used on the coins was decidedly not popular with contemporary collectors, who preferred the brilliant finish used on proofs of earlier years. It seems likely that a number of proofs went unsold and were melted after the end of the year. A few others were undoubtedly just spent for face value by their owners during financial hard times in the early 20th century, when proof gold coins commanded small premiums and twenty dollars represented a significant amount of spending power. PCGS CoinFacts estimates only 60-75 examples survive today in all grades. At least one example was struck with a "Satin" finish and that coin is offered in another lot in this sale.

    Although the matte finish was unpopular at the time of issue, present-day collectors prize these early matte proofs and they consistently bring high prices whenever they are offered. The record price realized for a 1908 matte proof double eagle is $97,750 realized by the PR67 NGC specimen in lot 6554 of the Phillip Morse Collection (Heritage, 11/2005).

    The present coin is a delightful Premium Gem, with razor-sharp definition on all design elements and impeccably preserved orange-gold surfaces. The surfaces display the subdued, non-reflective luster characteristic of all matte proof issues. Close inspection with a loupe reveals no mentionable distractions and eye appeal is extraordinary. Census: 23 in 66 (1 in 66+), 12 finer (3/15).(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26GV, PCGS# 9205)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

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

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 590

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens as Illustrated by the Morse and Duckor Collections
    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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