Important Matte PR66 1908 With Motto Twenty

    1908 $20 Motto PR66 NGC. The end of matte proof coinage in 1916 was present in its inception in 1908. Collectors were unfamiliar with the new matte proofing process and became increasingly dissatisfied as the years went on, in spite of the Mint's efforts to appease collectors. Philadelphia Mint Superintendent Adam Joyce wrote in 1916 to the director:

    " ... great dissatisfaction has been shown by persons desiring these proofs and a seemingly unnecessary amount of correspondence entailed on this office, returning orders and answering complaints.
    "In order to distinguish gold proofs from the regular issue, it has been necessary to give them a sandblast finish, which changes the appearance of the coins to such an extent that it is almost impossible to put them in circulation. This is something I am not sure we have the right to do."

    This altered appearance of matte proof gold, coupled with losing money on the production of proof silver and minor coins, finally stopped proof production on October 18. (This information is courtesy of Roger Burdette in the September 24, 2007 issue of Coin World in an article titled "Endings and Beginnings of 20th Century Proofs.")
    In the beginning, however, a relatively large number of proof twenties were produced with a net mintage of 101 pieces in 1908. Probably between 45 and 60 examples remain today in all grades, most of which are not as well preserved as this piece. The coarse-grained matte finish shows the usual rich khaki-green color. The only mentionable (but not readily noticeable) surface imperfection is a slight shiny spot in the field to the left of the eagle's beak. An outstanding proof twenty from this first year of production and also the first year the Saint-Gaudens design was available in proof format. Census: 26 in 66, 11 finer (1/08).
    From The Southwest Collection.(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 Dates
    February, 2008
    14th-16th Thursday-Saturday
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    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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