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    Exceptional Superb Gem Proof 1909 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle

    1909 $20 PR67 PCGS. A monumental specimen of this elusive date, and one of the Finest Known coins to survive from a tiny mintage of 67 pieces. Of the 47 coins graded by NGC and PCGS, the present coin is tied with a total of 4 seen this fine, with a single coin graded a notch higher by NGC. Rarely are the surfaces and mint imparted Roman or Satin finish found so nearly perfect. A strong loupe will fail to note anything aside from the faintest hairlines on the reverse, most of which can only be seen under a strong light and when the coin is tilted at a certain angle. Tiny indentations along the obverse and reverse rim were caused by the Mint, and are adjacent to the stars and lettering on the edge of the coin. There are no signs of copper specks or nicks anywhere on the surfaces and such quality is a delight to study.
    For the connoisseur that collects these regal Proof double eagles, the 1909 is one of the three most difficult dates to procure. Of course there are the Extremely High Relief coins and the unique or nearly so proof finishes seen on the 1907-1910 Proofs which remain the most coveted and rare, but for the date collector, the 1909, 1914 and 1915 have proven to be the most elusive issues. Obtaining any example requires patience, and remarkably, the vast majority of the survivors grade within the levels of Choice to Gem. Plate matching to track pedigrees is virtually impossible on these proofs, as they were perfectly produced and preserved in such a fashion that there simply are no specks or marks which differentiate between the specimens to appear from time to time in auction. Furthermore, great care was taken when these were coined, and even the tiniest fragments of lint were removed, eliminating the usual lint marks seen on silver proofs of the period. Therefore, without a copper speck, lint mark or nick to hallmark a coin, pedigrees are a matter of recordation or luck. To the collector, it is of greater importance that a coin carry its own credentials, and as one of the very finest seen, is certain to garner the attention it deserves. For future reference, the present coin is housed in PCGS holder number 21963729 and there is a very tiny broken planchet line that extends through the upper half of S OF AM of STATES OF AMERICA, apparently caused during the planchet preparation process, and all but eliminated by the extreme pressures used to strike this coin.
    The year 1909 saw the close of the Teddy Roosevelt era. Roosevelt had ascended to the Presidency with the 1901 assassination of William McKinley by a deranged anarchist while greeting the crowds at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo. Roosevelt was very popular, he was the youngest president to serve in office, and came from a wealthy East Coast family. Roosevelt had overcome many challenges, his wife and mother died on the same day in 1884, and he worked through his sorrow on his ranch in the Badlands of the Dakota Territory. He married Edith Carow in 1886. His health had been poor in his youth, and a vigorous outdoor lifestyle helped restore him to an active life. As President, Roosevelt believed that he should be the great arbiter of the conflicting economic forces between capital and labor, demanding justice for both and favors to neither. Roosevelt was instrumental in breaking up the huge Northeastern Railroad trust, and continued on earning the title of "trust buster". He often quoted his favorite proverb "Speak softly and carry a big stick." Roosevelt was aware of the strategic need for the Panama Canal, and saw to it this waterway was not only completed, but controlled by the United States for economic and military needs.
    Roosevelt was a leader both at home and abroad, he won the Nobel Peace prize for mediating the Russo-Japanese War. At home he greatly expanded the national forests, and set aside vast tracks of land for later public use. Roosevelt was admired and respected by many, and was one of our more popular presidents. Upon leaving the White House in 1909, Roosevelt went on an extended African Safari. He returned to politics in 1912 and again sought the office of the Presidency on the Progressive Party ticket, soon renamed the "Bull Moose Party." During a campaign speech Roosevelt was shot in 1912, luckily the length of the speech mirrored this larger than life character, and in this case the many folded pages literally saved his life, as the bullet was slowed significantly as it passed through page after page of the speech, and scarcely broke his skin. Roosevelt was able to deliver the speech, bullet holes and all, but still lost the election. At the end of this speech Roosevelt closed with "No man has had a happier life than I have led; a happier life in every way."(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26GW, PCGS# 9206)

    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
    January, 2006
    4th-7th Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,814

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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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    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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