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    Bright PR65 1910 'Roman Gold' Double Eagle

    1910 $20 PR65 NGC. After the Mint was roundly criticized in 1908 when it instituted the matte proofing process, an attempt was made to placate collectors. The result was what became known as the "Roman Gold" finish. These proofs were struck multiple times on a medal press with special dies and using special planchets. The result was dramatically different from the 1908 proofs. The surfaces are bright, as the coins were not sandblasted, yet they do not have the mirrored finish seen on proofs produced before 1908. And it was this earlier, frosted finish that collectors yearned for. A resolution passed at the 1910 ANA reads in part: "...the present style of gold Proof is far inferior to that showing the frosted finish." This same resolution also speaks to the similarity of the Roman Gold finish with that of business strikes: "With the frosted finish a most artistic effort is produced, throwing the design to the eye in a most attractive way, and provides the collector with a superior coin for cabinet purposes and at the same time one which cannot possibly be confused with the coin struck for circulation."
    A suspiciously high number of proofs were struck in 1910 with an official mintage of 167 pieces. From the number of survivors extant today, it appears that either the mintage is incorrect, or a large number of proofs were never sold and melted at year's end. Earlier estimates of the number of survivors have ranged from 20-25 coins to 35 to 45 pieces. We believe that somewhere around 70 individual coins are known today. This number is based in part on our experience in handling proof gold as well as the number of submissions to the grading services minus resubmissions.
    This piece has an unusually bright appearance, even for a Roman Gold coin. The surfaces, of course, lack any granularity, but the fields have a rippled, orange-peel effect that is reminiscent of proofs struck 20-30 years before. At the PR65 level, only a few other 1910 twenties can equal (Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GX, PCGS# 9207)

    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
    April, 2006
    6th-7th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 22
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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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