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    Nearly Perfect 1912 PR67 Saint-Gaudens Twenty

    1912 $20 PR67 NGC. The 1912 proof double eagle saw a dramatic drop in the mintage from 100 pieces the year before to only 74-an augur of even lower productions to come in the future. A curious anomaly is seen in the number of survivors for 1911 and 1912; the estimated number of pieces extant today is virtually identical. In each case probably 40-50 pieces are believed known, which indicates that either a significantly higher number of 1911 proof twenties were spent or melted, or a higher percentage of 1912 twenties were saved by collectors.
    The surfaces of 1912 matte proof or sandblast finish twenties differ noticeably from 1908 and 1911. The finish on 1912 pieces has a much finer granularity and is several shades lighter than either of the two previous years. Roger Burdette explains in his 1905-1908 Renaissance reference that results could vary from one year to the next, depending on which Mint personnel performed the work and how carefully they followed directions.
    Proofs from 1912 exemplify the difference between the previous brilliant proof method (pre-1908) and those from the matte proof era (1908-1915). Brilliant proofs exhibit a solid sheet of mirrored reflectivity, the only interruption being the so-called orange-peel effect that was often inadvertently created by overheating planchets in the annealing furnace at a temperature intended for a harder base metal. Sandblast or matte proofs show thousands of tiny granules that disperse light individually. This effect is best seen when examined with a magnifier. Each granule will reflect light in a different direction, giving the coin an overall "dull" appearance when seen at arm's length, but when viewed up close the randomly directed tiny granules display a collective sparkling effect. The 1912 proof twenties often show color similar to that on 1911 twenties, usually dark yellow-gold or "mustard" color. This particular coin is yellow-gold, with microscopic grains from the sandblast finish distinctly different from the 1908 and 1911 issues. There is a tiny speck of russet color (an alloy spot?) on the reverse, directly below the A in DOLLARS that can be used as a pedigree identifier. Census: 12 in 67, 1 finer (11/09).
    From The Ralph P. Muller Collection.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26GZ, PCGS# 9209)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

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

    View all of [The Ralph P. Muller Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2010
    6th-10th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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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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