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    Interesting PR67 1914 Twenty Dollar

    1914 $20 PR67 NGC. The production of proof twenties remained low in 1914--but was higher than the previous year by 12 pieces. Various numismatic authors have commented on the production schedule for proof twenties for 1914. The main point of curiosity is the striking of the coins late in the year, with a secondary interest in the significant number rejected and melted. The first batch, 35 pieces, was not struck until September 28, a point of interest as proofs are normally struck at the first of the year. Of those 35 proofs struck in late September, 10 were melted. On November 4 another 35 proofs were produced, and again 10 were melted. The final batch was struck on December 19--30 pieces--and again 10 coins were rejected and melted. Thus, the net mintage of 70 proof twenties.
    The consistent number of 10 coins rejected and melted is interesting. One can speculate variously what this means. One theory can be linked to a sentence from Roger Burdette's 1905-1908 Renaissance reference: "Results of sandblasting and other techniques often varied from coin to coin and year to year, depending on which assistant did the work and whether procedures were followed carefully." What we know for certain from direct examination of 1914 proof twenties is that the surface texture is noticeably different from previous years. The coins generally have a coarser finish. This may suggest that a different assistant worked on the 1914 coins, thereby explaining the different appearance. It might also explain what appears to be a mandatory rejection of 10 proofs from each striking period. When examined in the Mint, only the finest were accepted and sent out to collectors who ordered them.
    The certification of 45 pieces by both major services speaks volumes about the rarity of this year. This total number has only increased by one since we cataloged the Phillip H. Morse Collection that appeared in our November 2005 auction. When resubmissions are subtracted, it is difficult to arrive at more than 25 to 30 individual coins that survive today in all grades (one as low as PR50).
    The surfaces of this magnificent piece do indeed show more granularity than the previous three years. There is evidence of slight imperfections in the sandblasting technique in the right obverse field, seen as a few nearly horizontal, raised flecks in that area. These "flecks" are covered by the sandblasting, so they either predate the application or were a part of it. We also note a darker, reddish-tinted streak in the right obverse field. None of these have any effect on the technical grade of this coin, and close examination of each side fails to reveal any post-striking defects. The coin has a pronounced green-gold hue, nearly khaki-gold as often seen on 1908 proofs. At the PR67 level, this piece represents an opportunity to acquire one of the finest examples known of the 1914. Only five other pieces have been so graded, with only one example (also an NGC coin) graded finer.
    From The Ralph P. Muller Collection.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26H3, PCGS# 9211)

    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
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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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