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    1915 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, PR65
    Rare Final Proof Issue
    Only 50 Examples Struck

    1915 $20 PR65 NGC. JD-1. Regular-issue coinage of Saint-Gaudens double eagles did not begin until September in 1915 and proofs were only delivered on October 25, when a token mintage of 50 pieces was received from the coiner. The minuscule production was the lowest proof double eagle mintage since 1894, when an equal number of coins was struck. Minor proofs had been produced in March, but they were not released until the silver proofs were available in October. With the gold proofs not ready until November, many orders for complete proof sets were split in half, requiring additional payments, refunds, and a correspondence nightmare for Mint clerks and collectors. In addition, collector dissatisfaction with the different sandblast finishes used on gold proofs since 1907 caused orders to decline every year until the program no longer seemed worthwhile by 1915. With World War I already raging in Europe, and international trade much reduced in consequence, the U.S. Mint severely reduced all gold coinage after 1915. Only minor proofs were issued in 1916, and proof offerings were discontinued after that time.

    Discounting the extremely rare 1907 No Motto proofs, the 1915 Saint-Gaudens double eagle is the rarest proof issue of the series. Estimates of the surviving population have varied widely over the years, with early researcher Walter Breen listing only eight specimens in his proof Encyclopedia and David Akers suggesting 20-25 examples were extant in his 1982 reference on double eagles. More recently, Roger W. Burdette estimated the surviving population at 25 examples in all grades, while John Dannreuther and PCGS CoinFacts postulate 35-40 specimens are extant. Resubmissions and crossovers have severely inflated the population data on this issue, as the two leading grading services now list a combined total of 56 certification events, six more than the number of coins minted (6/19).

    The present coin is a delightful Gem proof, with the well-detailed design elements typical of this issue. Roger Burdette notes that the large medal press had not been returned to the Philadelphia Mint from San Francisco, where it was used to strike coins for the Panama-Pacific Exposition. The double eagle proofs had to be struck on a smaller, less powerful press in 1915. This coin shows just a touch of softness on Liberty's hair and some leaves in the branch, but most of the design elements are sharply detailed. The virtually pristine surfaces were sandblasted with a coarser grain of sand, making them just a little darker than in previous years. This impressive specimen exhibits rich, even, orange-gold color throughout, with understated matte luster and outstanding eye appeal. Census: 14 in 65, 10 finer (6/19).
    From The Joan Zieg Steinbrenner Collection. (Registry values: N7079)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 26H4, PCGS# 9212)

    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 Joan Zieg Steinbrenner Collection ]

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2019
    14th-18th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 26
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 621

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    Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse and Steven Duckor Collections
    Revised Edition by Roger Burdette, and edited by James L. Halperin and Mark Van Winkle

    Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles is an issue-by-issue examination of this 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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