Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 48

Lot 1312

1911 $20 St. Gaudens. NGC graded Matte Proof 68. In NGC holder 1997075-001. Well struck and exceptionally beautiful. Only 100 Proofs minted. All seen to date are of the sandblast type, nearest to 1908 and of nearly the same color. Of the 100 Proofs made, possibly fewer than 30 survive.

First on the docket (to be followed by an almost-as-spectacular Proof 66 1911 example) is this remarkable Proof 68, a superb as any ever offered for sale. How collectors of the day could shun such coins is impossible to comprehend today, when Proof double eagles are considered to be the premiere gold coins of American numismatics. It has been suggested the mint produced on speculation small numbers of Matte (or more properly "Sandblast") Proofs each year. (Read how these were made in the description following the 1911 Proof 66 $20 lot.)

The public expected Brilliant Proofs in those days, similar in appearance to the just expired Liberty head design. However, Mint craftsmen were unable to provide such due to the uneven "basining" required when preparing Saint-Gaudens unusual design. Instead, a matte-surface finish was chosen to offer to collectors. Few buyers ordered them, and even fewer coins survive today out of what were sold since a number of gold Proofs are known to have been spent during the economic downturn in the 1930s. Estimates of survivors for this year may be on the order of 25 to 35 separate pieces. Continual resubmitting to the grading services gives a false population, particularly the Proof 63 to 65 grades.

With the 1911 issue, the mint returned to its heavier sandblast finish that began in 1908. This piece, like others of its kind, shows myriad beautiful tiny sparkles under a loupe, with the color being greenish to perhaps slightly brownish mustard color, and quite alluring. Almost impossible to find in Proof 68 quality! The surfaces are immaculate. The strike, flawless in its precision, with every device showing the finest detail. This is a genuine museum piece for sale to average collectors not just the nobility, a coin that appears free of spotting and without blemish. We can imagine no finer example to acquire for ones rare coin portfolio. Pop 5; none finer at NGC (PCGS # 9208) .
Estimated Value $100,000 - 115,000.

Realized $115,000

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