Goldberg Coins and Collectibles



Sale 57


 
 
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Lot 2606

1914 $20 St. Gaudens. NGC graded Proof 66. A medium tan color gem matte Proof example. Only 70 Proofs struck. With so few Proof double eagles minted in 1914, and possibly even fewer distributed to collectors (this being the end of the era for matte Proof production), it is no wonder collectors yearn to own a gorgeous 1914 Proof. Survival estimates range from a low of 10 to 15 pieces on up to 20 to 25 coins (the latter being Akers's estimate).

Breen describes the 1914 Proofs as having a "coarse sandblast finish." Similar to 1911 and 1912, this piece has slightly larger granularity to the finish than does a comparable Proof 1913. Millions of tiny, diamond-sparkle facets comprise the sandblast finish, and so give it a unique sparkle which is almost mesmerizing when viewed under low-power magnification. There are no surface flaws that we can discover and the sharp detail compares favorably with the crispness seen on the finest examples of this Type. Considering this, as well as the irrefutable eye appeal of the coin, the Proof 66 grade places this in an illustrious group of high-end specimens. An extraordinary chance for the advanced numismatist to acquire a rare date Matte Proof twenty in tip-top condition. Pop 9; 5 finer, 4 in 67, 1 in 68 (PCGS # 9211) .

All 1914 Proofs were made with care. They were struck at the Philadelphia Mint on the mint's hydraulic medal press to insure even flow into the die recesses, and a bold relief. America's sandblast Proofs (often referred to as "Matte" finish in numismatic literature) resulted from some experimentation in 1907 at the mint after it was discovered the earlier mirror-finish with frosted relief quality was impossible to achieve on Saint-Gaudens' new design. Owing to the peculiarity of the design of the Saint-Gaudens coins, the entire planchet is struck in such a way that the whole surface of the coin loses the brilliant, polished finish so much valued by collectors. The net result was that the coins left the dies with a bright or satiny appearance. The officials at the Mint decided that since they could not make brilliant Proofs, and wanted something distinctive for collectors, they would sandblast the finished coins. One reason the sandblast surface was considered too radical is that it would prevent the Mint from putting any rejects into circulation. The few remaining sandblast or Matte Proofs of 1914 are the crème de la crème of numismatics today.
Estimated Value $55,000 - 60,000.

 
Realized $60,375
 



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