Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 44

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Lot 2624

1908 $20 St. Gaudens. No motto. NGC graded Proof 65. Well struck and a very nice Matte Proof Double Eagle. Only 101 proofs struck. Technically, this is a sandblast piece, but a Gem Proof nevertheless, with strong fundamental supporting surfaces free of marks, devoid of spots, tops in its class, and for that matter, mesmerizing to gaze upon. Nicely struck, though not that it matters our saying so since all 1908 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 circles) 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 in 1908 (and a few 1907 samples). 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 1908 are the crème de la crème of numismatics today, with this resplendent Proof 65 example a sterling (or perhaps that should be "golden") jewel for some collector. Pop 14; 37 finer; 26 in 66; 9 in 67; 2 in 68. (PCGS # 9204) .
Estimated Value $50,000 - 55,000.

Realized $59,800

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