Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 78

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Lot 1891

1907. High Relief, Roman Numerals, Wire Rim. NGC graded Proof 67. An awe inspiring Superb Gem Proof example exhibiting the natural golden-orange Roman Satin Proof finish. Owning a superb flawless pale golden gem like this with its satiny smooth surfaces, is like living on a cloud. To hark back to the time this creation first presented itself to the American public, we remind readers that Charles Barber was the Mint Engraver when the U.S. government, at the behest of Theodore Roosevelt, contracted with Augustus Saint-Gaudens to prepare designs for the proposed new $20 gold coin. It was Barber who supervised Proof MCMVII High Relief Double Dagle production. He even acquired a few for himself, they were that special (some Proofs were sold out of Barber's estate after his death in 1917). The Mint undoubtedly struck other pieces for presentation purposes, probably at several different times throughout the final two months of 1907. (Saint-Gaudens had died in August 1907.)

According to sources, unlike the circulation strike High Reliefs minted with the Roman Numerals date, which received three impressions from the dies (some say up to five), it appears that the Proofs were struck seven times dies place in the Mint's high-performance hydraulic medal press in order to bring the features up to full detail. Many of the diagnostics of this beautiful issue in Proof are never found on the coins meant for circulation.

The present Proof reveals random die polish lines (as prepared) in the fields. The grade confirms it as one of the finest High Relief Proofs certified, which places it solidly within the top examples known for the issue. Both sides exhibit gorgeous surfaces and color, bold devices, no marks of any kind, and aesthetic appeal that leaves most others back in the dust. The obverse and the reverse are silent on the subject of bothersome spots or discolored toning, a fact that one expects from the grade. Every element, every intricate feature of the design, is crisply made. The overall strike is, to say the least, for all intents and purposes full. This is truly a superb representative of Saint-Gaudens' High Relief $20 in Proof condition. Pop 11; 9 finer, 5 in 67 Star, 1 in 67+, 1 in 68, 1 in 68 Star, 1 in 69.

Historic note: In the summer of 1907, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who had been in failing health for some time, took a turn for the worse, and in August he died. Ironically, he never lived to see examples of his own Double Eagle design. After President Roosevelt had been appeased by the striking of 11,250 High Relief coins and an unknown number of Proofs of the same Type, the Mint obtained permission to revise its design, wherein the relief was lowered drastically, the Roman numerals purged from the obverse, and more familiar numeral punches used in their place. This was amenable to high-speed production and from then to the end of the series in 1933 Double Eagles were so made.

Today, the MCMVII Proof issues of 1907 are highly cherished by collectors and are among the favorites in all American numismatics. Proofs are the crème de la crème of the year. It came as no surprise, then when the Treasury Department proposed issuing new gold bullion coins in 1986, no finer design could be devised than to recreate Augustus Saint-Gaudens' 80-year-old masterpiece. The mint even incorporated the Roman numerals.
Estimated Value $90,000 - 100,000.
The Del Valle Collection.

Realized $129,250

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