1792 P1C One Cent, Judd-1, Pollock-1, High R.6, MS61 Brown PCGS....
1907 High Relief Saint-Gaudens Twenty Dollar Gold
Gem Example of This
1907 $20 High Relief, Wire Rim MS65 PCGS. The MCMVII High Relief, Wire Rim (and Flat Rim, for that matter)
Saint-Gaudens double eagles have this in common with a few other coins in the classic American series: Even though
they are available for a price in high grade, the collecting public simply cannot get enough of these extraordinary
coins. Another numismatic issue that comes to mind that has some similar characteristics is the 1909-S VDB cent,
say in Gem Red condition. Even at that level the coins are not rare, but every example finds a willing home at a
strong price. There is unceasing demand for such coins, and collectors are happy to obtain one in any reasonable
But a crucial difference between the two is that the High Reliefs are also the key late-career
numismatic masterwork of the most important American coin artist-sculptor of the early 20th century, a work that
Augustus Saint-Gaudens launched almost literally from his deathbed, with the persistent prodding of President
They are great coins. But they are also great art, and collectors everywhere consider the
acquisition of a nice specimen to be the capstone of their numismatic career. The Lincoln cent designer, Victor D.
Brenner, was an extremely talented designer and also favored (after Saint-Gaudens' death) by President Roosevelt to
design the new cent, but he was no Saint. His design of President Lincoln and the Wheat Ear reverse on the lowly
cent coin is a humble, personal tribute to one of our nation's greatest chief executives.
There is nothing humble about a High Relief. The figure is larger than life even in coin format,
the denomination is the largest among U.S. regular issues of the era, and the design as implemented is the most
innovative ever transferred from art plaster to coin gold. The coin is a tribute to Saint-Gaudens. In fact, the
full-figured, striding Liberty on the obverse is a reworking of an earlier sculpture of Saint-Gaudens' own, the
magnificent Goddess of Victory figure that fronts the Sherman Monument in New York's Central Park at 60th Street
and Fifth Avenue.
The present example, certified MS65 by PCGS, will certainly be the subject of intense bidding
when it crosses the auction block. This Gem displays the expected bright, satiny mint luster and the yellow-gold
surfaces show just a hint of light reddish patina. The sharply struck surfaces show no mentionable contact marks on
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