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Lot 1169

Estimate: 55'000 USD   |   Starting price: 1 USD Price realized: 55'200 USD
Indian Eagle
Near Gem 1907 Wire Rim, Periods $10

1907 Indian Eagle. Periods. Wire Rim. Judd-1901, Pollock-1995. Rarity-3. MS-64 (PCGS). CAC.
A superior example of this coveted 20th century issue boasting vibrant yellow-gold coloration across each side. The complexion is intensely lustrous, with a silky texture blanketing the fields on each side courtesy of dense, circular die polishing. Nicely defined and free from any significant abrasions. A truly majestic piece to experience in-hand.

In his quest to beautify American coinage, President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned Augustus Saint-Gaudens to help with his plans. The sculptor started with the two largest gold denominations. For the ten-dollar eagle, Saint-Gaudens elected to use the head of a woman wearing a Native American war bonnet taken from one of his original concepts for the double eagle. The design was first struck in August 1907 with a thin razor-like rim along the edge of the coin. In addition to the diagnostic wire rim, swirling raised die polish lines are clearly visible in the obverse and reverse fields, a feature that is particular to this issue.

In his magisterial book on this coinage era, numismatic researcher Roger Burdette has ascertained that, according to Mint records, 542 examples were struck as opposed to the 500-coin mintage often quoted in numismatic references. An initial production run of 500 coins certainly did take place in late August to early September 1907, but it was followed by a subsequent delivery of 42 coins struck between September and December of that year. Seventy of these coins were later melted down during the First World War, leaving a net mintage of 472 pieces. The coins proved to be in high demand from the outset and were distributed to dignitaries or sold to contemporary collectors. Like their larger High Relief double eagle cousins, the high relief and wire rim (or "fin" in Mint jargon) of the first Indian eagles were seen as impediments to stacking, and also led to difficulties in the coining process. Changes were made to eliminate the wire rim, resulting in the exceptionally rare Rounded Rim variant of the 1907 Indian eagle, which itself yielded to the final low relief version (as modified by Chief Engraver Charles Barber) that also had the periods removed from the reverse.

The Wire Rim eagles stand as the closest expression of Saint-Gaudens' original vision for this design and have long been popular with numismatists as well as art collectors. Q. David Bowers notes that there was a fairly high survival rate, with some 400 or so examples known in all grades, including a couple of dozen that are in worn condition or impaired from mishandling.

PCGS# 8850. NGC ID: 268B.

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