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The 1913 proof Indian ten boasts a minuscule mintage of just 71 pieces. Among Indian eagles, only the famous 1907 Rolled Edge and the 1914 matte proof issues can claim a smaller net production figure, at 50 examples each. In terms of high-grade rarity, the 1913 is actually more elusive than either of those issues, and only the 1915 matte proof emission is more difficult to locate. The elusive nature of this issue was recognized at an early date, and B. Max Mehl referred to the example in lot 346 of the Dr. G.F.E. Wilharm Collection (Mehl, 2/1921) as, '1913 Sand blast proof. Rare.' In the Handbook of 20th Century United States Gold Coins 1907-1933, second edition, David Akers and Jeff Ambio estimate a surviving population of 20-35 specimens in all grades, with six to eight coins extant in PR64.
The sandblast finish Mehl referred to in the Wilharm description was an innovation the Mint introduced in 1912, because the matte and Roman proofs of previous years had proved so unpopular with the public. The sandblast proofs have a much finer texture than the finishes of earlier years. As Walter Breen said in his 1988 Encyclopedia, this finish displays 'millions of sparkling facets under a magnifier.' The sandblast proofs have an attractive medallic appearance, with sharply defined devices and evenly textured surfaces. Unfortunately, the sandblast proofs were no more popular than the matte or Roman proofs had been, and the Mint changed finishes again after 1913.
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