The Trading floor was humming the last 10 days.



Attention Collectors: feast your eyes on this one.

My phone has been humming with making trades all over the place. The other day my 1870 $10 MS60 went to Texas. The new owner was elated and the money did not grow any grass here. I found a wonderful coin which I had been secretly searching for and up it popped one day last week and I received it in my hand today.

It is a 1907 High Relief $20 Wire Rim PF65.

This is a collectors coin.

Frank Leach became mint director of the San Francisco mint in 1897 after George Roberts resigned. Mr. Leach was instrumental in the making of the Saint-Gaudens coins. President Roosevelt ideas for new designs for gold coins had things in a mix. Lots of folks were important and lobbied for better looking coins. Roosevelt was the big cheerleader for that movement. The idea was to match or exceed the beautiful Greek coinage of yore. The basic idea orbited around the thoughts of future generations to have something that would mirror our then ability, art and technology. I think they succeeded.

Leach was concerned about the high relief designs being impractical. There was also an argument regarding being copycats not originators. They wanted high relief and made to look like a medal like the ancient coins. They lost sight of the commercial requirements of producing very pretty coins. They did not catch te fact that they would not stack. Stacking was a practical requirement of circulated money of the day, and a death knell to the design.

None of the designs met the presidents approval until 1907. Minting began from a die model made at Philadelphia. The dies gave such a high relief all effort to produce an acceptable coin were thwarted. A medal press was employed so the beauty of the design might be studied and kept in the shape of a coin, but this process needed annealing between each of the 12 blows in the presses. These few coins numbered less than 20, and were given to mint and Washington officials.

More attempts were made, and all wound up in the crucible of the recycling smelter. All talk of size changes, and so on, went by the board.

More changes and attempts were made by Saint-Gaudens but a 2nd and 3rd model still eluded the satisfaction and dream of the crew involved from the president on down. Roosevelt became impatient and was then was promised a satisfactory coin would soon be available.

In a few weeks the new design was presented in much larger numbers, 12,153 Double Eagles, about $243,060, which was a lot more than was asked for and a bit ahead of schedule.

As the fascinating and historic Leach account makes clear, the MCMVII Ultra High Relief coins were an instant rarity, and those coins today are all but unobtainable, as only 19 or 20 pieces were struck. In this way the Ultra High Relief coins are in the same class as other legendary rarities

A so-called "Wire Rim" protruded around the outer extremity of the coins, which resulted from excessive metal flow between the die face and collar during the striking process. Unlike today's collectors who consider the Wire Rim to be a highly collectible variety, Mint officials considered it to be a striking deficiency. This "flaw" in the striking process was corrected around mid-December, and subsequent High Relief double eagles possessed what became known as a Flat Rim.

The designer was Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and the mintage was only 19-22 pieces. There are some varieties such as lettered and flat rim.

I could not entice the owner with money, he wanted my main battleship, my flagship, my desktop picture for about 5 years. My 1907 $2.5 PF 68 with star. Along with it went a few more and I will have a major editing job for my enfeebled registry.

Then, before the dust settled, another series of calls, emails, text messages and a lot of horse trading, a few more coins will leave the nest as I have obtained quite a list of Roman Numeral coins which I have been searching for two years. I suppose that should be a separate journal, but they are mine and on the way. I should have them in a few days.

In any case, I guess this one is the historical coin I was looking for.

Enjoy the picture, and I will get it added in the registry later. I am planning on a special coin show a friend of mine and me are putting on in Inverness, Florida the weekend of Thanksgiving.

Well, hope you all have a wonderful holiday. Do not eat too much.

Capt. Brian



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