The 1907 High Relief Double Eagle, PCGS MS65+ is the Professional Grading Service’s (PCGS) Coin of the Month.
Many longtime numismatists and art connoisseurs agree that the most beautiful coin in the world is none other than the Saint-Gaudens double eagle, the work of namesake sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. When the Saint-Gaudens double eagle premiered in 1907, it was struck in a high-relief format that was unlike virtually any other U.S. coin in production, receiving critical acclaim from many in the numismatic and art worlds.
American Coinage Renaissance
The Saint-Gaudens double eagle marked the beginning of the Renaissance of American coinage. This artistic era touched all circulating denominations of the time and came to pass when President Theodore Roosevelt tapped Saint-Gaudens to redesign all of the nation’s coins. Many believe the Beaux-Arts sculptor would have eventually brought new designs to coins running the gamut of production, but sadly he died of colon cancer just as his double eagle (and eagle) were entering production.
The earliest of the double eagle designs were produced in high-relief format before it was determined this design profile would be impractical to produce on a mass scale. This, therefore, required mint officials to retool elements of the coin, including the rims and the main devices themselves. In all, nearly half a dozen varieties were produced in 1907, including one that shows a high-relief strike with flat rims. The original mintage figure for this specific combination of elements is unknown, though Professional Coin Grading Service estimates that 2,500 examples survive across all grades and are considerably scarcer than the wire rim version of the high-relief strike.
Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection
A supreme example of this coin was once ensconced in the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, which was on public display for two decades at the American Numismatic Association Money Museum in Colorado. When the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Foundation decided to sell this cabinet to help raise monies for the various Dallas-area charities that the late Bass once supported, trustees of the Foundation selected PCGS to encapsulate this and the other coins in the collection. The 1907 High Relief, Flat Rim double eagle earned a grade of Mint State-65+ and was offered for sale in a September 2022 Heritage Auctions sale, which garnered a final price of $78,000.
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