PCGS 8851 - 1907 $10 Rolled Edge

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1907 $10 Rolled Edge
1907 $10 Rolled Edge

Contents

Authorization

Although the $10 "eagle" was the largest gold coin issued under the Mint Act of 1792, it would be over forty years before most citizens would see this "Flagship" denomination. First minted in 1795, Congress' ill-conceived 15 to 1 silver/gold ratio doomed the coins and their smaller brothers to hoarding and melting from the start. The result was inevitable. Eagle production ended in 1804, quarter eagle mintages remained minute, and only half eagles were made in quantity, primarily for transactions between banks. Finally, in an effort to return gold coins to the channels of commerce, Congress passed the Act of 1834, changing the silver/gold ratio to 16 to 1. Almost overnight, U.S. silver coins were worth more than the equivalent amount in gold coins. The eagle was reintroduced in 1838 after a 34-year hiatus. The eagle issued since 1838 was the Christian Gobrecht designed Liberty Head, featuring a neoclassic head of Liberty adorned with a coronet inscribed LIBERTY. Thirteen stars surround the bust, with the date below. The reverse depicts an eagle holding arrows and an olive branch, encircled by the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and TEN D. Chief Engraver James Barton Longacre placed the new motto on a scroll over the eagle's head.

Elected President in in 1904, Roosevelt was unhappy with the trite Inaugural medal designed by U.S. Mint engravers Charles E. Barber and George T. Morgan. His interest in numismatic art was awakened when his artistic friends urged the commissioning of a really innovative Inaugural medal, and suggested the great American sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens for the task. The sculptor agreed, but his busy schedule limited him to sketching the basic design on a paper napkin while on the train from Washington. He told Roosevelt that he would entrust all the actual work to his 34 year-old associate, German-born Adolph A. Weinman, better known to collectors today for his "Mercury" Dime and Walking Liberty Half Dollar. Saint Gaudens immediately began work on new coinage designs. He fashioned images of Liberty in both full figure and bust motifs, and eagles in flying and standing positions, the latter derived from the reverse of the Roosevelt medal. Saint-Gaudens’s success with this medal convinced Roosevelt that the artist was the partner he needed to collaborate on a pet project: the redesign of America’s money. Saint-Gaudens signed on, and the plotting began. But the potential for trouble hovered on the horizon: this medal had been struck, not by the United States Mint in Philadelphia, but by Tiffany & Company in New York. If the Mint hadn’t produced Saint-Gaudens’s medal, would it agree to produce any of his coins? Although he preferred the bust of Liberty and the standing eagle for the twenty dollar coin (as they appeared on the unique 1907 $20 pattern), after much correspondence with the President throughout 1906 and early 1907, it was finally decided that this combination would appear on the $10 gold coin.

[2]This design: Ex: O'Neal. Unlike the 1907 Wire Rim Indian gold eagle, the similarly dated Rolled Edge delivery was intended for general circulation. To protect the surfaces and eliminate the problems associated with the high wire rim, the Mint modified the original Indian eagle design to include a protective rim. A total of 31,550 pieces were produced, but concern over possible public criticism caused all but 50 examples to be melted prior to release. The 50 coins that escaped destruction did so either through the Assay Commission, through collectors with inside connections, or museums that obtained examples directly from the Mint.

The final design included lower relief on the devices than on the Wire Rim coins, and a rim border similar to that of the Rolled Edge type. This was a protective rim that would protect the coins' devices from excessive wear and allow them to be stacked atop one another. A letter from Chief Engraver Charles Barber to Philadelphia Mint Superintendent Landis explained his concerns on this subject:

"Before final adoption of the new design for the Eagle gold coin I beg to call your attention to that which in my judgement is a serious defect namely, the want of border or determinate edge to make a finish to the coin. In the present condition of the design and model, the coin when struck is without a border, consequently, when the planchet receives sufficient blow of the press to make the proper impression, there being no edge or place for the metal to flow into, it is forced up between the die and collar making a fin or sharp edge which would not stand attrition, but would soon disappear, leaving a light weight coin that would be rejected by the Banks and custom offices and sub-treasuries. There is also another objection to the design in the present condition namely, it will not pile. There being no proper border above the relief of the design for the coins to rest upon, it is dependant (sic) upon the convexity of the die to make the concavity of the coin sufficient to clear the relief of the design when the coins are put face to face. As the convexity of the die cannot be fixed and is liable to change in the process of tempering the steel, and also in striking the pieces, it will be seen, that there is no reliable provision made to cover this requisite in these coins, and therefore, the pieces have no proper seat, but are resting in some cases upon a sharp edge and in others upon the shoulder of the Eagle. To overcome this defect I would suggest that a border be turned in the die as shown in coin exhibit No. 2, I think you will agree with me that this change in no way detracts from any claim that may be made for artistic excellence, but on the contrary adds to the appearance of the coin and overcomes the objections mentioned above. This change will cause but little delay in the issuing of the coin and can be completed long before the models are sent us for the Double Eagle. Awaiting your instructions in regard to this matter, I am Respectfully,"

(Letter dated August 26, 1907, reprinted in Roger Burdette's Renaissance of American Coinage 1905-1908, p. 111)

Obverse

Adolph A. Weinman
Adolph A. Weinman

Augustus Saint-Gaudens The bust by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, is almost identical to the Nike head (Victory) that Saint Gaudens designed for Sherman's monument in New York's Central Park. At Roosevelt's insistence, she shed her laurel crown for a handsome, but historically impossible Indian feathered war bonnet. LIBERTY was inscribed on the Indian's headdress, with 13 stars above the head and the date below.

Reverse

The reverse, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, reflects an eagle standing on a bundle of arrows, with the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM to the right. Encircling the periphery above the eagle is the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Below is the denomination TEN DOLLARS.

Mintage

INDIAN HEAD TEN DOLLARS OR EAGLE (1907-1933) Mintage

Specification

  • Weight: 258 ± 0.25 grains = 16.718 ± 0.016 grams
  • Gold: 15.0444 grams or 0.4837 troy oz.
  • Diameter: 18/16" or 26.8 mm.
  • Composition: 90% gold, not over 5% silver, rest copper.
  • Rim: With a single unique exception, all have 46 stars on the edge.

Catalog reference

Prices realized from past auction lots. (PCGS Holder)

PCGS Price Guide [1]

Source

  • Breen, Walter H., Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U. S. and Colonial Coins, New York: Doubleday, 1987.
  • Yeoman, R. S., and Kenneth Bressett (ed.), A Guide Book of United States Coins, 59th Ed., Atlanta, GA: Whitman Publishing, 2005.
  • U.S. Mint

Gallery

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