Featured A Brief Essay on the 1907 High Relief $20 Gold

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by johnmilton, May 1, 2019.

  1. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    1907 High Relief $20 O twick.jpg 1907 High Relief $20 R twick.jpg

    Most numismatists believe that the 1907 High Relief $20 gold piece is the most beautiful U.S. coin. This piece was the “pet baby” of President Theodore Roosevelt who started the “Renaissance of American Coinage” which extended from 1907 to 1921.

    In 1905 President Roosevelt met with Augustus St. Gaudens who was viewed as the greatest American artist of his era. Roosevelt was very dissatisfied with the designs of the coins which were then in circulation and wanted to introduce a series of U.S. coinage designs that would be on a par with America’s emerging greatness. The president asked St. Gaudens to redesign every U.S. coin from the cent to the double eagle. St. Gaudens had more assignments than he could complete, and he was also becoming progressively ill with terminal cancer. Therefore he drew up the designs and assigned an artist, Henry Herring, who worked in the St. Gaudens studio, to execute the models.

    St. Gaudens and Roosevelt were aware that they would face bureaucratic problems at the U.S. mint. Chief mint engraver, Charles Barber, had held his office for over 27 years. Barber took a dim view of an interfering president and an outside artist taking his job. This resulted in protracted feuds between mint personnel and the St. Gaudens studio. In my view both sides had their points. Improving the generally dull appearance of the then current U.S. coinage was long overdue, but the coins also had to be economical to produce and acceptable in the world commerce.

    After considerable wrangling President Roosevelt got his way … for about month. During November and for a brief period in January 1908 the U.S. mint went on a 24/7 schedule produced a total of 12,367 double eagles in high relief. The coins were stuck on a medal press, and it took from three blows from the dies to bring up the design. The coins were made in batches of 1,000 because they had to be made with the same set of dies to avoid doubling of the devices. Between each strike, the planchets had to be annealed to soften them for the next strike. The resulting coins were very beautiful but also very impractical. After this brief run, Roosevelt agreed that the High Relief coins were not practical, and the lower relief coins took their place.

    The coin pictured above is a superb example of the 1907 High Relief $20 coin. It is virtually mark free surfaces, and the soft satiny luster that typical of this piece. I have called these coins “The most expensive “common” coin in the U.S. series. More than half of the original mintage survives, but most any example of the coin is priced well within 5 figures because of demand.

    Here is an example of the "low relief" $20 gold piece which became the standard issued until the series ended in 1933. The only modification was the addition of "In God We Trust" on the reverse, above the sun, in mid 1908.

    1907SaintO.JPG 1907SaintR.JPG
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  3. furham

    furham Good Ole Boy

    I thoroughly enjoy your posts.
    Randy Abercrombie likes this.
  4. Legomaster1

    Legomaster1 Cointalk Patron

    Thank you for the article! Always interesting to read your informative posts.
    Randy Abercrombie likes this.
  5. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Nice article....has anybody purchased one at FUN ? As I might go, finance$$$ depending, I may sell other stuff and take the plunge but I am not sure I want to buy one in my budget range since it means going down alot in quality (probably XF-AU).
  6. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I purchased the NGC MS-65 High Relief I displayed above at a Summer FUN Show. Finding a 1907 High Relief $20 is never hard at a major show. I have called that coin the most expensive common coin in the U.S. series. The hard part is paying for it.
    GoldFinger1969 likes this.
  7. kanga

    kanga 65 Year Collector

    I got one for my type set.
    It's a Wire Rim in NGC AU-50.
    That was plenty good enough for me.
  8. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    Man, those high relief coins are just so beautiful.

    Kinda makes you wonder what the 1921 Peace would have looked like if they really struck them at the pressure they needed.
  9. Mkman123

    Mkman123 Well-Known Member

    Even though I don't collect US coins now, the 1907 HR is one of my faves
    GoldFinger1969 likes this.
  10. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    I only have to do 6 things later today to get the $$$ for my own Saint HR....

    I'll let ya know if I pick the 6 correct numbers to Saturday's MegaMillions drawing ! :D
    Spark1951 and TypeCoin971793 like this.
  11. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    You nailed it John.....that 65 you have has go to be in the $30,000 range no matter where you look.

    I remember a few years ago I think the price was still closer to $20,000 or so.

    I might have to look AU58 or lower. :(
  12. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Isn't the FUN show usually in January and/or Winter ? Or maybe years ago it was held in the summer ?
  13. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The Winter FUN show is always held during the first full week in January. It's going to be in Orlando for at least the next few years.
    GoldFinger1969 likes this.
  14. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    FUN now has 2 shows, and has for quite a few years now. The Winter FUN in January is the big one, and then they have a Summer FUN in July that is still quite big but not as big. You know, so you can go to a coin show while you're already in town on summer vacation going to Disney.
    GoldFinger1969 likes this.
  15. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Coin show or Disney? No brainer, Coin show.....would probably cost less and I'd have something to show for it afterward.
  16. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody who doesn’t know anything...

    I’d rather spend my $$$$ on something actually rare. Or a high-end Ancient Greek coin with more-beautiful artistry.

  17. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    I'm leaning to going to January FUN this year. I live in the NY area so I'll notice the increase in temperature at a minimum. :D
  18. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    I distinctly remember it snowing one year at FUN. So, I wouldn't guarantee that ;)
    GoldFinger1969 likes this.
  19. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The lines to attractions at Disney are incredible these days. We have limited annual passes, it’s hard get on any thing that’s popular unless you are on the priority line. Disney is a victim of its own success.
    GoldFinger1969 likes this.
  20. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    Well, there goes the market for these, I guess. :rolleyes:
    furham likes this.
  21. ToughCOINS

    ToughCOINS Dealer Member Moderator

    A beautiful coin, but I've always felt it was not worth the money.
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