Indian Head $10 Gold Cash: The Different Saint-Gaudens Masterpiece

Indian Head $10 Gold Coins: The Other Saint-Gaudens Masterpiece

By Bullion Shark LLC ……

Although he’s most generally recognized for his masterpiece of numismatic artwork, the $20 gold double eagle issued from 1907 to 1933 and recognized by his title, Augustus Saint-Gaudens – the famend American sculptor – can be answerable for creating the favored $10 Indian Head gold coin – the preferred gold eagle collected at the moment issued throughout the identical time interval as the opposite coin.

Again in 1904, President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt — someday after seeing an exhibit of historic cash on the Smithsonian Establishment — proposed that U.S. coinage from cents to $20 gold items be redesigned to make them extra aesthetically pleasing like these lovely cash from historic Greece he had seen and as befits a fantastic nation just like the United States.

After contacting Secretary of the Treasury Leslie Mortimer Shaw to complain of the poor inventive benefit of our cash and recommend that an artist similar to Saint-Gaudens be employed to revamp our coinage, the United States Mint employed the sculptor to revamp the cent and 4 gold cash (quarter eagles, half eagles, eagles, and double eagles), although Roosevelt envisioned him redesigning the remaining circulating cash ultimately as properly. These denominations had been initially chosen as a result of their designs had been used for not less than 25 years, which is when they are often modified with out congressional authority.

In the meantime, Roosevelt was not happy with the inauguration medal that the Mint’s Chief Engraver Charles Barber had ready for him and commissioned Saint-Gaudens to create a brand new one. The reverse of that medal accomplished in 1905 would later function the idea for the eagle that seems on the $10 Indian eagle and was paying homage to eagles that seem on historic coinage, particularly, a coin of Ptolemy I of Egypt.

Saint-Gaudens additionally ready sketches and fashions for a brand new cent that includes the top of Liberty, however Roosevelt wished so as to add a Native American struggle bonnet to make it distinctly American. He later determined that that will be a great design for the obverse of the brand new gold eagle, and Saint-Gaudens accommodated him. Researchers Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth identified in 2005 that the design was incongruous as a result of it amounted to placing a ceremonial headdress on Miss Liberty that was worn as a substitute by Native American Chieftains, which was emblazoned with “Liberty” on it – one thing no Native American would have worn.

The profile of Saint-Gaudens’ Indian Liberty was based mostly on a mix of fashions he had ready of the Greek goddess of victory Nike for his exceptional monument in New York Metropolis for Civil Warfare Normal William Tecumseh Sherman and from modeling classes with Harriet Eugenia “Hettie” Anderson (additionally used for the design of the $20 gold coin) and presumably his Swedish mistress, too. An apocryphal story additionally circulated again then {that a} New Hampshire waitress named Mary Cunningham was the mannequin, however there is no such thing as a proof Saint-Gaudens knew her.

Saint-Gaudens’ design additionally needed to be reworked on the Mint by Barber as a result of the aid with which Saint-Gaudens made his fashions couldn’t be struck simply as soon as by the Mint’s coin presses and since solely a few cash could possibly be stacked at a time with out toppling, which might make mass manufacturing not possible. Additionally, the artist had proposed utilizing Roman numerals for the date, however, as Barber defined, it could not be lengthy earlier than there wouldn’t be sufficient room for all of the numerals of subsequent years.

When the cash had been launched in November 1907 (about three months after Saint-Gaudens had handed away) after being accomplished by the sculptor’s assistant, Henry Hering, they had been principally met with approval by numismatists who famous how completely different the brand new piece was from something the U.S. Mint had issued till then and that it regarded grand and dignified. Nonetheless, the eagle on the reverse has legs which are anatomically incorrect as a result of they’re too thick, prompting the remark in a letter from November 1907 that refers to it as “a turkey buzzard in pantalets” (as quoted in Q. David Bowers’ 2020 e book on eagles).

As well as, Roosevelt didn’t need the motto “In God We Belief” that started showing on U.S. coinage through the Civil Warfare to seem on the brand new cash, seeing it as sacrilegious. This led to public outcry and Congress enacting a legislation mandating its inclusion, because it was beginning in 1908 on the $10 and $20 gold cash that originally lacked the motto.

Varieties and Key Dates

There are 4 forms of $10 Indian gold cash. There are the cash of 1907 and 1908 With out Motto and people from 1908 by way of 1933 With Motto. Then there are two particular variations from 1907: Wired Edge and Rolled Edge – each of which have intervals earlier than and after the inscription “United States of America” on the reverse.

The Wired Edge cash had been the unique high-relief model the sculptor created whose outer rim rises to a pointy edge, and the model that Barber modified to cut back their aid for mass manufacturing had rolled or rounded rims.

Researcher Roger Burdette believes {that a} complete of 542 of the wired edge selection had been struck with 70 later melted. Most of these cash are believed to nonetheless exist, with 320 graded by PCGS. The best recognized, an NGC MS68, was offered on April 13 for $840,000.

The Rolled Edge is rarer, with most researchers saying 50 are at the moment left of an unique minting of 32,500 that Mint Director Frank Leach had melted supposedly as a result of he didn’t discover them to his liking. They had been clearly not trial items or patterns since so many had been struck. A few of these 50 had been supplied to members of the Assay Fee that met in 1907, whereas others had been supplied to museum officers and well-connected collectors. A PCGS MS67 instance of this coin was offered on April 13 for $1,140,000.

A Satin Proof Rolled Edge coin – a serious Twentieth-century rarity — that was initially owned by Mint Director Leach offered in 2011 for $2,185,000 – probably the most ever paid for a $10 Indian gold coin. PCGS presently values it at $2.5 million. One different confirmed Proof exists.

The opposite scarce dates of this sequence embrace the 1911-D in Mint State and the 1920-S, most of which had been melted after the gold recall of Teddy’s cousin, President Franklin Roosevelt. Fewer than 100 of the 1920-S have been graded by PCGS and NGC; the best instance, a PCGS MS66, offered in 2007 for $1,725,000. Additionally scarce is the 1933, of which most had been additionally melted besides about 40, with 32 presently graded by PCGS, together with an MS66 that offered for $881,500 in 2016.

Happily for collectors, most different problems with this sequence are available at the moment, together with in Mint State, and are extensively traded and picked up. An MS60 runs about $1,600 and an MS63 runs about $2,000.

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Bowers, Q. David Bowers. A Information Ebook of Gold Eagle Cash (Whitman, 2020)

Guth, Ron and Jeff Garrett. United States Coinage: A Research by Kind (Whitman, 2005)

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