Bonhams sells 1907 Saint-Gaudens, Ultra High Relief gold $20 double eagle

Coin may be among the first of the rare Ultra High Relief patterns struck
By , Coin World
Published : 12/17/14
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Auction set to take place Dec. 16; coverage to follow. Info below is background from earlier coverage.



Bonhams will offer a 1907 Saint-Gaudens, Ultra High Relief gold $20 double eagle, one of two known with a sans-serif edge inscription, at the firm’s Dec. 16 auction in New York City.

The pattern is estimated to bring from $1.25 million to $1.5 million.

According to Bonhams, “The collar’s Sans Serif font that was used on the edge of the earliest Ultra High Reliefs distinguishes this coin as one of the first struck.”

Some 12 to 18 examples of the Ultra High Relief double eagle are known to exist of all edge variants.

Paul Song, director of the Los Angeles based department of Bonhams, states: “This coin is an old friend of sorts. Earlier in my career in 1992, I discovered this coin variety for the first time at an East Coast estate and sold it at auction for $143,000. Almost 25 years later, I am pleased to place it on auction again. Close examination of the edge revealed lettering without serifs — the same style that was used in 1906 to create the Judd-1992 $20 gold pattern. No one had ever thought to look at the edge or the collar of an Ultra High Relief before.”

The coin in the Bonhams auction now is graded Proof 58 by Professional Coin Grading Service. When the coin was offered at auction by Sotheby’s on Dec. 9, 1992, in New York, the firm called it an “Impaired Proof,” and graded it “Very Fine or somewhat better.” It was last offered at auction in an Aug. 3, 2012, Heritage sale where it brought $1,057,500.

The Ultra High Relief pattern for the 1907 Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagle is widely considered America’s most beautiful coin. The designs, however, were completely impractical, since each coin would have required multiple strikes. 

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