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February 14 , 2014

COIN OF THE WEEK

1914-D INDIAN HEAD EAGLE $10 GOLD NGC MS66
Click on Coin Image to enlarge


1914-D INDIAN HEAD EAGLE $10 GOLD NGC MS66 - $23,550.00

 

1914-D Eagle Indian - 1914-D Indian $10 NGC MS66. This gem 1914-D Indian Head eagle is a true condition rarity, especially in this lofty state of preservation. In its population report, NGC shows only 13 certified in MS66 condition with only 6 higher. At PCGS, there are 5 in MS66 with only 3 higher. These numbers do not account for crossovers or resubmissions.

This Superb Gem, eye-appealing 1914-D Indian Head Gold Eagle is tied for second finest known at both NGC and PCGS. The fully lustrous coin is light and medium yellow gold, which attests to its authenticity. The surfaces are extremely clean for the grade with no notable abrasion marks or other distractions. The strike is strong with full details on the Indian’s hair, the vanes of the feathers, and the shoulders of the eagle. Saint-Gaudens’ Indian Head eagle was minted from 1907 to 1933. In 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Smithsonian Institution and saw an exhibit of ancient Greek coins. He admired their high relief and bold designs and prevailed upon his friend Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who was in failing health, to design new gold coinage for the United States. Saint-Gaudens, who agreed with Roosevelt that the country’s coinage was hideous, redesigned the eagle and double eagle coins. Since Saint-Gaudens died in August, 1907, it is believed that the only new coin he actually saw was the gold eagle. The high relief of Saint-Gaudens’ Indian Head Eagle was criticized by Mint Engraver Charles Barber and other Mint workers.

The obverse consists of a close up profile of a head of Liberty facing left. Above her unrealistic war bonnet are thirteen stars in an arc. Below the truncation is the date. The origin of the profile is Saint-Gaudens’ own statue of Nike which is part of his memorial to General Sherman and can still be seen at the southern entrance to Central Park in New York City. Alice Butler was the model for the sculpture. Originally Saint-Gaudens wanted to place a wreath on Liberty’s head, but President Roosevelt insisted that it be a feathered war bonnet to give the coin a more nationalistic appeal. (Roosevelt also asked Saint-Gaudens to switch the designs of the eagle and double eagle coins. He felt that the close profile was more suited to an eagle size coin and that the striding figure of Liberty was better on the double eagle.)

The reverse of Saint-Gaudens’ Indian Head Eagle shows a powerful standing eagle that is suggestive of Egyptian art. It shows the eagle standing on a bundle of arrows that resemble fasces. In Roman iconography, fasces symbolized the power to kill or the power of life and death. Held on top of the arrows by the eagle’s talon is the olive branch, the traditional symbol of peace. Above the eagle’s head is UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and in the right field is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. The denomination TEN DOLLARS is below. On its edge, the coin has forty-six raised stars.

Roosevelt, a deeply religious man, felt that it was blasphemous to have God’s name on a coin. Coins were used for gambling, prostitution, hiring assassins, and worse. So he asked Saint-Gaudens to omit the motto “In God We Trust.”

The first eagles of this design were struck, as were the ancient coins that Roosevelt admired, in high relief. They also had a knife rim or wire edge. This rim is a narrow piece of coin metal outside the border that is caused by the pressure between the dies and the collar. Its presence is annoying to those in commerce and banking because it often prevents the coins from stacking. Also these rims can cause ejections problems sometimes causing the new coins get stuck in the coining chamber. For these and other reasons, Charles Barber opposed the high relief coins. Despite his objections, a few were issued in 1907. The next year Barber lowered the relief when the motto was added.

There are two main types of Indian Head Eagles. The first is the No Motto or Type 1, which has a few varieties, with and without wire rims (also called rounded rims), periods before and after the motto, and a no periods variety. The second type has the motto IN GOD WE TRUST added to the reverse left field. The coins of this type were minted mid 1908 to the end of the series in 1933. Since the change to add the motto was made in the middle of the year, 1908 had both the No Motto and Motto on Reverse types. Most likely the members of Congress who advocated for the addition of the motto on the coinage were trying to prove that they were not atheists. Obviously they were not particularly concerned about maintaining the separation between church and state. In 1912 two more stars were added to the rim to reflect the statehood of Arizona and New Mexico.

Saint-Gaudens was born in Ireland, the son of a shoemaker. He became one of America’s most successful sculptors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His first commission was a statue of Admiral Farragut that is still in Madison Square Park in New York. By the 1890’s Saint-Gaudens had produced his statues of Diana and Abraham Lincoln, both considered some of his greatest works. He died of stomach cancer in 1907 just after he created the beautiful high relief models for the eagle and double eagle coins at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt.

The Denver Mint struck its first coins in 1906. It is still operating and producing coins for circulation as well as commemorative and bullion coins. Coins produced at the Denver Mint bear a D mintmark, not to be confused with the D for the Dahlonega Mint, which operated in Georgia until 1861 when it was taken over by the Confederacy. The predecessors of the Denver Mint were the men of Clark Gruber and Company. During the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, they coined gold dust brought from the gold fields by the miners. For almost three years, they minted gold coins (1860–61) and ingots (1862). They were formally bought by the United States government in 1863. Established by an Act of Congress on April 21, 1862, the United States Mint at Denver opened for business in late 1863 as a United States Assay Office. Operations began in the facilities of Clark, Gruber and Company, located at 16th and Market Streets and acquired by the government for $25,000. In 1904 the government converted the Assay Office into a working mint. A large Italian Renaissance style building was erected. In its first year of operation, the new mint produced 167,371,035 gold and silver coins. Today the Mint’s output can exceed 50 million coins a day.

The 1914-D Indian Head eagle is a true condition rarity, especially in this lofty state of preservation. In its population report, NGC shows 13 certified in MS66 condition with 6 higher. At PCGS, there are 5 in MS66 with 3 higher. These numbers do not account for crossovers or resubmissions.

 

Very Truly Yours,

Tom Pilitowski
www.usrarecoininvestments.com
Toll Free:
1-800-624-1870
Email: TomPilitowski@yahoo.com

 


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