Some $10 Gold Indian Head Stellar Eagles from the Half Dome Collection are set to impress at the Legend Rare Coin Auctions Regency 50 auction in Las Vegas on January 27.
A 1907 Indian Head, Rolled Edge Gold Eagle rated Mint State 65+ by Professional Coin Grading Service and bearing a green Certified Acceptance Corp sticker. carries a maximum estimate of $550,000. The caption praises it as “FULLY AMAZING and SUPER HIGH-END,” adding, “Of course PCGS showed this piece no mercy.”
Although traditionally listed in the Judd pattern book, this first-year version of the new design was intended for circulation, and 31,500 were struck with an order dated September 9, 1907.
David Akers wrote in 1988, “The surviving examples are mostly of high quality and were either registered as test coins or obtained directly from the Mint prior to the decision to melt the issue.”
All but 50 appear to have been melted down, and PCGS estimates that there are around 40 of them in all ranks today.
The problem appears to be a transition issue as the Philadelphia Mint has struggled to adapt Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ design to the rigors of coin production.
Heritage offered another example graded MS-65 by PCGS at its Florida United Numismatists auction in 2021 – where it fetched $264,000 – and wrote on the Rolled Edge issue: “It retains the smooth, sculpted details of the Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ original Wire Rim models, but with a defined border that Chief Engraver Charles Barber transformed into a matrix in an effort to improve piece stacking.
Legend praised the visual appeal of the Half Dome example and noted that Legend Numismatics purchased the coin at auction for $376,000 in June 2016, explaining, “Just prior to cataloging this coin, the owner declined $500,000 TWO people!
With and without motto
Two distinct subtypes of $10 gold Indian Head eagles were minted in 1908: one without the motto IN GOD WE TRUST (called “No Motto”) and those with the motto which was added later in the year. The Half Dome collection features a 1908-D Indian Head, No Motto eagle graduated MS-64+ by PCGS and bearing a green CAC sticker. In describing the piece, Legend introduces a new term for this writer when he states, “Super satiny smooth surfaces reveal NO major ticks, laughs, or freeze breaks.” Laughter aside, the visual appeal of this Denver Mint No Motto number is exceptionally beautiful. It has an estimate of $17,500 to $20,000.
Even more exceptional is a 1908-D Indian Head eagle, with the $10 motto which has unusually clean, satin-finished surfaces for the issue, with soaring luster and “ORIGINAL flamboyant gold/yellow colors”. PCGS noted only a dozen finer examples, leading Legend to call the issue “an unmistakable ‘silent’ stopper for the series.”
The caption concluded the description of the PCGS MS-65 gem with a green CAC sticker, writing, “This date was the last Half Dome needed to complete its set. This says a lot about the rarity of this date and grade. Opportunity knocks hard here!
It carries a maximum estimate of $45,000.
A $10 1930s Indian top
This rare PCGS MS-65+ rated 1930-S Indian Head Eagle with a green CAC sticker has a top estimate of $165,000 and is among the best survivors of this low mintage date. Only 96,000 were minted at the San Francisco Mint in 1930. Most were melted down, with a small number of coins made available by the Mint’s cashier or by distribution through Federal Reserve Banks, with some research suggesting that the remains of the annual scan might have been available to collectors through the Philadelphia Mint.
PCGS estimates that about 250 survive, mostly in mint qualities. The caption describes the surfaces as “pretty clean overall”, indicating that “this piece is nowhere near as warped as they usually are”.
To bolster this weak praise for the often heavily marked issue, the description goes on to say, “Powerful brilliance radiates from everywhere. Both sides are original GEM orange gold color. Miss Liberty and all the details are very sharp and stand out. The visual appeal is wonderful!
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