Start 2016 with a One of a Kind Coin!
Happy 2016! I want to start out by thanking all of you for your interest and support for the Spotlight Coin program throughout 2015. Many of you have reached out to thank us for the information and offers we have been specially putting together for you. We like that you like it!
We offered a number of rare and interesting coins in the U.S. Numismatic world all year long. 2016 will be even better. With that said, I present our first offer of 2016, the 1907 No Motto $10 Gold Indian. Like all of our spotlight items, this coin fits our strict criteria of being 1) historically important and 2) an outstanding value.
The key to this offer is all in the motto, ‘In God We Trust’… or lack thereof. For less than a year, the Gold $10 Indian coin did not carry this motto (known as a No Motto coin by collectors). The public outcry against leaving the motto off of this coin was so loud in 1908 that the U.S. Mint added the motto back on the 1908 $10 Indian. As a result, a type rarity was instantly born in the 1907 No Motto $10 Gold Indian. Take a look at the intriguing history of the coin…
One of the most significant stories in numismatics is the 1907-1908 redesign of America’s gold coinage. This event was noteworthy for three main reasons:
- It was ordered by Theodore Roosevelt, who concluded America’s coinage had become bland and uninteresting. One cannot blame Roosevelt for feeling this way. The gold denominations had not been significantly updated since the 1830’s and 1840’s. Roosevelt admired the artistic nature and high relief of ancient Greek coins. He decided America’s money should have the same flair.
- In lieu of in-house U.S. Mint staff, outside artists were employed for the 1907-1908 gold redesigns. Prior to 1907, virtually every United States coin was conceived and executed by a Philadelphia Mint employee. Roosevelt believed this resulted in ‘safe’ designs that were easy to produce, but hard on the eyes. The President commissioned outside artists, like Augustus Saint-Gaudens, to revamp America’s coinage. This was the beginning of a trend. Over the following decade or so, virtually every American coin denomination was redesigned by an outside sculptor or artist.
- It marked the first time the U.S. Mint attempted major format changes — like striking the $10/$20 coins in high relief and the $2.50/$5 with a sunken, incused format. Prior to 1907, American coinage designs were dictated by practicality first and aesthetics second. The new gold motifs of 1907-1908, meanwhile, were meant to dazzle and impress. Ultimately, some of the designs had to be toned down, as they proved virtually impossible to strike. Yet, even the modified and subdued versions were still stunningly beautiful.
Perhaps the most famous product of this era was the Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle, whose iconic image continues to be used on American Gold Eagles to this day. However, unbeknownst to most numismatists, the $10 Indian design was also created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. In fact, the Indian portrait motif was his first choice for the $20 Double Eagle. He felt it was “distinctly American and very picturesque.”
Before the Indian design was assigned to the $10 Eagle, a unique 1907 $20 Indian pattern coin was struck as a prototype. The obverse displays a female native American wearing a feather headdress, while the reverse depicts an eagle flying over the sun. It is essentially a combination of a $10 Indian obverse and a $20 Saint-Gaudens reverse. The coin was struck in extremely high relief and is exquisite in appearance. This unique specimen last changed hands in the mid-1980’s, when it sold for approximately $500,000. Today, the coin is valued in excess of $10 million and resides in a major New England collection.
Eventually, President Roosevelt decided to use the Indian portrait for the $10 Eagle obverse along with a standing eagle for the $10 reverse. At this point, the challenge was finding a way to execute Saint-Gaudens’ design without compromising production speed and quality. As many numismatists know, the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle went through numerous revisions in 1907, but the $10 Indian actually followed a similar course. Just as the 1907 Saint-Gaudens $20 exists in three versions (Ultra High Relief, High Relief and regular issue), so too does the 1907 Indian $10.
The next edition of 1907 $10 Indians was the Rolled Edge version, which was also plagued with strike issues. Whereas the Wire Edge was weak at the periphery and strongly impressed in the centers, the Rolled Edge had the opposite issue. The stars and wording at the edges were perfectly struck, but the central hair details came out incompletely. It was a case of one step forward and two steps back. A large number of these Rolled Edge coins were struck, but virtually all were melted due to the design flaw. Officially, just 42 coins were released, of which virtually all have survived. 1907 Rolled Edge $10’s sell for a minimum of $200,000 with superb MS66-MS67 pieces worth more like $300,000-$475,000.The first rendition of the $10 Indian is known as the Wire Edge variety, as a thin raised edge is present. This coin is technically a pattern, as just 500 pieces were struck as a trial run. The Mint had difficulty giving these coins a complete and full strike, which is why this version was discontinued so quickly. The central portions of the design were well-struck, but the peripheral details often displayed weakness. As the tiny mintage of 500 pieces would imply, 1907 Wire Edge Eagles are quite scarce. Most grade between MS63-65 and sell for $35,000-$75,000.
The Philadelphia Mint revised the 1907 $10 Indian again, but they still could not fix the strike issue. The final version was meant to be an improvement over the Rolled Edge edition, but it was still plagued by a weak strike over Liberty’s ear and on the eagle’s feathers. The Mint must have found a solution by 1908, as that year’s $10 Indians are usually well-struck, but the 1907 issue is notorious for having incomplete design definition.
While the 1907 $10 Indian may be known for strike issues, it still excelled in terms of eye appeal. Examples of this date display booming satiny luster, rich coloration and an outstanding overall appearance. While not classified as a ‘high relief’ per se, the 1907 $10 Indians have a noticeably bolder and more defined look than the 1908-1933 issues. The 1907 edition is much closer to Saint-Gaudens’ original design than the later dates.
It is important to note the 1907 issue is part of a scarce two-year type. The motto “IN GOD WE TRUST,” which had been featured on $10 Eagles since 1866, was somehow left off the 1907 $10 Indian (and some 1908’s). After significant public outcry and protests, the motto was brought back in mid-1908. This minor design change splits the $10 Indian series in two categories: the 1907-1908 No Motto issues and the 1908-1933 With Motto dates.
What few numismatists realize is what a vast difference in rarity exists between the No Motto and With Motto types. NGC, for example, has graded approximately 8,000 No Motto $10 Indians in all grades. By comparison, the With Motto version has a total population of over 171,000! The disparity becomes even greater in Uncirculated grades. NGC has graded 983 No Motto $10 Indians in MS63, compared to over 49,000 With Motto pieces.
The 1907 $10 Indian is an outstanding coin to own due to its fascinating history and status as a rare two-year type. We’ve long admired the coin, but for years, the challenge was finding reasonably-priced examples of this immensely popular coin. Finally, we were just recently approached with a high-quality and favorably priced group of 1907 $10 Indians, all in Uncirculated grades. Take a look at the performance of these various grades over the past 10 years in the charts below.
You can see there has been strong growth in all of these coins. Some of them have also recently come down a bit, creating a better buying opportunity for you.
Not only are these coins exceptionally solid for the grade, but we were offered them at surprisingly attractive prices. In fact, we have seen 1907 $10 Indians wholesale for well in excess of these prices over the past year. This represents an excellent opportunity to own this storied, beautiful coin at an outstanding entry point.
In summary, the 1907 $10 Indian boasts a gorgeous appearance and a fascinating backstory. It is a relative of the nine-figure Indian design pattern $20 and a more affordable version of the six-figure Rolled Edge 1907 $10. Compared to the With Motto $10 Indians of 1908-1933, the 1907 No Motto is drastically rarer but still extremely affordable. This beautiful first-year-of issue coin, sporting Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ preferred design, possesses a fantastic combination of history, aesthetics and value. All of our previous $10 Indian offerings have received a strong response — and we expect this one will be no exception.
We have the following available for you today:
|1907 $10 Indian||Quantity||X Rarer than Most Common $10 Indian||NGC Price Guide||Your Cost|
|MS 62||10||9.34x||$2,350||Call for price & availability|
|MS 63||19||29.26x||$3,800||Call for price & availability|
|MS 64||11||48.20x||$5,250||Call for price & availability|
|MS 65||5||-||$11,250||Call for price & availability|
Please note all coins sold will be NGC or PCGS certified. As with many of our offers, these coins will not last long, and they may not come around again for a while. Take advantage of this special offer by calling us at 800-831-0007, or by sending me an email.
*Prices listed include shipping, handling and insurance, but prices are subject to change due to market fluctuation and product availability.