1905 $10 Cameo PF-67 NGC
Christian Gobrecht, designer; motto added by James Longacre
Obverse: Head of Liberty facing left, her hair in an elaborate chignon, wearing a coronet on which LIBERTY is emblazoned; around, thirteen stars; below, 1905.
Reverse: Displayed eagle, head facing left, with shield emblazoned on its chest holding olive branch and three arrows in its talons; above eagle, inscribed on a ribbon: the motto, IN GOD WE TRUST; around, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; below, TEN D.
Condition: NGC Proof 67 Cameo (Certificate number: 1963253-010 Photo Proof 10-07; previous Photo Proof 07-06 [number 1962650-001]).
Exceptionally well-struck with deeper and richer contrast than usually encountered with these early twentieth century proofs. An un-toned deep golden color, with nearly 'black' fields. Minor lintmarks before the coronet and behind the eagle's neck are hallmarks of this example, as are two tiny carbon spots, one below Liberty's neck, and one to the left of OF. This issue is notoriously prone toward heavy carbon spotting, from which this wonderful example is remarkably free.
References: Breen (Encyclopedia) 7083; Breen (Proofs) p. 204; Akers (1980) p. 233. Garrett & Guth (Encyclopedia) p. 416. (PCGS 88845)
Condition Census: One of the finest known. NGC has graded three examples as Proof 67, one with a star and one Ultra cameo, none finer. The PCGS population report lists no examples finer than Proof 65, but a PCGS Proof 66 (with heavy carbon spotting) was sold at auction in June 2004, and was most probably re-graded by NGC. (07-13)
Rarity: Rare. Mint records indicate that 86 proofs were struck, and the standard works all speculate a survival rate of anywhere from twenty examples (Akers) to thirty-five examples (Akers in the John J. Pittman catalogue), a number with which Breen agrees, though he does call the issue "under appreciated"; Garrett and Guth suggest a few more, but emphasize that it is one of the scarcer of the twentieth century proofs, and that Gems are rare. This comment is confirmed by both the PCGS and NGC auction price statistics which cite no 1905 eagle certified Proof 67 ever appearing at auction; the highest graded example recorded at auction was a Proof 66 PCGS nearly a decade ago.
Provenance: The Tacasyl Collection.
Note: In 1905 Gobrecht's design, after a nearly seventy-year run had only a couple of more years of production. Even as they were being struck their demise was already in the works. At the very end of 1904 President Theodore Roosevelt wrote his famous letter condemning the neo-classical imagery of the then-circulating U.S. coins as being of "atrocious hideousness," a comment which was the start of Roosevelt's grand scheme to get Augustus Saint-Gaudens to commit to a redesign of the nation's gold coinage.