legendary Coins and Currency
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Some coins become legendary because of their<br />exceptional design and beauty.
Portrait of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.
Portrait of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

AMERICA’S MOST BEAUTIFUL MONEY


President Theodore Roosevelt wanted to create captivating new American coins inspired by high-relief classical Greek designs. For this project, he selected the gifted sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who conceived beautiful designs for the ten- and twenty-dollar gold pieces. Saint-Gaudens’s ideas transformed traditional coinage into unprecedented works of art.

Ultra High Relief Pattern Double Eagles, 1907

INSPIRING IMAGES


Although Saint Gaudens’s design for the twenty dollar piece (the Double Eagle) retained a traditional Liberty figure, he recast her striding purposefully forward, full of confidence. His eagle, also energized, flies above the sun.

These ultra-high relief coins proved hard to make. Saint-Gaudens’s concepts were scaled down to a lower relief. But the Mint’s chief engraver insisted on yet a lower relief. He prevailed and what once had been an artistic masterpiece was literally flattened.
Legendary Beauties The following objects are in this section.
Ancient Greek Silver Coin (Dekadrachm), about 400 B.C.E.United States, 20 Dollars, 1906 (Pattern)United States 10 Dollars, 1907 (Pattern)
Roosevelt Inaugural Medal, 1905United States, 20 Dollars, 1907United States, 10 Dollars, 1908
United States, 20 Dollars, 1907 (Pattern)United States, 20 Dollars, 1907 
United States, 20 Dollars, 1907 (Experimental)United States. 20 Dollars, 1908 (Matte Proof) 
 
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