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My 1907 High Relief Saint with interesting provenance

mcarney1173mcarney1173 Posts: 900 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited January 31, 2023 10:42AM in U.S. Coin Forum

At the end of 2022 I had made significant progress with my U.S. gold type set. When I started the set two years ago my goal was to seek out slightly better dates of each series. I was even willing to sacrifice a grade or two and pay a higher price for a date with lower survival/higher rarity. For instance, I selected an 1895-S $20 rather than a common 1904 or 1907. I selected a 1912 $10 rather than the common 1926 or 1932. I eventually came to the realization that the better dates/semi-keys/and key dates are better left to the specialists and those with deep pockets who strive to complete an entire set by date and mintmark. Also, it puzzled me that a coin with 1/10th of the survival rate of a common coin does not sell for 10 times as much.

This uncertainty about the set I was assembling happened right around the time that I stumbled upon a coin that I had always wanted in my collection: the 1907 High Relief $20 Saint. Even better, the coin I crossed paths with was extremely high quality for the grade and came with a interesting provenance.

The coin has been stored in the metal tin shown below for at least 100 years. The writing on the tin reads: “Mervyn Jr. July 12, 1920 at birth” and “From Aunt Marie[?] and Uncle Lew to our baby Mervyn Jr. July 12, 1920”. A local shop purchased this coin along with its metal tin which ultimately received the grade of AU58 and CAC approval.

As evidenced by the photos below, I believe this to be one of the nicest AU58 HR Saints that I have ever seen. There is slight rub on the high points but virtually no marks or hairlines in the fields often found on these coins. This particular coin has much better eye appeal than many 61s and 62s that I have encountered online.

Ultimately, this premium quality coin and its interesting backstory resulted in trading in my entire gold type set of slightly better date coins. I am happy with the decision and look forward to re-building the type set focusing on the highest grades I can afford.

I have shared this coin on other threads but thought it’s story would be worthy of its own post.






Comments

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    pcgscacgoldpcgscacgold Posts: 2,637 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very nice. I hope to find an AU58CAC like that some day. It will be the last Saint I buy (well maybe :smiley: )

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    divecchiadivecchia Posts: 6,527 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is my favorite of all the gold pieces. Yours is a beauty for sure.

    Congratulations!!!

    Donato

    Hobbyist & Collector (not an investor).
    Donato's Complete US Type Set ---- Donato's Dansco 7070 Modified Type Set ---- Donato's Basic U.S. Coin Design Set

    Successful transactions: Shrub68 (Jim), MWallace (Mike)
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    telephoto1telephoto1 Posts: 4,744 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great piece with a story. I love coins like this. Congrats


    RIP Mom- 1932-2012
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    oldabeintxoldabeintx Posts: 1,632 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow, what a smart choice and great value. Beautiful coin.

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    Glen2022Glen2022 Posts: 843 ✭✭✭✭

    Aunt Marie? and Uncle Lew must have been fairly well off as $20.00 was a fair sum at that time.

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    tcollectstcollects Posts: 839 ✭✭✭✭

    AU65

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    gumby1234gumby1234 Posts: 5,425 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Really sharp looking.

    Successful BST with ad4400, Kccoin, lablover, pointfivezero, koynekwest, jwitten, coin22lover, HalfDimeDude, erwindoc, jyzskowsi, COINS MAKE CENTS, AlanSki, BryceM

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    CharlotteDudeCharlotteDude Posts: 2,887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I really like a coin with a good story behind it.

    Got Crust....y gold?
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    coinandcurrency242coinandcurrency242 Posts: 1,958 ✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for sharing! I like the eye appeal!

    Positive BST as a seller: Namvet69, Lordmarcovan, Bigjpst, Soldi, mustanggt, CoinHoader, moursund, SufinxHi, al410, JWP

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    DeplorableDanDeplorableDan Posts: 2,534 ✭✭✭✭✭

    58cac is my favorite grade for an HR, and that is a wonderful example with a cool backstory. Congrats, and thanks for sharing!

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    keyman64keyman64 Posts: 15,455 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Definitely worthy of its own post. Congratulations!

    "If it's not fun, it's not worth it." - KeyMan64
    Looking for Top Pop Mercury Dime Varieties & High Grade Mercury Dime Toners. :smile:
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    kazkaz Posts: 9,067 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That coin is drop-dead gorgeous and really enhanced by the accompanying materials. What a great way to purpose your type set.

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    FloridafacelifterFloridafacelifter Posts: 1,153 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Beautiful coin- and I love a good coin story- and fortunately you still have the tin to go with the coin!

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    JimnightJimnight Posts: 10,812 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice one!

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    SmudgeSmudge Posts: 9,250 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That was a hell of a nice birthday gift. Great coin and back story.

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    goldengolden Posts: 9,052 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Super coin and a great story.

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    OldIndianNutKaseOldIndianNutKase Posts: 2,700 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The coloration on your coin is spectacular. I want to find some tin enclosures for coins I leave for my great-great grandchildren. with a message too. Very special.

    OINK

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    HillbillyCollectorHillbillyCollector Posts: 515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you OP.
    I commented on how much I loved this coin on another thread.
    I couldn’t figure what knocked it out of MS territory. But I’ve only purchased one Saint in my life, and it was just a generic off eBay.
    So I really don’t know how they grade.
    I would absolutely love to have one like yours.
    Smart purchase.

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    morgandollar1878morgandollar1878 Posts: 4,006 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great coin, thanks for sharing!

    Instagram: nomad_numismatics
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    BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,481 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I eventually came to the realization that the better dates/semi-keys/and key dates are better left to the specialists and those with deep pockets who strive to complete an entire set by date and mintmark. Also, it puzzled me that a coin with 1/10th of the survival rate of a common coin does not sell for 10 times as much.

    The price is not 10 times as much because the number of collectors who are working on complete sets of gold coins is very small. Therefore the rare or scarce dates don't get demand that is proportional to their rarity.

    I completed a set of Type I and Type II gold dollars. I hit the wall with the Type IIIs because of the 1856-D, 1861-D and 1875 among others. I did complete a "short set," the 1880 though 1889. Many of those coins are very beautiful and available in high grade. I got lucky and bought some of them when the grading was very tight.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What a beautiful gold coin.... and the accompanying tin is a nice touch. Now you can add the genealogical history provided above by @yosclimber. Great acquisition. Cheers, RickO

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    mcarney1173mcarney1173 Posts: 900 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 1, 2023 7:32AM

    @yosclimber said:
    Since you are interested in the provenance, and I am an amateur genealogist,
    I was tempted to find the identity of Mervyn Jr, as well as his Aunt Minnie and Uncle Lew.
    Given his exact birth date and all these names, it was not that hard to find.

    Mervyn Jr = Mervyn Sluizer Jr 1920-2000 .
    Mervyn Sr = Mervyn Sluizer Sr 1893-1950.
    Aunt Minnie = Minnie Sluizer Abrahams 1868-1949 (aunt of Mervyn Sr)
    Uncle Lew = Lewis Abrahams 1865-1942 (uncle of Mervyn Sr)

    Lewis Abraham's occupation in the 1900 Census was "Superintendent".
    In 1920, Minnie was in Philadelphia, but Lewis was apparently in Stamford, CT, an "inmate" -
    possibly a tuberculosis sanatarium?
    In 1930, Lewis and Minnie were back living together in Philadelphia.

    You would probably not be surprised to learn that Mervyn Jr was born in Philadelphia, home of the US Mint.
    He became a Chemical Engineer.


    https://brotmanblog.com/2014/07/13/elizabeth-cohens-descendants-the-story-continued/
    https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/GVHB-3Q5

    @yosclimber , this is fascinating information. Thank you for taking the time to research this family. I will definitely be printing out some of this history to make sure this story stays well documented. It is worth noting that I live outside of Philadelphia and suspect that this coin has never left Philadelphia and its suburbs since it was produced (with the exception of a short trip to PCGS and CAC). The coin shop I purchased this coin from (also near Philadelphia) acquired the piece in the metal tin pictured in my original post. Obviously this coin was very much appreciated and well taken care of as it will continue to be for the long distant future.

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    DisneyFanDisneyFan Posts: 1,697 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I find it interesting that a 1907 coin was given in 1920. And then it's a High Relief Wire Edge that was issued for normal circulation and ended up being graded AU58.

    The back story is the high relief made the coin impossible to stack properly and thus was unpopular and unsuitable for commercial purposes. Many received their wear from being used as jewelry or pocket pieces rather than from commercial use.

    Was the metal tin anything special?

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    PedzolaPedzola Posts: 1,009 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Congrats on this pickip, I'm glad you went for it! This is a super nice Saint. I think you made a great decision.

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    winestevenwinesteven Posts: 4,057 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @yosclimber , your detective work is absolutely fascinating, especially the amazing lengthy details and photo. I tried to give your reply 10 “Likes”, but the system only allows for one, lol.

    With all of the detailed information you found, I’m surprised you didn’t come across someone’s underwear size, lol.

    GREAT reply, something that adds tremendously to the fascinating OP! Thanks!

    Steve

    A day without fine wine and working on your coin collection is like a day without sunshine!!!

    My collecting “Pride & Joy” is my PCGS Registry Dansco 7070 Set:
    https://www.pcgs.com/setregistry/type-sets/design-type-sets/complete-dansco-7070-modified-type-set-1796-date/publishedset/213996
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    SametsSamets Posts: 109 ✭✭✭

    What an amazing story and coin. Congrats on being it's caretaker.

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    oih82w8oih82w8 Posts: 11,896 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2, 2023 3:50PM

    That is an exceptional Double Eagle! I would eat ramen for months, probably years, to secure one just like that one.

    oih82w8 = Oh I Hate To Wait _defectus patientia_aka...Dr. Defecto - Curator of RMO's

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    GoldFinger1969GoldFinger1969 Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 3, 2023 9:23AM

    @DisneyFan said: > I find it interesting that a 1907 coin was given in 1920. And then it's a High Relief Wire Edge that was issued for normal circulation and ended up being graded AU58. The back story is the high relief made the coin impossible to stack properly and thus was unpopular and unsuitable for commercial purposes. Many received their wear from being used as jewelry or pocket pieces rather than from commercial use. > Was the metal tin anything special?

    Actually, not that surprising. They probably wanted to give their great-nephew a coin that was special and the MCMVII HRs were always considered special at that time. By 1920, the premium from the run-up in 1907 had long faded and you could get a nice MCMVII HR for $22 or less.

    The High Reliefs were very well preserved....very few people got one intending to spend it or put it in circulation. In fact, the price spiked during 1907 to as much as $35 for pristine coins.

    I guess the other option would have been to get a 1920 Saint, the year of his birth.

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    NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 883 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 5, 2023 8:56AM

    @mcarney1173 This coin is really nice for the grade. The story makes it even cooler! Congrats!!

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

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    JW77JW77 Posts: 460 ✭✭✭✭✭

    beautiful coin, congrats and great strategy! To my eye I prefer clean AU58s over low grade MS coins with all the chatter. If you ever go another direction I'll be waiting :)

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    OldIndianNutKaseOldIndianNutKase Posts: 2,700 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JW77 said:
    beautiful coin, congrats and great strategy! To my eye I prefer clean AU58s over low grade MS coins with all the chatter. If you ever go another direction I'll be waiting :)

    You have excellent perspective relative to AU58 vs. low grade MS. AU grade should extend to at least AU64 to accurately represent actual coin condition.

    OINK

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    dsessomdsessom Posts: 2,212 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is the type of stuff that makes coin collecting really interesting! I was going to do the genealogy, but others beat me to it. That is just a drop dead gorgeous coin, and it's value is almost as much as my entire V nickel collection! LOL
    Thank you for sharing the photos and story!

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    GoldFinger1969GoldFinger1969 Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭✭

    @OldIndianNutKase said:

    @JW77 said:
    beautiful coin, congrats and great strategy! To my eye I prefer clean AU58s over low grade MS coins with all the chatter. If you ever go another direction I'll be waiting :)

    You have excellent perspective relative to AU58 vs. low grade MS. AU grade should extend to at least AU64 to accurately represent actual coin condition.

    OINK

    I think MS-63's are close enough, certainly if they CAC. Below 62, definitely agree.

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    dsessomdsessom Posts: 2,212 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @OldIndianNutKase said:

    @JW77 said:
    beautiful coin, congrats and great strategy! To my eye I prefer clean AU58s over low grade MS coins with all the chatter. If you ever go another direction I'll be waiting :)

    You have excellent perspective relative to AU58 vs. low grade MS. AU grade should extend to at least AU64 to accurately represent actual coin condition.

    OINK

    I totally agree, and have always pushed PCGS for an AU59 designation, but alas, I suppose they didn't think it was a worthy idea. I also believe Trueview images should be a standard part of the grading process - both for Registry junkies like myself, and as a way to identify the coin in case of counterfeiting, theft, etc.

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    OldIndianNutKaseOldIndianNutKase Posts: 2,700 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 8, 2023 2:08PM

    @dsessom I don't think the grading scale has to necessarily stop at 58 for circulated coins and start at 60 for mint state coins. Just an almost imperceptible amount of rub should not limit the numerical grade of the coin, just the prefix of AU or MS. I see lots of MS coins with enough marks to limit their grade to XF. They could be MS45 perhaps.

    OINK

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    Downtown1974Downtown1974 Posts: 6,721 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That is an absolute stunner @mcarney1173
    What a great coin to lay the foundation with towards completing the type set.

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    SoldiSoldi Posts: 2,022 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good Ol' Uncle Lew

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    ashelandasheland Posts: 22,686 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Spectacular!
    I like a scarce coin like anyone else, but for my type set I will go with the most common as long as it’s high grade and has great eye appeal.

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