Where are the 1907 ultra high relief double eagles? Only 16 to 20 of these amazing coins exist, so where are they? If you wanted one, could you even buy it?
Let’s see what we can find when we deep dive into the 1907 ultra high relief double eagle.
Some experts have said 22 of the ultra high relief double eagles were struck, with 2 melted after testing. Others say only 13 were struck.
Regardless, they are scarce, rare, worth millions, and if you want to buy one, they are very difficult to acquire.
Why would you want to own a 1907 ultra high relief double eagle? You can read my explanation about why the Saint-Gaudens double eagles are the ultimate collectible coin, or you can just know that quality and rarity are kings in collecting.
All the great coin collectors have chased the 1907 ultra high relief double eagle. Some have achieved their goal, and for others, the coin has remained elusive.
Original Owners of the 1907 Ultra High Relief
After the ultra high relief proofs were struck, most were given away by President Theodore Roosevelt as gifts. Some coin experts refer to this gesture as, “Roosevelt’s “pet crime.”
You would think it would be simple to find 20 world-famous coins, but it’s not. For over 115 years, these prized coins have been bought and sold between some of the biggest coin collectors of all-time.
Let’s start from the very beginning, and find out who was distributed the very first pattern coins in extremely high relief.
Coin #1 – PCGS Graded PR-69
Finest graded ultra high relief coin to exist. ANA Convention auction by Jim Kelly, 1956. John E. Wilkinson, Paramount purchased the Wilkinson Collection in 1973. A-Mark Auction 1980. Ed Trompeter estate, Heritage private sale 1999.
Phillip Morse Collection, Heritage sale 2005. Madison Collection, private collector, Baltimore Sale Stack’s Bowers, 2012, sold to Steve Contursi and Don Kagin for $2,760,000.
Normal edge lettering. Second striking period.
Coin #2 – PCGS Graded PR-67
Bowers and Merena Galleries, January 1997 consignment from Norweb family.
Ira and Larry Goldberg purchased from Dr. Richard Ariagno Collection in 1999?
Coin #3 – Roosevelt Museum
Remains in the Theodore Roosevelt Museum to this day.
Coin #4 – Roosevelt to Personal Friend, Roman Finish, Uncertified
Given to a friend by Roosevelt, Daniel J. Terra to Theodore Ullmer Collection 1974 sold for $200,000, Manfra, then Tordella, and Brookes.
Normal edge lettering.
Coin #5 – Smithsonian PR-65 Uncertified
Robert Schermerhorn from Stack’s, to Josiah K. Lilly Collection, Lilly estate to Smithsonian, 1968.
Normal edge lettering.
Coin #6 – Smithsonian
From the Mint Cabinet to the Smithsonian. Might be inverted edge lettering. PR-67, uncertified.
Coin #7 – Smithsonian
President Roosevelt to grandson of the President Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt, to Smithsonian in 1962.
Normal edge lettering.
Coin #8 – PCGS PR-68 Kosoff Estate
A-Mark (Steve Markoff), Bowers and Ruddy Galleries, Abe Kosoff, Sam Bloomfield, sold by Sam and Rie Bloomfield Foundation Collection by Sotheby’s December 1996. Dwight Manley, John Albanese, then a midwest collector.
Inverted edge letters.
Coin #9 – The Only Plain Edge – Barber Coin
Apparently, Charles E. Barber, the Chief of the Mint grabbed an ultra high relief for himself. Now in ANS?
Chief Engraver Barber to Captain Andrew North, exhibited by Stack’s at 1956 ANA Convention.
Group 1 – John Danruther, private collection, sold at “The Rarest” collection, 1980. Swiss Banking Corporation. Jim Jelinski, private collection 1883-1984.
Grade unknown, no edge lettering.
Coin #10 – 2nd Barber Coin, PR-65+ Uncertified
To private collection via Stack’s 1980. Julian Leidman, Hugh Sconyers, 1985. Ira Einhorn from Warren Trepp in 1990 for $1.5 million. Kevin Lipton via Blanchard & Co. private collection.
Inverted edge lettering.
Coin #11 – 3rd Barber Coin, Grade Unknown, Uncertified
Barber to Arthur J. Fecht, loaned to American Numismatic Society 1945. Became property of ANS at the death of Fecht’s sister 1979.
Normal edge lettering.
Coin #12 – “ASG” PCGS Graded PR-68
Mint Cabinet coin, group 2, second striking period. One of two Mint Cabinet coins. George Kunz arranged to loan it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from the Cabinet in 1908. This coin went to Augusta Saint-Gaudens’ wife on June 22 1908, at the request of Roosevelt.
Augusta’s wife owned the coin but loaned it to the American Numismatic Society in 1910. Still in the ANS, marked with “ASG” on the edge.
Presented to the family of Augusta Saint-Gaudens in 1908. Exhibited at the 1914 ANS Exhibition. Owned by Homer Saint-Gaudens in the late 1950s, sold privately. Held until early 1970s.
Saint-Gaudens family sold to Albert Fairchild Holden(Norweb’s father) Norweb family?
Sold by Bowers and Merena Galleries, 1997 consigned from Norweb family.
Sold by Heritage for $2,115,000 in January 2015.
Coin #13 – Treasury Secretary Courtelyou
There’s some evidence Treasury Secretary Courtelyou was given a 1907 ultra high relief double eagle.
Coin #14 – Mint Director Frank Leach or Robert Preston?
Joseph C. Mitchelson to the Connecticut State Library in Hartford.
Coin #15 – NGC Graded PR-58, Mint Director George Roberts?
Possibly from Mint Director George E. Roberts in 1907.
Group 1, Sotheby’s sale in 1992. Morrison/Licht Collection, 2005. Samuel Berngard, Stack’s sale in 2008. Stack’s sale, 2009. Heritage sale, 2012.
Inverted edge lettering. Sans Serif.
Coin #16 – PR-69 Uncertified Clapp
Mathieu, Townsend, Thomas Elder, 1920.
John H. Clapp, Clapp estate to Louis Eliasberg in 1942, sold by Stack’s. Bowers and Ryddy, 1982 to M. Brownlee for the Harry Bass Collection, Harry Bass Jr.
On loan to the Edward E. Rochette Money Museum at ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs until 2022.
Sold in August 2023 for $4.32 million.
Inverted edge lettering.
Coin #17 – 1st Coin, Col. E.H.R. Green, PR-65 Uncertified
Col. E.H.R. Green, to J.F. Bell Collection, Stack’s 1944. C.T. Weihman, Frank J. Hein, Hein Family Collection. Heritage to Simpson Collection, sold for $1,840,000 in 2007.
Coin #18 – 2nd Coin of Col. E.H.R. Green?
Colonel E.H.R. Green from Stack’s, to King Farouk, Palace Collections of Egypt, Sotheby’s 1954. Kosoff Collection, 1985. Inverted edge lettering.
Coin #19 – Kreisberg-Schulman?
Yale University via Empire Coin Company 1960. Abner Kreisberg, Lichtenfels/Linder Collections, Kreisberg, Schulman, 1961. Primary Bartle Collection via Stack’s 1985.
Normal edge lettering.
Coin #20 – Kern?
Jerome Kern Collection from B. Max Mehl, 1950, Golden Jubilee Sale.
Tracking Every 1907 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Coin
|Coin||Originated||Past Owners||Current Owner||Estimated Value||Notes|
|#1 Jim Kelly||Jim Kelly, 1956, John E. Wilkinson, Paramount 1973, Ed Trompeter estate, Phillip Morse Collection 2005, Madison Collection, Steve Contursi and Don Kagin||$2,760,000||Normal edge lettering, second striking period, PCGS PR69|
|#2 Norweb family||Ira and Larry Goldberg 1999, Dr. Richard Ariagno Collection|
|#3 Roosevelt Museum|
|#4 Ullmer Collection||Roosevelt gave the coin to a personal friend||Daniel J. Terra, Theodore Ullmer Collection, Manfra, Tordella, Brookes||Normal edge lettering|
|#5 Smithsonian #1||Mint Cabinet||Mint Cabinet directly to the Smithsonian||Smithsonian||Possibly inverted edge lettering, PR67, uncertified.|
|#6 Smithsonian #2||Robert Schermerhorn, Josiah K. Lilly Collection, Lilly Estate to Smithsonian 1968.||Smithsonian||Normal edge lettering. PR65, uncertified.|
|#7 Smithsonian #3||President Roosevelt||Grandson of the President, Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt to the Smithsonian in 1962||Smithsonian||Normal edge lettering.|
|#8 Kosoff Estate||Steve Markoff, Abe Kosoff, Sam Bloomfield, Dwight Manley, John Albanese.||Midwest Collector||Inverted edge letters.|
|#9 Charles E. Barber #1 Plain Edge||Charles Barber||Chief of the Mint Charles Barber, Captain Andrew North, John Danruther, Swiss Banking Corporation 1980, Jim Jelinski 1984.||Grade unknown, uncertified, no edge lettering.|
|#10 Charles E. Barber #2||Charles Barber||Julian Leidman, Hugh Sconyers 1985, Warren Trepp, Ira Einhorn 1990, Kevin Lipton.||Inverted edge lettering. Grade unknown, uncertified.|
|#11 Charles E. Barber #3||Charles Barber||Arthur J. Fecht, loaned to American Numismatic Society 1945, became property of ANS at the death of Fecht's sister 1979.||Normal Edge lettering.|
|#12 Mint Cabinet #2||Augusta Saint-Gaudens family||Loaned to Metropolitan Museum of Art 1908, then to Augusta Saint-Gaudens wife by request from President Roosevelt, Homer Saint-Gaudens sold in late 1950s, Albert Fairchild Holden (Norweb family), Norweb consigned in 1997, sold again in 2015 for $2,115,000.||$2,115,000||PCGS Graded PR68|
|#13 Treasury Secretary Courtelyou?|
|#14 Mint Director Frank Leach?||Robert Preston?||Joseph C. Mitchelson to Connecticut State Library in Hartford.|
|#15 Mint Director George Roberts?||George Roberts?||Morrison/Licht Collection 2005, Samuel Berngard 2008, Stack's sale 2009, Heritage sale 2012.||Inverted edge lettering, Sans Serif.|
|#16 Clapp||Mathieu, Townsend, Thomas Elder 1920, John H. Clapp estate, Louis Eliasberg 1942, Bowers and Ryddy 1982, Harry Bass Collection.||$4,320,000||Sold in August 2023. Inverted edge lettering. PR69|
|#17 Col. E.H.R. Green #1||Col. E.H.R. Green to J.F. Bell Collection 1944. C.T. Weihman, Frank J. Hein, Simpson Collection 2007.||PR65, uncertified.|
|#18 Col. E.H.R. Green #2||Colonel E.H.R. Green to King Farrouk 1954, Kosoff Collection 1985||Inverted edge lettering|
|#19 Yale University||Yale University 1960, Abner Kreisberg, Lichtenfels/Linder Collection, Kreisberg, Schulman 1961, Primary Bartle Collection 1985.||Normal edge lettering.|
|#20 Kern||Jerome Kern Collection from B. Max Mehl 1950|
I need your help in my search for the 1907 Ultra Relief Saints!
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1907 Ultra Relief Double Eagle Variations
1907 ultra high relief double eagles were struck in three separate groups, and four different edge treatments. One plain edge, one with Sans Serif edge lettering, an inverted edge lettering version, and a few with normal edge lettering.
Group 1 – 3 coins with 1 of those plain edge. The die broke before the final step. Edge letters read with obverse face up.
Group 2 – 12 or more coins. Edge letters read with reverse side up, called “inverted edge lettering.” Chief of the Mint Charles Barber ended up with a handful of coins, according to some experts, and there’s no way to know exactly how many he confiscated and later distributed.
Group 3 – 3 coins. Edge letters read with reverse side up, “inverted edge lettering.”
Dies for the ultra high relief 1907 coins were destroyed on January 2nd, 1908. When President Roosevelt ordered the Mint to honor Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ family with a coin after the sculptors passing, Mint officials couldn’t produce another coin. To avoid the need to create new dies, the Mint gave the Gaudens’ family an existing sample coin from the Mint Cabinet.
How to Find a 1907 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle
So you’re searching for 1907 ultra high relief double eagles? That’s great, the only problem is one of these twenty coins only come up for sale every few years. Can you be so patient? Most people with the budget to peruse such a coin prefer not to wait around for several years.
There are other ways to entice existing holders of the ‘Ultra Relief Saints.’ And if you’re thinking about selling yours, let me know. I might be able to arrange an interested buyer.
A Guide Book of Double Eagle Coins – Q. David Bowers
Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle Gold Coin – Complete History