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- 26th president of the United States (1858–1919)
MIDDLETOWN - Unsatisfied with the drab look of U.S. currency, President Theodore Roosevelt wanted to make a change, selecting a now-rare $10 gold coin that today is up for sale by a Middletown coin dealer.
The coin is a 1907 $10 Rolled Edge, with a woman wearing an Indian war bonnet on one side and an eagle perched on the branch of the other. The coin, called an "Indian" and estimated to bring $500,000 to $550,000, is rare. The vast majority of the coins were melted down and destroyed before they could be released, according to Legend Rare Coin Auctions.
The coin, and an "exceedingly rare" 1907 $10 Wire Edge, is going on the block at a Jan. 27 auction at the Professional Coin Grading Service Members Only Show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. "They are special gold coins," said Laura Sperber, founding partner of Legend Rare Coin Auctions.
The coins have a story. Roosevelt believed the design of U.S. coins were "blah" compared to European coins, Sperber said. Having traveled throughout Europe in his youth, he remembered the high-relief design of ancient Greek coins his saw in museums.
Roosevelt believed the United States should have coinage designs that reflected the country's greatness, according to historical accounts. In 1905, he met with American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and the two planned to redesign every denomination from the cent to the double eagle, or $20 coin. Saint-Gaudens, who died in 1907 at age 59, only got as far as creating a $20 Double Eagle and a $10 Eagle. "Many people think it's one of the most beautiful designs of all U.S. coins," Sperber said.
The $10 coins were never circulated. The high relief design of the Wire Edge $10 piece and very narrow rim created "stacking" problems and the design was rejected after 500 were struck, Legend Rare Coin Auctions said. The coin's rim was modified to create the Rolled Edge. It was intended for circulation, but only 42 were minted, making it one of the rarest of all U.S. gold-type coins.
David P. Willis: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Middletown NJ dealer Legend could sell $10 Rolled Edge coin for $500K