Interesting facts: Proof issues of this type are controversial and cases have been made for and against their existence. All Matte Proofs have been discredited, and Satin Proofs are certified by some grading services, but not by others. Unfortunately, no Mint records exist to support or deny their existence.
In 1907 Augustus Saint-Gaudens created what is perhaps the most famous and beautiful of all American coin designs. The initial Saint-Gaudens design was struck in high relief, giving the coins an almost sculptured appearance. As a classic touch, the date was expressed in Roman numerals, MCMVII. Because of the higher relief, they became impractical for normal use, but Theodore Roosevelt was so insistent on having coins presented to the public, theat the Mint Director used every available medal press in the Mint and ran them around the clock until he produced more than 11,000 examples. The design was an immediate hit, and the High Reliefs began selling for premiums above their face value almost immediately upon release.
The design was later modified to a shallow format to permit production on high speed coinage presses. It is a tribute to Saint-Gaudens that when the Mint in 1986 decided to create bullion-type gold coins, it could not improve upon what Saint-Gaudens did in 1907, and it resurrected his design, even using updated Roman numerals.
MCMVII High Relief pieces are scarce today, although probably at least 2,000 or 3,000 exist. The demand for them is such that they have always found a ready market. Nearly anyone who aspires to form a set of gold coins desires to own at least one specimen.
Obverse: A full-length figure of Liberty in flowing robe strides towards the viewer. The Capitol dome can be seen in the far background.
Reverse: An eagle flies left through the rays of the sun.
Overall: The High Relief is common in Mint State, but only up through MS65. MS66 examples are scarce, MS67 examples are extremely rare, and only a few examples are known in higher grades. There are only two finest known examples at MS69.