In 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned noted sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to redesign the entire American coinage spectrum from the cent to the double eagle. Working in his studio in Cornish, New Hampshire (now a National Historic Site), the artist prepared many sketches. In failing health, Saint-Gaudens was able to complete or nearly complete work for just two denominations, the $10 and $20, both of which were first struck in 1907.
His $10 design bore on the obverse a female wearing an Indian war bonnet, said to have been taken from the portrait of his mistress, Davida Clark, with whom he is alleged to have had a child (although biographers have never been able to confirm this). There was an objection in the popular press concerning the portrait, for it was stated that the effigy was of one Mary Cunningham, an Irish-born waitress who worked in a restaurant in Windsor, Vermont, across the river from Cornish, New Hampshire. Some do-gooders said that an immigrant girl should not be depicted on our coins, and that such a design was unfit for use. All of this made interesting reading at the time, but was quickly forgotten.
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The American Eagle Gold Proof Coins are collector versions of the official United States Mint American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins and are available in limited mintages in four sizes – one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce, as well as a four-coin set which contains one coin in each size. The 2010 American Eagle Gold Proof Four-Coin Set is packaged in a blue velvet, satin-lined presentation case and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity signed by the Director of the United States Mint.
The obverse features Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ full-length figure of Liberty with flowing hair holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left. The reverse design, executed by sculptor Miley Busiek, features a male eagle carrying an olive branch flying above a nest containing a female eagle and her eaglets.
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