Many consider the twenty-dollar gold piece designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens to be the most beautiful U.S. coin. The first coins issued were slightly more than 12,000 highrelief pieces struck for general circulation. Their relief is much higher than for later issues, and the date 1907 is in Roman numerals (MCMVII). A few of the Proof coins were made using the lettered-edge collar from the ultra high relief version. These can be distinguished by a pronounced bottom left serif on the N in UNUM, and other minor differences. High-relief Proofs are trial or experimental pieces. Flat-relief double eagles were issued later in 1907 with Arabic numerals, and continued through 1933.
The field of the rare, ultra high relief experimental pieces is exceedingly concave and connects directly with the edge without any border, giving it a sharp, knifelike appearance; Liberty’s skirt shows two folds on the side of her right leg; the Capitol building in the background at left is very small; the sun, on the reverse side, has 14 rays, as opposed to the 13 rays on regular high-relief coins.
The Proof finish of 1908 and 1911 through 1915 coins was originally referred to by the Mint as Sand Blast Proof. Proof coins minted in 1909 and 1910 have a different finish described as Satin Proof. In addition, double eagles from 1907 through 1911 have 46 stars on the obverse; and from 1912 through 1933, 48 stars.