Proof Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles (Buy on eBay) were struck at the Philadelphia Mint from 1907 to 1915. Similar to other proof gold coinage of the era, mintage levels were extremely limited since few collectors could afford the high face value. During this time, the Mint would also transition from reflective proofs to a series of alternative finishes. Across all years, these proofs are rare and highly desirable with infrequent opportunities for acquisition.
In 1907, the Ultra High Relief Double Eagle pattern was struck in proof format with a reflective finish. The High Relief version struck during the same year has a number of pieces certified as proofs, however the status is controversial. Finally, three examples for this year struck with the lowered relief have been certified as proofs. These are believed to have been struck as experimental pieces.
Regular proof production for the series would begin in 1908 with a total reported mintage of 101 pieces. The majority of these coins carried a matte finish, which was created after striking by placing the coins in a closed glass box and blasting them with grains of sand. This created a fine texture on the surfaces of the coin, giving it a matte-like appearance. A small number of coins for this year are also known with the Roman finish.
In 1909 and 1910, the majority of production would take place with the Roman finish with mintages of 67 and 167 pieces, respectively. A single 1910 proof with a matte finish is known. The Roman finish coins were struck on regular planchets with special dies but did not receive any post-strike treatment. This resulted in sharply struck pieces with bright and slightly reflective surfaces.
For the remaining years of proof production from 1911 to 1915, the matte finish would be adopted once again, but with finer grained surfaces. Mintage levels steadily declined and survival rates are low, suggesting that many pieces were unsold and later melted. The mintages were 100 pieces for 1911, 74 pieces for 1912, 58 pieces for 1913, 70 pieces for 1914, and 50 pieces for 1915.