1909/8 $20 MS61 Certification #36214009, PCGS #9151
How have David Akers' comments (see below) on this variety withstood the test of time? Pretty well, actually. He was right that this date is "not particularly difficult to locate in MS-63 and lower grades and even in MS-64" (the most common certified Mint State grade is actually MS-62). Akers wrote, "In MS-65 and better condition, however, the 1909/8 is very rare and almost never available." Again, he is right; PCGS has certified only 16 MS-65, 4 MS-66, and no finer examples (as of April 2011). PCGS differs from Mr. Akers only in regard to MS-67 examples; Akers claims to have seen "at least three superb (MS-67) quality pieces," where PCGS has certified none. However, Akers may be right...it may be that none of the 67's have made it to PCGS yet. Finally, Akers referred to "a few hundred pieces ...found in Europe"; these may be the source of many of the MS-62 and MS-63 examples known today.
David Akers (1975/88)Because it is an overdate and a very clear one at that, the 1909/8 is a very popular coin. It is not a particularly rare one, however, except in gem condition. It is not as rare overall as the 1909 normal date and is not particularly difficult to locate in MS-63 or lower grades and even in MS-64, this issue is seen with some regularity. In MS-65 or better condition, however, the 1909/8 is very rare and almost never available. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a few hundred pieces were found in Europe but many of them were circulated. I have seen at least three superb (MS-67) quality pieces and I am sure there are more, as well as 20 to 25 gems.
This is the only overdate among the gold issues from 1907 to 1933. The dies were left over from the 1908 No Motto issues and so the 1909/8 has the same "flat" look to the obverse that the other No Motto issues do. This issue is almost always well struck (the flatness on the obverse, remember, is the result of a weakness in the dies, not the strike) and the typical 1909/8 has that "soft" frosty appearance that is quite appealing. Color and lustre are usually very good and almost all specimens are a light to medium greenish gold, some with a slight orange or coppery tint.