By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com ……
CoinWeek Content Partner
If you’re a regular visitor to my site, you’ve likely noticed a considerable number of gold dollars listed (and many sold). The reason for this preponderance of gold dollars is a combination of buying a wonderful specialized collection around a month before the recent ANA show, locating some neat individual gold dollars at this event, and pure numismatic randomness. I thought I’d share three of these with you, none of which stayed with me long enough to make it on our site.
1849-D PCGS MS65
The 1849-D is the most common gold dollar from Dahlonega by a large margin but this issue is far rarer than most collectors realize in higher grades. Properly graded MS63 1849-D dollars are very rare, and I can only recall seeing one or two that I felt were accurately graded at the MS64.
1849-D $1.00 Gold PCGS MS65. Images courtesy Douglas Winter Numismatics (DWN)
I became aware of a newly-graded PCGS MS65 1849-D when a dealer with whom I am very friendly told me about this coin after he had purchased it (raw) and had it graded. I was never able to buy it from him, and I later learned that it was consigned to the Stack’s Bowers August 2021 post-ANA auction.
I was shown a magnificent Gem 1849-D gold dollar while at an Atlanta coin show around 20-25 years ago and I’m assuming that this was the same coin. It had previously been owned by F.C.C. Boyd and Jake Shapiro (aka “Jake Bell”) and was once in the Adolph Menjou sale.
This piece is far and away the finest known for the date. The obverse is the best I have ever seen on any gold dollar from this mint with blazing frosty luster, an amazing 3-D strike, and superb rose, green-gold, and orange hues. The reverse, as is always the case with this date, is not as sharply struck or as lustrous but it was clearly exceptional for a D-mint gold dollar of any issue.
I purchased this coin for $78,000 USD; a record price for the date and a price that is tied with a PCGS/CAC MS65+ 1853-D as the single highest auction price ever recorded for a Type I gold dollar from this branch mint.
The coin was sold to a prominent eastern collector who has quietly assembled the finest collection of business strike gold dollars. Virtually every coin in his set is the finest known (or very high in the Condition Census), and this 1849-D was a perfect fit in his assemblage.
1852-C PCGS/CAC MS65
This impressive coin was one of the highlights of a fresh set of gold dollars that I split with another dealer in a sealed bid sale held in the mid-Atlantic region a short time prior to the start of the 2021 ANA sale. The set varied greatly in quality (as do most sets put together in the 1940s and ’50s, based on my personal experience with such collections), with coins ranging from no-grades all the way up to MS68.
1852-C Gold $1.00 PCGS MS65 CAC
A highlight coin in this set, in my opinion, was a PCGS MS65 1852-C, which became the first example of this date ever graded this high by PCGS. It later became the sole example in MS65 approved by CAC, of course.
There was a lot to like about this coin. It had intense frosty luster and a better-than-usual strike for the issue. I really liked the color, which was a deep green and orange-gold that displayed strong contrast between the borders and the centers. As on the majority of 1852-C gold dollars, this piece showed a defect on the reverse where a foreign object adhered to the center of the die at the time of production. However, this defect was much shallower than normal, and this wasn’t a negative factor in the coin’s overall appearance.
NGC has graded a small number of 1852-Cs in MS65 and even a single MS66, but only one of these has appeared for sale since 2010 and it was an MS65 that brought $25,200 in the January 2019 Goldberg auction. That coin was very nice but I graded it “only” MS64 to MS64+ and felt it had no chance of crossing to a PCGS holder. And obviously, I was right.
The coin above never appeared on my site and it went to the same eastern collector who purchased the PCGS MS65 1849-D gold dollar from me.
1860 PCGS/CAC MS67
The 1860 is a true condition rarity in the Type Three gold dollar series. It is fairly easy to obtain in grades through MS64, but it is demonstrably rare in properly graded MS65–I believe that only six to eight exist in this grade–with just a handful finer. As of October 2021, PCGS had graded eight in MS65, two in MS66, two in MS67, and one in MS67+.
1860 Gold $1.00 PCGS MS67 CAC
This newly-graded 1860 gold dollar came from the same old collection as the aforementioned 1852-C gold dollar and it was absolutely superb. The coin was virtually as-struck, with rich frosty luster and lovely light green-gold and rose toning in a similar pattern on both the obverse and the reverse. The strike was very bold, and with the exception of some minor mint-made planchet roughness near the UN in UNITED and above the DO in DOLLAR on the reverse, there was a virtual absence of identifying marks.
There are just three really high-end business strikes known for this date and these are as follows:
- PCGS/CAC MS67+: Eastern collector, ex Heritage 1/2021: 4160 ($48,000), Bob Simpson collection via Legend Numismatics, Heritage 3/2004: 6065 ($29,900; as PCGS MS67).
- PCGS/CAC MS67: Midwestern collector, ex Douglas Numismatics via private treaty sale in August 2021, Mid-Atlantic collection.
- PCGS MS66: Stack’s Bowers 11/2019: 3127 ($14,400).
This impressive coin, which is clearly the second finest known (if not the finest), is now in a Midwestern specialized collection. This coin also never appeared for sale on my website.
These are just a few of the impressive gold dollars that Douglas Winter Numismatics (DWN) has sold so far this year. While many people are scared of this denomination due to its small size and complexity (due to striking issues), we love gold dollars… even though we now have to use our reading glasses and 5x magnification to properly see the surfaces.
* * *
About Doug Winter
Doug has spent much of his life in the field of numismatics; beginning collecting coins at the age of seven, and by the time he was 10 years old, buying and selling coins at conventions in the New York City area.
In 1989, he founded Douglas Winter Numismatics, and his firm specializes in buying and selling choice and rare US Gold coins, especially US gold coins and all branch mint material.
Recognized as one of the leading specialized numismatic firms, Doug is an award-winning author of over a dozen numismatic books and a recognized expert on US Gold. His knowledge and an exceptional eye for properly graded and original coins have made him one of the most respected figures in the numismatic community and a sought-after dealer by collectors and investors looking for professional personalized service, a select inventory of impeccable quality, and fair and honest pricing. Doug is also a major buyer of all US coins and is always looking to purchase collections both large and small. He can be reached at (214) 675-9897.
Doug has been a contributor to the Guidebook of United States Coins (also known as the “Red Book”) since 1983, Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins, Q. David Bowers’ Encyclopedia of United States Silver Dollars and Andrew Pollock’s United States Pattern and Related Issues
In addition, he has authored 13 books on US Gold coins including:
- Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint: 1839-1909
- Gold Coins of the Carson City Mint: 1870 – 1893
- Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint: 1838-1861
- Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint 1838-1861
- The United States $3 Gold Pieces 1854-1889
- Carson City Gold Coinage 1870-1893: A Rarity and Condition Census Update
- An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Type One Double Eagles
- The Connoisseur’s Guide to United States Gold Coins
- A Collector’s Guide To Indian Head Quarter Eagles
- The Acadiana Collection of New Orleans Coinage
- Type Three Double Eagles, 1877-1907: A Numismatic History and Analysis
- Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint, 1838-1861: A Numismatic History and Analysis
- Type Two Double Eagles, 1866-1876: A Numismatic History and Analysis
Finally, Doug is a member of virtually every major numismatic organization, professional trade group and major coin association in the US.