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HomeUS CoinsPreviously Unknown Chapman Collection of $1 Gold Coins Revealed

Previously Unknown Chapman Collection of $1 Gold Coins Revealed

Gold dollar and envelope from Chapman Brothers.
Gold dollar and envelope from Chapman Brothers.

By CoinWeek ….
Henry Chapman and his brother Samuel are towering figures in the history of numismatics and coin collecting in the United States. Together and separately, the Chapman Brothers sold many of the important 19th-century collections that preserved numerous early American rarities for 20th-century collectors and beyond.
Now, Matador Rare Coins, a firm out of New York City, is offering an almost complete date set of 19th-century $1 gold coins built by Henry Chapman that was previously unknown to the larger hobby.

The Henry Chapman Collection of $1 Gold, as Matador has labeled it, consists of 51 gold dollars struck from 1849 through 1889–both Liberty Head and Indian Princess types–as well as eight classic U.S. commemorative gold dollars. The collection is owned by the same family that originally worked with Chapman and kept the coins in the vault and safe deposit boxes of a Philadelphia bank.

“Chapman personally began assembling this collection for a banking family in 1899 and the coins have remained in the family’s possession continuously for generations, said Luis Martinez,” Founder and President of Matador Rare Coins. “The set includes several coins among the finest known examples of their kind today, and there are gold dollars struck at the Charlotte, Dahlonega, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and San Francisco mints.”

The family, who understandably wish to remain anonymous, thought the coins might be valued at $50,000 USD. But after grading and encapsulation by PCGS, with the pedigree on the label, the entire set is now insured for a total value of $2 million.

“Housed in the original envelopes from Henry Chapman’s shop in Philadelphia, a number of the coins carried exuberant eye appeal,” stated Martinez.“The grading results were beyond my expectations with a number of the coins reaching the finest known tier. When I shared the results with the owners, they were astonished and filled with disbelief. A collection they would have sold for about $50,000 could now potentially bring in well over seven figures at auction!”

“PCGS is proud to have been able to unite these coins with their impressive pedigree at the September 2023 Long Beach Expo,” said PCGS President Stephanie Sabin.

Select Highlights of the Chapman Collection of $1 Gold Coins

Several of the dollars have been approved by CAC as strong for the grade. About the collection, CAC Founder John Albanese said:

“I’ve been around the numismatic block a few times since the 1970s and thought we’ve seen probably everything there is to see in great collections. I almost fell off the chair when these coins came in. It’s nice to know there are still great coins out there. It gives us hope.”

Some of the highlights of the Henry Chapman Collection of $1 Gold are listed below; Matador will be releasing more information about each coin in the collection shortly.

  • 1863 gold dollar (PCGS MS68 CAC) – tied for finest known
  • 1875 gold dollar (PCGS AU58 CAC) – mintage of only 400 coins
  • 1881 gold dollar (PCGS PR66 DCAM) – tied for finest known among the remaining survivors of only 87 struck
  • 1884 gold dollar (PCGS PR67+ CAM CAC) – tied with one other for finest known
  • 1887 gold dollar (PCGS MS67+ CAC)

“The U.S. began making $1 gold pieces in 1849, a year after the start of the California Gold Rush. A little smaller than a modern U.S. dime, the gold dollars were struck over the years with three different designs – Liberty Head from 1849 to 1854; Indian Princess Small Head from 1854 to 1856; and the Indian Princess Large Head type from 1856 to 1889,” explained Martinez.

Classic gold commemoratives in the collection include:

  • 1903 Louisiana Purchase Exposition feat. President William McKinley (PCGS MS68) – tied for finest known
  • 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition (PCGS MS67)
  • 1915-S Panama-Pacific Exposition (MS67)
  • 1917 McKinley Memorial (PCGS MS67)
  • 1922 Grant Memorial With Star (PCGS MS67+ CAC)

If you’re interested in learning more about the Henry Chapman Collection or any of the coins, please call Matador Rare Coins at 877-757-3665 or visit their webite at www.MatadorRareCoins.com.

About Henry Chapman and the Chapman Brothers

Henry Chapman and his older brother Samuel were famous coin dealers active in Philadelphia during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After working for dealer John Haseltine for a few years, the brothers started their own coin dealership and suction house in 1878. In an article in the November 1995 issue of The Numismatist, researcher Pete Smith described the brothers as the “first career coin dealers in the United States … innovative with the use of photographic plates to illustrate their catalogs.” They produced 22 large-format and 26 small-format plated catalogs, with no more than 100 copies per sale, over the course of 83 auctions. The Chapman brothers ended their partnership in 1906.

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Coinweek is the top independent online media source for rare coin and currency news, with analysis and information contributed by leading experts across the numismatic spectrum.

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