Unique 1873 Closed 3 $5
NGC SP 64
NGC has certified this unique 1873 Closed 3 Five Dollar gold piece as a Specimen strike. It is the only such piece certified by either PCGS or NGC. It has the visual characteristics of a highly contrasted Cameo Proof, yet was struck from circulation dies. It is the Closed 3 variant (as are all Proof strikes for the issue). High-grade Mint State examples are very rare and proofs are extremely rare.
There was considerable controversy after the coinage of 1873 was struck with the closed 3. Harry Boosel researched and wrote a book on the closed 3 coinage and the issues regarding the redesigning of the dies with an open 3 which resulted in the public being able to see that the coin was struck in 1873 and not 1878.
This unique 1873 $5 Closed 3 Specimen strike has an experimental finish and is a hybrid between a proof and a mint state coin. It has deep reflective fields and frosted devices with minimal contact marks. It was obviously made with precision and special care since there are die polish lines visible on both sides.
According to the numismatists at Heritage Auctions:
“[U]nlike regular proofs, there is no polish seen between the shield stripes, and the second vertical line of stripe 2 does not extend into the horizontals above, diagnostic of the 1866A proof reverse used until 1880. This coin may have been a one-off special strike requested by Mint Director Linderman, or a trial strike prior to implementation of the Open 3 dies.”
This conclusively proves that this Specimen strike was from specially prepared Mint State dies that created a Specimen with the appearance of a Proof. No Proof or Specimen strikes are known of the Open 3 type. This coin possesses an irresistible combination of high technical quality, absolute rarity, and terrific eye appeal.
There are very few United States gold coins that have been authenticated and certified as Specimens.
An 1853 New Orleans $10 Liberty certified Specimen 61 by NGC sold in August 2010 for $316,250 USD. A 1907 Denver $20 Liberty certified Specimen 66 by PCGS (one of four known) sold wholesale for $400,000. A 1795 $5 Heraldic Eagle was certified Specimen 64 by NGC. An 1856 New Orleans $20 certified Specimen 63 by both PCGS and NGC recently sold in a private sale for $1.8M. An 1800 $10 was certified Specimen 65 by NGC. A 1921 $20 St. Gaudens sold for $1.4M prior to being certified Specimen 64 by NGC. Even a relatively common 1900 $20 Liberty authenticated and certified by NGC Specimen 66 sold for $87,000 in a Heritage auction.
Another unique specimen gold piece that I handled is the famous 1843 Dahlonega $5 Liberty struck as a Specimen and authenticated and certified by NGC as SP 65. This 1843 half eagle was struck at the Dahlonega Mint and is the only known or certified Specimen or Proof Dahlonega gold piece of any denomination. This coin is graded an impressive Specimen 65 by NGC, which is a rare designation by both NGC and PCGS. Heritage Auctions sold my 1843-D $5 Specimen 65 NGC for $282,000 in the April 2015 CSNS US Coins Signature Auction.
This is a great opportunity for a serious and advanced collector of U.S. gold coins to acquire this unique specimen for a world-class collection.