Finest Known Oregon $5 Gold Coin by Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com ……
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Douglas Winter Numismatics (DWN), based in Portland, recently purchased the single finest known example of the rare 1849 Oregon “Beaver” five-dollar gold piece, graded MS62 by PCGS. The firm bought this coin at the recently-held Stack’s Bowers August 2020 auction acting as an agent for a Southern California collector. The final price realized was $336,000 USD, which is believed to be a record price for this coveted and historic issue.
This issue owes its existence to the fact that a number of Oregonians had returned from the California gold fields in 1849 with gold nuggets in their possession, but with no way to convert these into coins for use in commerce. A number of residents of Oregon City sought to remedy this by establishing the Oregon Exchange Company. It was decided that a mint would be opened and it would strike five dollar and ten dollar gold coins. The former are more available than the latter.
1849 OREGON “BEAVER” $5.00 GOLD, PCGS MS62, IMAGE COURTESY OF PCGS
The obverse (or “front”) of the coin shows a beaver on a log surrounded by the initials K.M. T. A. W. R. G. S. These were the initials of the company’s founders. Below the beaver are the initials T.O. (standing for Oregon Territory but actually an engraver’s error). On the reverse (or “back”) there are listed the value and weight of the coin, the issuer (Oregon Exchange Company), and the fact that it was made from native gold.
In order to get them to be accepted as a medium of exchange, these coins were made with more than five dollars’ worth of gold. But this also ensured that many would be melted as they were worth more than face value. It is believed that as many as five to six thousand were made but most were melted and an estimated 50-60 still exist today. Most are well worn and the Oregon $5 half eagle is considered a rare issue today in all grades and an iconic design within the specialized collecting field of Pioneer or Territorial gold coinage.
According to Doug Winter, “I’ve been able to trace this coin back to a 1967 auction conducted by Lester Merkin in New York City and later to Auction ’82. More recently, it appeared in the famous Riverboat Collection, which was auctioned by Heritage in April 2014. It sold there, in an NGC MS62 holder, for $258,500. It was crossed over from NGC to PCGS by its last owner and consigned to the August 2020 Stack’s Bowers sale,” where it was purchased by Douglas Winter.
This specific coin is regarded as the single finest known of the type. It is the only 1849 Oregon $5 gold coin to have ever been graded Uncirculated by PCGS with the next best being a small group graded AU58.
According to Doug Winter, “this piece has exceptional detail for the issue. You almost never see this design with strong definition on the beaver and this piece is virtually fully defined. It also shows far more mint bloom than on any of the Beaver five-dollar pieces I have seen.”
As mentioned above, this coin becomes a valued member of an important specialized collection being formed by a collector in Southern California. This collector hopes to acquire a $10 Oregon gold piece sometime in the future, which would complete his set of Oregon territorial issues.
For more information on Oregon pioneer issues or to discuss acquiring other US gold coins, please contact Doug Winter by phone at (214) 675-9897 or via email at [email protected].
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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 the 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 “Redbook”) 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.