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Lot
2507

1855 $20 Kellogg & Co. Twenty Dollar MS60 NGC. K-3, R.4. Long Arrows. California Gold! Even today, the name evokes gree...

2005 November Dallas, TX Signature Auction #388

 
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Auction Ended On: Nov 3, 2005
Item Activity: 7 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Dallas, TX
Description:
Uncirculated Kellogg & Co. 1855 Twenty Dollar, MS60 NGC
1855 $20 Kellogg & Co. Twenty Dollar MS60 NGC. K-3, R.4. Long Arrows. California Gold! Even today, the name evokes greed, passion, sacrifice, and epic history. The discoveries of vast quantities of gold began in 1848 when John Marshall, a carpenter building a sawmill for John Sutter, found a flat gold nugget. By 1849 more than 80,000 forty-niners had thronged westward, increasing to 250,000 by 1853, all of them seeking elusive and mythic treasures. What gold they dredged, panned, sluiced, or otherwise coaxed out of a mixture of mud, earth, and water necessitated the speedy foundation of a local mint facility, the journey to mints "back East" being perilous for the precious metal and those who transported it.
John G. Kellogg and G.F. Richter, cashier and assayer, respectively, of Curtis, Perry & Ward, opened their own assay office at the end of 1853. They established coinage operations meant to fill the gap created during the time needed to convert the U.S. Assay Office into the U.S. Mint at San Francisco. When the branch mint opened, effectively taking over the Assay Office, its production proved highly erratic. The constant paucity of acids to part gold and silver--usually found together in the form known as bullion or doré--and a scarcity of copper with which to create a proper coinage alloy forced the mint to close on several occasions, resulting in a continual coin shortage. Kellogg and Richter filled this vacuum by issuing $20 coins, delivering 300,000 double eagles in 1854 and 1855, coins of the latter date struck after Augustus Humbert replaced Richter as assayer.
This coin is the Long Arrows variant of Kagin-3. Each arrowhead is differently shaped, and the second 5 in the date is from a different punch than the first. The central devices are bold and well executed (with KELLOGG replacing LIBERTY on the coronet), but peripheral details are not well struck up, including the second 5 in the date. Consistent with the grade, there are considerable contact marks, scuffs, and field chatter, none so pronounced that they deserve individual mention. The population reports indicate that the 1855 date in grades above XF is considerably rarer than the 1854, with consistently fewer numbers at each grade level. There is no trace of rub on any of the highpoints, and as such this piece is an incredible rarity, with the combined population reports showing five in MS60, with six finer (10/05). An important opportunity for the specialist in this historic era of U.S. numismatics.(#10225) (PCGS# 10225)

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