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    Condition Census 1849-C Closed Wreath Dollar
    MS64, Tied for Finest Graded

    1849-C G$1 Closed Wreath MS64 NGC. Variety 1. The U.S. Mint was quite late coming to the gold dollar party. The Bechtler family of Rutherford County, North Carolina--capitalizing on the nation's first gold rush nearly two decades before that in California--had produced private gold coinage since 1831, the year of their first gold dollar.
    The Mint had fiddled with gold dollar patterns as early as 1836. That was the year in which it produced the derivative Judd-67 dollar patterns, based on the Liberty Cap and Rays design of Mexican silver coinage. The same design would be used on Mint medalets produced that same year that commemorate the first U.S. steam-powered coinage.
    But it would be another 13 years, until 1849, before the first federal gold dollars were produced. Meanwhile, the young nation had opened branch mints in New Orleans; Dahlonega, Georgia; and Charlotte, North Carolina, but only New Orleans struck both gold and silver. The two inland mints struck only small-denomination gold, so it came as no surprise when Charlotte struck gold dollars in the first year of the federal coinage, alongside Dahlonega, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. The Charlotte mintage, however, at 11,634 coins was a pittance compared to the much-larger productions in Philadelphia and New Orleans. The fiddling was not yet completely over, as the design went through several iterations in its first year, and later subtypes would appear in 1854 and 1856. The Open Wreath 1849-C is a fabulous rarity, while the Closed (or Close) Wreath is scarce in all grades and a true rarity in Mint State. The 1849-C Closed Wreath dollars are usually found prooflike, with convex obverse fields that give a bulged look to the coins.
    The present example offers semiprooflike fields and surfaces that feature full pinpoint strike definition throughout. The bright yellow-gold surfaces show tinges of reddish patina in the protected areas. The grade is accounted for by several minor ticks in the right obverse field. A short but prominent die crack runs on the reverse from the top of the 1 in the date to O(F).
    Doug Winter estimates that no more than a dozen pieces of the 1849-C Closed Wreath are known in Mint State. This is the first time we have ever handled this issue in MS64 since we began maintaining our Permanent Auction Archives, and the present piece is tied with one other NGC-certified piece for the finest graded (1/10). The finest certified by PCGS are several pieces in MS63, all of which we have handled, that Doug Winter lists at the top of his Condition Census from 2008.
    From The Longfellow Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 25BC, PCGS# 7505)

    View all of [The Longfellow Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    3rd-7th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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