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    1854-S Gold Dollar, MS65+
    From the John Jay Pittman Collection

    The Sole Finest Certified

    1854-S G$1 MS65+ PCGS. CAC. Ex: Pittman-Duckor. This satiny Gem boasts light yellow surfaces and bold design motifs, exhibiting splendid orange-gold overtones. It is exceptionally well-made for a first-year-of-issue San Francisco gold piece. A single small mark on Liberty's neck is all that prevents a higher grade.

    Variety and Die State: Breen-6033. Normal Dies. Thin stars suggest that the obverse may have been lightly lapped. The reverse shows delicate clash marks inside the wreath.

    Population (6/15): The finest PCGS examples are one in MS65 and this example in MS65+. A pair of submissions in MS65 are the finest at NGC. Of those four Gems, this is the sole example with CAC approval.

    Commentary: This is the first S-mint gold dollar, struck during the initial year of coinage operations at the San Francisco Mint, from a mintage of just 14,632 coins. Perhaps 500 of those coins survive, and about two-thirds of the survivors are circulated. The average grade of examples in our auctions is AU55, with those results biased toward higher-priced coins. David Akers was enamored with this coin when he described it for the Pittman catalog:

    "This is an amazing coin that is one of the highlights of JJP's collection of Gold Dollars. It is fully struck with fabulous satiny luster and superb rich orange gold toning. The surfaces on the reverse are exceedingly choice, virtually perfect in fact, but the obverse has a few light hairlines in the field and one tiny mark on the neck. Normally, these might be enough to remove a coin from the Gem category, but the overall appearance of this coin is so superior that to call it less than a Gem would be doing it an injustice. In all my years of both collecting and selling Gold Dollars, I can say that this is one of the two or three finest examples of this date that I have ever seen, possibly even the finest."

    Douglas Winter Commentary: The 1854-S is numismatically significant as the first gold dollar to be made at the brand-new San Francisco Mint. It is also a distinct one-year type, as it is the only Type One gold dollar from this facility. There are an estimated 175-225 known in all grades, and a surprising number exist in the lowest Uncirculated grades, saved, no doubt, as souvenirs. This issue becomes really scarce in properly graded MS63 to MS64, and there are only two or three Gems known, of which the Duckor/Pittman example is both the highest graded and the most technically superior, in my opinion.

    I first saw this coin in Part One of the Pittman sale and even in a sale full of amazing coins, the 1854-S stood out to me. It was purchased by a well-known but highly secretive collector for $33,000 (which is still a record price for the date, nearly two decades after the fact), and it was recently brokered through John Albanese, who sold it to Dr. Duckor. John Pittman bought the coin in the 1949 ANA auction, which means that Steve Duckor is only the third owner of this amazing little coin in over 60 years.

    No MS65 PCGS example has sold at auction since lot 582 in the October 2004 Bowers and Merena sale realized $31,050. Today's market is much more conscious of true condition rarity, and with San Francisco gold coinage finally beginning to receive the collector appreciation it has long deserved, this coin should bring a record price for the date.

    Provenance: ANA Sale (Numismatic Gallery, 8/1949), lot 653; John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 10/1997), lot 863; unknown collector via John Albanese.
    From The Duckor Family Collection of Gold Dollars.(Registry values: N7079)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 25C2, PCGS# 7527)

    Weight: 1.67 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Duckor Family Collection of Gold Dollars ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    12th-16th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,447

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