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    1855-D Variety 7-I Gold Dollar, MS64
    Winter Third Edition Cover Coin
    Tied for Finest Known

    1855-D G$1 MS64 PCGS Secure. CAC. Variety 7-I. Ex: Duckor. Perhaps displaying the strongest strike ever encountered on any 1855-D gold dollar, this piece shows sharp hair details and a bold date in the centers of the obverse and reverse. The highly lustrous, satiny surfaces exhibit prominent horizontal or diagonal die striations. The reflective fields and lustrous devices are rendered in brilliant yellow, with trivial marks of no consequence.

    This rare, high-grade Dahlonega gold dollar is of such importance that Douglas Winter selected it as the cover coin for the third edition of Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint 1838-1861.

    Variety and Die State: Breen-6042, Winter 7-I. The peak of the right wreath ribbon points to the center of the first 5 in the date. Both sides exhibit extraordinarily strong clash marks.

    Population (6/15): Two MS64 examples are tied for the finest at PCGS. NGC also reports two MS64 examples. Those four submissions are part of a combined total of 11 Mint State examples for the 1855-D, undoubtedly including some resubmissions. Among all gold dollars, only the 1849-C Open Wreath, 1855-C, and 1857-C have lower PCGS Mint State populations.

    Commentary: Despite a higher certified total, there are only five or six Mint State examples of the 1855-D gold dollar surviving from a mintage of 1,811 coins. The 1855-D is the rarest Type Two gold dollar and one of the keys to a complete set of U.S. gold dollar coinage. Despite claims of lower total populations, there are close to 100 1855-D gold dollars surviving today.

    Douglas Winter Commentary: The 1855-D is not the rarest gold dollar from the Dahlonega Mint; that honor goes to the 1861-D. Nor is it the most famous; again, the Confederate-associated 1861-D receives that accolade. But the 1855-D is conditionally the rarest gold dollar from Dahlonega. It is an exceedingly difficult issue to locate in Uncirculated, with only four or five known to me.

    Two 1855-D gold dollars stand out as being better than all other of the 100 or so examples known for the issue:

    1. The Duke's Creek/Hawn/Pierce coin, graded MS64 by PCGS. This coin last sold as lot 866 in the January 2009 Stack's sale, to a well-known Dahlonega specialist for a then-record price of $143,750.

    2. The Duckor/Bass coin (the present example) which last sold for $143,750 as lot 7409 in the August 2011 Heritage sale. It was formerly graded MS64+ by NGC and is now graded MS64 by PCGS.

    Both of those coins are remarkable, but I consider the Duckor coin to be the better of the two, mainly because it has a full date with all four digits clear and bold. This coin is essentially "as struck" with rich yellow-gold color, great luster, and an above-average-quality planchet. Both sides show myriad clash marks, as made, and I feel they add to the "aura" of this special coin.

    The 1855-D gold dollar is a coin with multiple levels of demand. It appeals to gold dollar collectors, Dahlonega specialists, one-year type specialists, and collectors who like coins that are "cool." When Steve was offered this coin (he purchased it via private treaty right after the August 2011 Heritage auction cited above), he called me and asked if he should buy it. I told him it was probably the single greatest Dahlonega gold dollar in existence and that his collection would be greatly enhanced by its inclusion. Although he only owned it for four years, Steve loved this coin and considered it to be one of the centerpieces of his gold dollar set. Hopefully, the new owner will regard it with as much passion.

    Provenance: Manfra, Tordella & Brooks (12/10/1974); Harry W. Bass, Jr.; Bowers and Merena (10/1999), lot 102; Heritage (4/2006), lot 1487; Goldberg Coins (2/2007), lot 2097; Bowers and Merena (8/2010), lot 1441; Heritage (8/2011), lot 7409.

    The Dahlonega Mint in 1855: Gold was discovered in North Carolina in 1799, and in Georgia about 1828. The Georgia gold discoveries were mostly in White and Lumpkin counties in the northeast part of the state, close to the North Carolina border. Faced with a shortage of coins, the Bechtler family of Rutherford County, North Carolina, began a gold coinage enterprise, producing gold dollars, two and a half dollar gold coins, and five dollar pieces. Christopher and Augustus Bechtler were jewelers in the town of Rutherfordton, North Carolina, 180 miles northeast of Dahlonega and 70 miles west of Charlotte.

    Congressional legislation established the branch mints of Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans in 1835, and all three facilities began actual coinage operations three years later, in 1838. Operation of the three branch mints continued until the start of the Civil War, with the last coinage dated 1861. Years later, the New Orleans Mint resumed operations in 1879, while the Charlotte and Dahlonega mints would never again produce coinage. The Charlotte Mint operated later as a U.S. Assay Office, and today the building, moved from its original location, serves as an art museum. A fire destroyed the Dahlonega Mint building in 1878.

    Gold used at the Dahlonega Mint was almost exclusively mined in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina until 1849. The gold mines of California supplied substantial gold deposits at Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans throughout the 1850s. In 1855, 49% of gold deposits came from Georgia and 41% came from California. The balance came from Alabama and the Carolinas. During its history, the Dahlonega Mint coined approximately 1,379,023 gold coins with a total face value of just over $6 million. In 1855, the Dahlonega Mint produced 1,811 gold dollars, 1,123 quarter eagles, and 22,432 half eagles.

    Julius Patton was the superintendent from 1853 to 1860, Isaac Todd was the assayer from 1843 to 1849 and from 1853 to 1861, and John Field, Jr. was the coiner from 1849 to 1861. One other employee was a clerk, Robert Patton. Other employees, if there were any, remain unidentified today. Julius Patton, Isaac Todd, John Field, Jr., and Robert Patton were responsible for the creation of this remarkable 1855-D gold dollar.
    From The Duckor Family Collection of Gold Dollars.(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 26AT, PCGS# 7534)

    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 ]

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    12th-16th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
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