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    Description

    The Pittman Proof 1854 Three Dollar Gold Piece

    1854 $3 PR62 NGC. Despite Walter Breen's notes about the proof coins of this issue, we believe that a single die pair was used to coin all such pieces. It is generally believed that 15 proofs were coined on April 28, 1854, and it is likely that several more were produced later in the year. Today, we have records of 13 different proofs, although this list may include some duplication. A realistic total seems to be 10 to 12 different coins. When this coin was offered in the Pittman Sale, David Akers suggested that only seven to 10 pieces exist, and recently, Dave Bowers suggested 10 to 14 coins in his 2005 study of this series.
    Nearly all survivors are in the lower numerical grades of proof, with a few impaired pieces. In fact, only one or two Gem quality pieces are known. David Akers wrote: "This would seem to indicate that most of the proofs eventually must have ended up in the hands of non-numismatic people who did not know how to care for them properly." We also "borrow" Akers' description of this coin from the Pittman catalog, rather than write anything new, as the coin has not changed since that May 1998 sale: "Sharply struck with deep mirror fields and attractive medium yellow-gold color. Numerous hairlines on the obverse, fewer on the reverse. There is a long scratch in the left obverse field from I in UNITED to the tip of the bust. There are also some minor handling marks in the fields. A copper toning spot is visible at the F in OF. There is evidence of very minor damage (not solder) in the milling above the first T in STATES. There is also a small planchet depression to the right of Liberty's eye. Overall, the reverse is much nicer than the obverse and grades close to the Choice level."
    The following Census includes all pieces known to us. The numbered entries are clearly all different examples, while the lettered entries may duplicate some of the numbered entries.

    1. PR63 Cameo. Philadelphia Mint; National Numismatic Collection; Smithsonian Institution.
    2. Proof. Abe Kosoff (8/3/1971); Harry W. Bass, Jr. Core Collection.
    3. Proof. Garrett Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 11/1979), lot 417.
    4. Gem Proof. John Story Jenks (Henry Chapman, 12/1921), lot 5782; Clapp Collection (1942); Eliasberg Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1982), lot 272; Ed Trompeter Collection (Superior, 2/1992), lot 96.
    5. PR62 NGC. Paramount (11/1967), lot 796; John Jay Pittman Collection (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1886. This is the piece being offered.
    6. PR60. New England (7/1979), lot 122 $6,500.00.
    7. PR60. Superior (Auction '88, 7/1988), lot 344; Heritage (5/1990), lot 1988 $5,665.
    8. Proof. Lester Merkin (3/1968), lot 400; Dr. Herbert Ketterman. Breen Proof Encyclopedia plate coin.
    9. PR63. Superior (6/1978), lot 1688; Superior (5/1987), lot 2393.
    A. Proof. Paramount (11/1977), lot 499.
    B. Proof. J.F. Bell (Stack's, 1944), lot 265.
    C. Impaired Proof. Geiss Collection (B. Max Mehl, 2/1947), lot 1582; Rovensky Collection (B. Max Mehl, 11/1954), lot 1733.
    D. Impaired Proof. Jerome Kern Sale (B. Max Mehl, 5/1950), lot 184. (Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 289R, PCGS# 8017)

    Weight: 5.02 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2006
    29th-30th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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