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    1830 Templeton Reid Ten Dollar, K-3, VF Details
    Rare First U.S. Private Gold Striking,
    Only Five Examples Known
    Ex: Norweb

    1830 $10 Templeton Reid Ten Dollar -- Repaired -- NGC Details. VF. K-3, R.7. Ex: Norweb. (15.80 g). The Templeton Reid ten dollar gold piece is among the rarest issues in the territorial gold series. Only five examples have been reliably reported. Of those five pieces, one example is included in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution and another was stolen from Willis du Pont's collection in 1967 and has been missing ever since. Of the three examples available to eager collectors, the coin offered here is the second finest. In the 191 years since the coins were struck, there have been only five auction appearances of any 1830 Templeton Reid ten. Heritage Auctions is privileged to present this extremely rare pioneer gold issue in this important offering.

    Templeton Reid and His Coinage

    Templeton Reid was a man of many talents who made a living at different times as a watchmaker, jeweler, metal worker, gunsmith, and manufacturer of cotton gins. In addition, for a few months between late July and early October of 1830, Reid became the first private citizen in this country to issue gold coinage since Ephraim Brasher produced his famous doubloons in 1787. Accordingly, he was the first private minter to issue gold coinage after the Constitution was ratified, causing some concern in legal circles because that document specifically forbids coinage by the states. Most scholars agreed that Reid was not acting illegally at the time, because the proscription against state coinage did not apply to individuals. Reid thus opened the door to the flood of private coiners that would follow him, first in North Carolina in 1831, when the Bechtlers began their extensive coinage operations, and 20 years later, when more than 40 private coiners set up operations in California, during the Gold Rush.

    When the first American gold rush took place in the hills and mountains of Georgia and North Carolina in the 1820s, the influx of prospectors overwhelmed the economy of the isolated region. Economic activity in the area consisted mostly of subsistence farming. Coinage of any kind was rarely seen in circulation and most exchanges were accomplished through barter. It was estimated that there was less than one single federal coin per person living in the region in 1829. To help solve the coin shortage that was exaggerated by the expanding gold rush economy, Templeton Reid established his private mint, first in Milledgeville, Georgia, the state capital at the time, and later in Gainesville, the center of the mining district. Reid received deposits of gold dust and ore from the miners and struck coins in $2 ½, $5, and $10 denominations. There were two varieties of the ten dollar coins, one with the 1830 date on the obverse, designated as K-3 in Don Kagin's series reference, and the other with a circle of 40 stars around the obverse and no date, designated as K-4.

    On July 24, 1830, the Georgia Journal announced Reid's coinage operations:

    "We have examined, during the last week, with great pleasure, an apparatus constructed by our very ingenious fellow citizen, Mr. Templeton Reid, for the purpose of putting gold into a shape more convenient than that in which it is originally found. He makes with great facility and great neatness, pieces worth ten, five and two and a half dollars. No alloy is mixed with it and it is so stamped that it cannot be easily imitated. He sets out soon for the mines, and intends putting his apparatus into operation, as soon as he reaches them."

    There is some debate about the size and scope of Reid's operations. On January 13, 1831, the National Gazette of Philadelphia reported:

    "Gold - Upwards of $200,000 in gold are said to have been coined in Georgia, the present season in $2.50, $5, and $10 pieces. On one side is 'Templeton Reid, Assayer"; on the other "Georgia Gold."

    Later researchers have cast doubt on such a large mintage, however, and it seems most unlikely that Reid could have produced so many coins working by himself in such a short time. In his ground-breaking study, The 1830 Coinage of Templeton Reid, published by the American Numismatic Society (1977), Dexter Seymour conducted an extensive analysis of the available records. He estimated the total number of coins Reid could have produced at 1,500-1,600 pieces, all told, including approximately 1,000 quarter eagles, 300 half eagles, and 250 eagles, including both types. The surviving population certainly favors Seymour's smaller estimate.

    Although Reid was probably an honest businessman, his skills as an assayer left much to be desired. He seemed to believe that no chemical refinement of his ore was necessary after it was separated from the sand and other debris that was mixed in with the initial deposit. On August 16, 1830, just 23 days after the announcement of the commencement of Reid's coinage operation, a letter to the editor of the Southern Recorder attacked Reid's credibility as a minter, claiming that one of Reid's $10 coins had been assayed at the Philadelphia Mint and found to have an intrinsic value of just $9.38. The accuser signed himself No Assayer. Reid vehemently defended his coinage, and there is some room for doubt about No Assayer's accusation, as it would have been an extremely fast turn around for a coin to be shipped to the Philadelphia Mint, assayed, and the results returned in 23 days, even if No Assayer acquired the coin on the first day of coinage. It is likely that the intrinsic value of Reid's unrefined gold varied somewhat from coin to coin, as an 1842 assay of some Reid coins at the Philadelphia Mint resulted in a much different finding. Those coins were .942 fine, the highest quality of any pioneer gold issue, and significantly higher than their federally issued counterparts. This report convinced Edgar Adams that Reid's coins contained more than their face value in gold and he believed the coins were so rare because they were heavily melted for recoinage. Whatever the truth of No Assayer's accusations, confidence in Reid's coinage collapsed and he suspended coinage operations soon after.

    Years later, Templeton Reid is rumored to have moved to California and produced a small coinage of 1849-dated $25 and $10 gold coins there. A single example of each denomination was acquired by the Mint Cabinet, but the $25 piece was later stolen. Many researchers doubt that Reid ever actually went to California, as he was 60 years old in 1849, and died in 1851. If he actually produced the 1849-dated coins, they were probably some kind of experimental coinage that he struck in his familiar mint in Georgia.

    There was no numismatic interest in Reid's coins in 1830 and they were not widely accepted after No Assayer's comments were repeated in the local papers. By the time coin collecting became a widespread hobby in the late 1850s, nearly all of Reid's coins had been lost or melted for recoinage. Today, fewer than 25 examples of Reid's quarter eagles have been traced, and Ron Guth reports only six half eagles are known to collectors. Five examples of the 1830-dated K-3 ten dollar coins are known and three specimens of the undated K-4 variety have been accounted for.

    History of the Present Coin

    This coin first surfaced in the collection of Charles Ellsworth Gilhousen, President of the California Coin Club, who exhibited it at a club meeting on March 7, 1933. The April 1933 issue of The Numismatist reported on the meeting:

    "Mr. Gilhousen spoke of some of his experiences in collecting pioneer gold pieces in California some 30 years ago, when he rode horseback over the State for many months, through all the gold fields. He had on display the following gold pieces: $10 Templeton Reid; a very fine Oregon $5; Bechtler $5, 1834; extremely fine Norris, Grieg & Norris $5; Mormon $5, 1849; U.S. $5, 1802 over 1; U.S. $5, 1800, and U.S. $10, 1795."

    We doubt Gilhousen discovered his Templeton Reid ten in the gold fields of California, but it is possible, if Reid actually made the trip out there to strike his later Gold Rush era coinage. It is more likely that he purchased this coin from a dealer like Henry Chapman, with whom he is known to have done business and who handled at least one other Templeton Reid ten in the early 20th century. Gilhousen apparently sold this coin to California coin dealer J. Milnor Brown shortly after the coin club meeting, because Brown advertised it for sale in the same April 1933 issue of The Numismatist. Brown published a picture of this coin and noted:

    "Above is illustration from photograph of a Georgia 1830 $10 Gold Piece I have for sale. Please make an offer for it."

    Brown listed his address as 1122 Windsor Place, South Pasadena, California. Unfortunately, Brown died in 1934, shortly after he acquired the coin.

    The next owner of record for this coin was prominent collector Jacob Shapiro, perhaps better known by his pseudonym, J.F. Bell. Shapiro bought and sold several remarkable collections in the 1940s, through the Stack's and Numismatic Gallery firms, and his final collection was sold through RARCOA in 1963. Shapiro sold this piece in lot 940 of the Memorable Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 3/1948), the first time any 1830-dated Templeton Reid ten was offered at auction. The lot description read:

    "10 Dollars 1830. The first private gold coin struck in this country and of the purest gold. This coin was worth more than its face value merely for its gold content. This accounts for its present rarity as most of the coins were remelted. The $10.00 coin is the rarest of the Templeton Reid series. Edgar Adams knew of only one specimen, but this is another. A few years ago we offered the $5.00 piece of this series at $7,000.00, but that was in choice condition. This coin though more rare is only about fine. It is listed in the Standard Catalogue very fine at $5,000.00."

    The coin was purchased by coin dealer James P. Randall, who advertised it on page A166 of the April 1949 issue of The Numismatist.

    This 1830 Templeton Reid ten passed into the remarkable collection of Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb at some point, though exactly when they acquired it is not clear. The Norwebs formed one of the most valuable numismatic collections of all time, building on an already extensive collection inherited by Mrs. Norweb from her father. The Norwebs remained active in numismatics for many years and maintained their collection until they both passed away within months of each other in the early 1980s. Their heirs sold most of the collection through a series of auctions by Bowers and Merena in the late 1980s, with the Templeton Reid ten selling in lot 3349 of the Norweb Collection, Part III (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988). The lot realized $37,400, a strong price at the time. It has not been publicly offered since, but pioneer gold specialist Don Kagin owned this coin for a time.

    Physical Appearance

    Like all known examples of the 1830 Templeton Reid ten, this moderately worn specimen shows an uneven strike, with some softness on the lettering and the numerals in the date. The slightly granular yellow and orange-gold surfaces exhibit a number of minor abrasions, with a dent above the first S in ASSAYER that can serve as a pedigree marker. This coin was polished long ago, but a few traces of original mint luster are still present. Some light tooling is evident in the fields. With all its acknowledged faults, this coin is still the second-finest available example of this landmark pioneer gold rarity.

    No example of an 1830 Templeton Reid ten has been publicly offered since the Norweb sale, 33 years ago, making this coin both the first (1948) and last (1988) example of this rare issue to appear at auction. Private sales data is also sparse, meaning there are no meaningful comparables for this coin. However, other rare territorial gold issues have realized higher and higher prices in recent years. The 1851 Baldwin & Co. twenty (four examples known), graded XF45 PCGS, sold for $646,250 in the Riverboat Collection (Heritage, 4/2014), and the 1849 Pacific Company Five (also four known), graded AU58 by PCGS, realized $763,750 in the same sale. With only three examples available to collectors, It may be decades before another specimen of this first U.S. private gold issue appears on the auction scene. This lot represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire this legendary pioneer gold rarity. Listed on page 392 of the 2022 Guide Book.

    Roster of 1830 Templeton Reid Ten Dollar Gold, K-3

    This roster was compiled with the help of numismatic researchers Wayne Burt and Saul Teichman.
    AU53 NGC. George D. Case, of Milledgeville, Georgia; purchased by Samuel Guthman, of Macon, Georgia for $150; purchased by the Chicago Coin Co. (Theophile Leon) for $1,250 in October 1909; Virgil Brand (Brand Journal number 50193); Armin Brand; Jane Brand Allen; Virgil Brand Collection, Part II (Bowers and Merena, 6/1984), lot 1537; Ed Milas; Hancock & Harwell; Duke's Creek Collection; Donald Kagin; the Southern Gold Society reports this coin was recently sold privately, along with the Templeton Reid $5 and $2 ½ coins from the Duke's Creek Collection, for $1.2 million. The current Guide Book plate coin.
    AU estimated grade. DeWitt Smith; purchased along with the rest of Smith's collection by Virgil Brand, Brand Journal number 47029; Chicago Coin Company (Brand and T.E. Leon) in 1909, after Brand bought the coin in number 1, above; purchased by Henry Chapman on 10/24/1910 for $3,250; offered to H.O. Granberg, but refused; Waldo Newcomer; B. Max Mehl, pictured in Mehl's Newcomer plates; Charles M. Williams; Numismatic Gallery Fixed Price List (1951), lot 3, sold for $8,750; Lammot du Pont; Willis du Pont; stolen in 1967; the plate coin in early editions of the Guide Book of United States Coins, present whereabouts unknown. This coin is pictured in Don Taxay's Comprehensive Catalogue and Encyclopedia of United States Coins.
    XF repaired estimated grade. Obtained from an unknown source in Georgia by S.H. Chapman in 1910; H.O. Granberg purchased the coin for $2,000 and exhibited it at the 1914 ANS Exhibition, Plate 34; William Woodin; Waldo Newcomer; Edgar Adams (acting as agent for Newcomer) offered the coin in the Coin & Medal Bulletin, Volume I, No. 1 in April 1916; Adams exhibited the coin at the 1916 ANA Convention, on behalf of Newcomer; B. Max Mehl purchased the coin in 1917 and sold it privately to Fred Joy; Mehl purchased Joy's collection, including this coin, in 1925; sold privately to "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Green Estate; the partnership of B.G. Johnson and Eric P. Newman purchased this coin in 1944; B.G. Johnson; Johnson Estate; purchased privately by Frank Smith; Smith & Son; acquired privately by Charles E. Green; advertised by Ruth Green in the June 1954 issue of The Numismatist; Josiah K. Lilly, via Stack's; National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. Plated in the Standard Catalogue of United States Coins, 18th edition, Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, and Don Kagin's Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States.
    Fine estimated grade. C.E. Gilhousen exhibited this coin at a meeting of the California Coin Club on March 7, 1933, as reported in the April 1933 issue of The Numismatist, page 283; sold to coin dealer J. Milnor Brown; advertised in the same April 1933 edition of The Numismatist on page 297; Brown Estate in 1934; Jacob Shapiro (a.k.a. J.F. Bell); Memorable Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 3/1948), lot 940; coin dealer James P. Randall; advertised in the April 1949 issue of The Numismatist, page A166; Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb; Norweb Collection, Part III (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), lot 3349; Donald Kagin; the present coin.
    VG8 PCGS. Advertised in the October 1966 issue of The Numismatist by Abner Kreisberg; 10th Anniversary Auction (Kreisberg-Schulman, 4/1967), lot 601; Irving Moskowitz; Moskowitz Collection (Quality Sales, 2/1977), lot 1485; Donald Kagin; unknown intermediaries; advertised by Marin Numismatics in the October 1992 issue of The Numismatist, page 1450; Robert Bass; advertised by Kagin's in the January 1999 issue of The Numismatist, page 76. This coin is pictured on the NGC website.

    Additional Appearance
    A. "
    Colonel" E.H.R. Green owned a second example of the 1830 Templeton Reid ten, according to the posthumous appraisal of his collection; B.G. Johnson offered the coin to James Kelly on April 17, 1945, for $800, but Kelly returned the coin; possibly number 4, or 5 above.
    A mysterious sixth specimen of the 1830 Templeton Reid ten dollar gold piece has long been rumored. Some researchers (including Walter Breen and the cataloger of the Norweb Collection) believed there was a specimen in the collection of the American Numismatic Society. It is true that an example was exhibited at the 1914 ANS Exhibition, but that coin belonged to H.O. Granberg, and David Hill confirms there is no example in the collection today. Years later, another rumor surfaced based on an image that appeared in an article by Templeton Reid biographer Dexter Seymour in the July 1978 issue of The Numismatist. That image appeared to be a different coin from any of the known specimens. A careful study of the plates on page 249 of Don Kagin's Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States reveals that the Seymour image was a composite, combining the obverse of the Lilly 1830-dated Templeton Reid ten dollar gold piece (the coin in number 3 above) with the reverse of the undated Templeton Reid ten at the bottom of the page. Rumors of a sixth specimen remain unsubstantiated.
    From The Long Island Collection.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2021
    18th-22nd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
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