Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 4

The Dr. Jon Kardatzke Coin and Currency Collection, Part 1

$3 Gold
Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 1861
  Truly Superb 1883 Proof $3 Gold. PCGS graded Proof 65. Not designated Cameo on the slab, but it is! In fact, this is just about as stunning as Proof gold can get. A few wispy lines float on the orange-peel surfaces, in the fields, but these are nothing on a gleaming true Gem like this. In fact, it just looks "perfect" at first glance. Microscopic inspection reveals nothing but those few wispy lines. With just 900 made for circulation and an additional 89 as Proofs, the serious collector hasn't many to select from at all. If he wants the very best, he can't hope for much more than this. It is truly Superb!
In 1883, America was bathing in riches, so much so in fact that the decade has come to be dubbed the Gilded Age. Millionaires were billionaires by today's standards. Chester A. Arthur was enthroned in the White House, and he served the Nation without a Veep. He reformed the civil service, and his arguments with his own party cost him reelection; but he was ill and died a year out of office anyway, in 1886. But in 1883 Arthur saw the Brooklyn Bridge opened for traffic (an engineering marvel, even today), and aside from a bad flood on the Ohio River the country went merrily along, making money and enjoying life. It was a rosy year--what many people assume the 19th century was like as a whole, though it surely was not. In fact, the coming century was regarded with concern, and the Congress authorized construction of the first steel-hulled warships for the Navy. Within a couple of decades, the entire fleet would become the brand-new Steel Navy. Ready for the perils of an uncertain century. And portraits of Indians like this one, and in large measure gold itself, would be remembrances of another time.
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Lot 1862
  1884 $3 Gold. PCGS graded Proof 64. Quality Proof gold coins are a deluxe item, some of the best things ever made inside mints that have come down through the years with little disturbance to their fragile surfaces. This coin is delightful, even with its obvious but faint hairlines. The orange-peel nature of the mirrors is all there, and the Indian Princess head and other devices on both sides are moderately cameoed against the mirrored fields. The color here is a rich orange gold, something acquired over a period of years of exposure to the air. 106 Proofs were coined in 1884, along with only a thousand others meant for commerce--but in reality commerce called for few such coins at the time. Most were saved by the wealthy or farsighted as special curios of a time in America which was fast fading into oblivion.
Historical note: A little-remembered event of this year was the opening on December 16th of the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, which extended into much of 1885. Placed in New Orleans, it became a bigger event in its day than the much better remembered Philadelphia Centennial Fair back in 1876, the buildings of which still exist, in part, in that city's Fairmont Park along today's Schuylkill Expressway. The Louisiana fair occupied a third more ground than the Philly show had, and had exhibits from near and far--including China and Japan, then somewhat remote and romantic locales in the minds of Americans. While the 1884-1885 fair allowed the Nation to show off its numerous industrial and farm products, it became something of far greater significance for the South--a re-emergence of the former Confederate states as part of a vigorously growing America, again united as a force for the coming century to reckon with. How those presages proved themselves in the 20th century!.
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Lot 1863
  1889 $3 Gold. PCGS graded MS-63. A lustrous and choice coin that boasts a good strike and pleasing surfaces. One notes a few minor contact marks in the fields, but these are not annoying. From the final year of production of this curious denomination.
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