Goldberg Coins and Collectibles



Sale 78

January Pre-Long Beach Sale 17.5% BP


$3 Gold
 
 
Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 1733
1854. PCGS graded AU-58. CAC Approved. Loaded with light golden mint luster and well struck, as are most $3 gold pieces from the initial year's production (PCGS # 7969) .
Estimated Value $1,100 - 1,200.
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$1,586
Lot 1734
1854. PCGS graded AU-55. Plenty of luster on this first-year date. The 1854 used small letter punches in DOLLARS, the only year this occurs (PCGS # 7969) .
Estimated Value $1,000 - 1,100.
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$1,293
Lot 1735
1854. PCGS graded AU-55. Well struck, delicately toned and lustrous. Limitless eye appeal displayed here. A very attractive coin (PCGS # 7969) .
Estimated Value $1,000 - 1,100.
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$1,234
Lot 1736
1854 NGC graded Unc Details. Improperly cleaned. Boldly struck in honey color gold with remarkably clean fields. Lightly cleaned years ago. Has the look of a choice MS64 example (PCGS # 7969) .
Estimated Value $900 - 950.
The Del Valle Collection.

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$1,998
Lot 1737
1857. PCI graded AU-50. Mostly untoned and retaining a good deal of luster. Only 20,891 minted (PCGS # 7976) .
Estimated Value $900 - 950.
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$1,175
Lot 1738
1859. NGC graded Proof 65 Ultra Cameo. Only 80 pieces minted. Pop 2; none finer at NGC. Only 2 examples designated as UCAM by NGC. Tied for the Finest Known. A blazing Brilliant Proof.

More to the point, the entire surface is dazzling bright and untoned, with Ultra Cameo Gem devices, making this one of the most exceptional early "Indian Princess" $3 pieces extant! This issue is the first in the Proof Three-dollar series for which the Guide Book lists a mintage figure. A total of 80 pieces are believed to have been struck, as reported in federal archives, but it seems impossible that all of these were distributed by year's end considering the meager number of auction appearances (see census below). Mint Director Colonel James Ross Snowden's campaign to market Proofs to collectors was in its infancy, and we agree with Bowers and Winter that possibly as many as two-thirds of the mintage may have been melted as unsold. Today, it could be that as few as a dozen Proof 1859 $3 gold pieces exist, with the present sparkling Gem Proof 65 certainly one of the most appealing.

Both sides are evenly frosted on the devices, frost whose finish is sleek against reflective fields supporting the bold devices. Well-balanced yellow-gold color throughout, there are neither blemishes that are worthy of note nor irregularities such a lint marks or edge problems. Pedigree concerns alone cause us to mention a tiny spot in the field below the letter U in UNITED. With solid technical merits plus infinite eye appeal, this coin could easily become a showpiece in an advanced Type collection of U.S. gold, or, if the challenge be taken, in an even more advanced Proof date collection of $3 gold.

The Year 1859, has a history of rich mining bonanzas west of the Mississippi River. In the newly-discovered Comstock Lode in Nevada, prospector George Hearst paid $450 for a half-interest in a mine which proved to be a lollapalooza. He then used his new-found wealth to engage in newspaper publishing and other enterprises. His son, William Randolph Hearst, would use the family fortune to build San Simeon, a castle on the California coast, and to expand his publishing empire. Meanwhile, in the Colorado district of Kansas Territory, an estimated 10,000 gold-seekers arrived in the Denver area to stake their claims to fortune. Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, visited Denver and learned that the town's only hotel was a tent. As always, gold proved elusive to many, but new arrivals soon found occupation in other trades and laid the foundation for permanent settlements. Oregon was admitted to the Union this year as well, and in the early twentieth century would have its own significant gold discoveries near Sumpter, Baker City, etc.
Estimated Value $40,000 - 45,000.
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Realized
$58,750
Lot 1739
1859. NGC graded AU-58. A hint of light tone with the major detail showing. On the borderline of Mint condition. Only 15,558 struck (PCGS # 7979) .
Estimated Value $1,700 - 1,800.
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$2,291
Lot 1740
1861. NGC graded AU Details. Reverse Improperly Cleaned. Lightly toned. Only 5,959 struck. Many gold pieces were hoarded or exported during the Civil War (1861-65) (PCGS # 7982) .
Estimated Value $800 - 900.
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$1,586
Lot 1741
1861. NGC graded AU Details, Harshly Cleaned. Only 5,959 struck (PCGS # 7982) .
Estimated Value $400 - 450.
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$1,293
Lot 1742
1880. PCGS graded Proof 64. Light hint of golden toning. A lightly frosted head of Liberty seemingly floats on molten gold, with the field nicely reflecting on the obverse; the reverse wreath and denomination similar to this. From a negligible Proof mintage for the year of just 36 pieces, we see the possibility that as few as 25 to 30 of still exist in today's numismatic holdings. The Bowers reference on the series notes: "Proofs are rare and desirable. Most of the 36 pieces minted seem to have survived. However, over a long period of years collectors spent many Proofs, as the market for them was not strong until the 20th century." Bowers also cites a reference of a six-piece gold Proof set of the date selling in June 1885 in a Chapman brothers' sale for just $42, or 50 cents more than face value. With no numismatic premium placed such pieces at the time it is entirely possible that some examples were spent at face value. That would be a shame. All told, the present lovely Proof 64 is an exceptional coin that truly belongs in a first-class U.S. Proof Gold collection.Pop 7; 1 finer in 65 (PCGS # 8044) .

History of the denomination: The new $3 denomination was designed by James B. Longacre, who became chief engraver at the Mint in 1844, after the death of Christian Gobrecht. The obverse features the head of Liberty as an Indian princess, facing left, wearing a feathered headdress upon which is a band inscribed LIBERTY. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds. The same motif was later used on the Type III gold dollar 1856-1889.

The reverse displays an "agricultural wreath" enclosing 3 DOLLARS and the date. The reverse wreath was later used on the Flying Eagle cents of 1856-1858. As is demonstrated, Longacre liked to copy his own work.

The $3 design was continued without major change from beginning to the end, except that issues of the year 1854 alone have the word DOLLARS in smaller letters than do the pieces from 1855 to 1889. Proofs were sold in small numbers each year.
Estimated Value $17,000 - 18,000.
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$24,675
Lot 1743
1881. PCGS graded Proof 64 Deep Cameo. CAC Approved. A gorgeous golden beauty with impressive watery mirror surfaces and wonderful frosted devices. Only 54 proofs struck. The 1881 is a respected rarity in light of its very low mintage (even by $3 Gold piece standards) of just 500 business strikes along with 54 Proofs. Of the 54 Proofs struck, Bowers, in a 2005 treatise The United States Three Dollar Gold Pieces: 1854-1889, puts the number known at 45 or more pieces. Certainly one of the more important survivors of this low mintage issue.

Proofs of this date have long been recognized as being well preserved, much more so than many other issues in the series, with only a few that are noticeably impaired. Certainly from a market availability standpoint, Proofs of 64 or higher quality entice bidders to come out of the woodwork, as the slang expression goes. Noted historian Walter Breen discussed the die characteristics of the true Proofs of 1881 (versus those struck from business strike dies). On the Proofs, over half of J is visible, but less than half of BL on the necks truncation. "Tops of U, bases of A(T) and A(M) joined, triangles of all three A's filled; short arc atop D. Die polish in some feathers, below ear, and at neck next to lower curls. Dentils separate, least so above STAT. Reverse. Low date, upright of final 1 minutely left of tip of right foot of A. Traces of extra outlines within 3 (faintly) and on both ribbon ends. Dentils mostly joined. Right ribbon bow incomplete at left, though less so than in 1880." Pop 2; 2 finer in 66 (PCGS # 98045) .
Estimated Value $20,000 - 25,000.
The Del Valle Collection.

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$30,550
Lot 1744
1881 PCGS graded Genuine AU Details. Cleaning. Only 500 minted. A hint of gold tone. A scarce date (PCGS # 8003) .
Estimated Value $1,000 - 1,200.
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$2,938
Lot 1745
1883 PCGS graded Proof Genuine Unc Details. Smoothed. A nice looking Brilliant Proof. Only 89 Struck. Glimmering luster on unmarked surfaces. A touch of weakness is seen at the ribbon bow on the reverse, but here it is probably due to misplacement of the design feature opposite a high point on the obverse, since a weak bow is seen on most Proof as well as nearly all business strike $3 gold pieces after 1854. Since other areas are razor-sharp, one has to expect that the specially made Proof dies were spaced at exactly the right distance for proper striking and metal flow into the other areas. The obverse details are exceptional (PCGS # 8047) .
Estimated Value $6,000-UP.
Ex: Purchased from Abner Kreisberg in the 1970's The Del Valle Collection.

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$7,638
Lot 1746
1883. NGC graded AU Details, Polished. Only 900 struck (PCGS # 8005) .
Estimated Value $500 - 600.
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$1,293
Lot 1747
1886. PCGS graded Proof 65 PQ. CAC Approved. Housed in an Old Green Holder. Only 142 minted. Lovely golden toning. A blazing gem. A masterpiece of numismatic art, and a Proof Three-dollar coin whose nearly flawless yellow-gold surfaces sparkle with a grand display, stunning brilliance. Besides which, the sleek and detailed devices provide remarkable, indeed acute offset by their razor-sharpness. We have noted before when auctioning Proof $3 gold pieces from this year, this Gem specimen is struck with scientific precision on all points of the design.

The Proof mintage for the 1886 $3 is listed at 142 pieces, was we said, which is higher than in earlier years in the series due to increasing sales to collectors during the 1880s decade. In the region of half of the original mintage is said to survive as identifiable Proofs. Only a small portion of that number, however, can compare with such a splendid state of preservation, fewer still with the sterling detail displayed by this beautiful coin. Pop 9; 1 finer in 66 (PCGS # 8050) .

The year 1886: On June 2, Grover Cleveland, the 2nd bachelor to be elected President (the other was James Buchanan), succumbed to matrimony and became the 1st Chief Executive to be married in the White House. In the Blue Room, he was wedded to his ward, the daughter of his deceased onetime law partner, 21-year-old Frances Folsom. Cleveland was 27 years older than his bride. The marriage lasted 22 years, until his death at the age of 71. The Clevelands had 5 children.
Estimated Value $25,000 - 28,000.
Ex: Superior Feb. 1994 Auction Lot 2400.

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$58,750
Lot 1748
1886. PCGS graded Proof 63 Cameo. CAC Approved. Only 142 Proofs struck for this rare low mintage date. Breen 2 (in Proofs book). Similar obverse to 1885, but lower half of R clear, no outlines on AM. Extra outline on bust point. Die polish on neck near lower curls. Most dentils joined. Reverse. Closed 6. Right upright of 1 below left foot of L; date slants down slightly to right. Extra outlines within and around 3 except at base, and on right ribbon end and tops of LAR. Dentils mostly joined; extra outline about 3:00-5:00.

One of only 142 made: 25 in February with the sets, 22 in March, 13 in May, 28 in September, 54 in December. Possibly half the recorded mintage survive, some impaired.

One of the popular late-period $3 Gold Proofs, and no doubt one that lot viewers will remark is 100% accurately graded. Some examples show little or no cameo contrast. The surfaces are choice, the usual signs of light hairlines that accord with this grade; however, close examination will find only faint evidence of these. Beautiful brisk gold in color, with perfectly struck devices and each is nicely frosted, as noted, providing impressive cameo qualities. This coin is clearly one of the very choicest in its class. Pop 5; 11 finer, 3 in 64, 7 in 65, 1 in 66 (PCGS # 88050) .
Estimated Value $10,000 - 12,000.
Ex: Purchased from Jerry Cohen in the early 1980's The Del Valle Collection.

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$16,450
Lot 1749
1887. NGC graded Mint Error Proof 64 Ultra Cameo PQ. CAC Approved. Triple struck. Rotated reverse 180 degrees. A subtle hint of gold toning. Only 160 minted. A marvelous piece that would be an impressive addition to any serious collection.

This superb coin, marvelous to contemplate, is from the Bass Collection, May 2000, Lot 287, there described as:

"Arguably the most interesting coin in the present catalogue! Choice cameo Proof with greenish gold fields and frosty yellow gold devices. A few minor abrasions are noted.

"Completely triple struck with the reverse die inverted between impressions. The obverse doubling is offset about one millimeter while the reverse is perfectly inverted. A third strike is also visible. Three varieties of 1887 Proof $3 exist, based on die alignment. A few Proofs are known with medallic alignment, many more with normal coin alignment, and two or three (including the coin offered here) struck once with medallic alignment and then with coin alignment, the reverse die (or the obverse die as the results would be the same) being rotated 160° between strikings (should be 180°, and sometimes noted as such in the literature, but the die alignment is the same as the preceding lot and is slightly off register from 180°). The first catalogue appearance of this variety of which we are aware was in Lester Merkin's November 1965 sale."

It is with great pleasure that we offer this piece for competition now, several years later. Perhaps it will disappear for a generation to come, but who knows? The opportunity is what counts, and the coin is available for your consideration (PCGS # 8051) .
Estimated Value $12,000 - 14,000.
From Stack's sale of the Ullmer Collection, May 1974, Lot 431; Bowers's sale of the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, May 2000, Lot 287.

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$30,550
Lot 1750
1887 NGC graded Unc Details. Obverse improperly cleaned. A well struck beauty shimmering with natural golden-sunset mint bloom color. Under strong magnification with the aid of a light source, some minute hairlines can be seen. Only 6,000 minted. Undoubtedly purchased as a Gem BU coin in the 1970's (PCGS # 8009) .

Note: The handsome James B. Longacre first "cereal wreath" which is used on the flying eagle cents, the gold dollars (type 2 and 3) as well as this $3 gold pieces, is comprised of corn, wheat, cotton and tobacco. His second wreath, used on numerous pattern coins as well as the half dimes and dimes during his tenure in office, is comprised of cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, corn, wheat and oak leaves. This is the first design of a cereal wreath created by the Mints chief engraver, 1844-69.
Estimated Value $5,000-UP.
The Del Valle Collection.

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$6,756






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