Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 63

Lot 1312

1856-S. NGC graded MS-63. Well struck up including all the numerals in the date. Fully lustrous with a hint of delicate golden toning. A choice example of the popular Type 2 gold dollar. Only at San Francisco were Type 2 dollars struck in the year 1856. Philadelphia and the other mints had, presumably by then, been instructed to await replacement dies in lower relief. In our opinion, a Premium Quality example for the given grade. Only 24,600 struck. Pop 2; 4 finer (PCGS # 7536) .

Historic Note: Upon receiving his post to Mint Director in 1853, Colonel James R. Snowden readied plans to modify the gold dollar that James B. Longacre had executed in 1849. To this end, Longacre was instructed to increase the diameter of the denomination from 13 to 15 millimeters and reduced the thickness proportionately. At the same time, he seized upon the opportunity to redesign both the obverse and reverse devices.

The chief engraver altered the gold dollar's resemblance to the double eagle when he utilized his replica of the marble Venus Accroupie from the three dollar gold piece. The wreath of corn, cotton, maple, and tobacco that Longacre would in due course immortalize on the Flying Eagle cent also made the move from the three dollar gold piece to the new gold dollar. Once the Treasury Department agreed to the new design, coinage began on August 19, 1854. Within no time the Mint laid bare the new design's shortcoming: The relief of the obverse motif was too high and Longacre had situated it opposite the highest points of the reverse. This created poor metal flow into the die cavities and even the capable Philadelphia Mint could not generate fully struck examples. Most pieces emerged from the Mint with weak devices and rapidly wore down to illegibility. The barely identifiable survivors that the Mint retrieved from circulation were melted as hastily as they had been designed. After two years of production at Philadelphia and token outputs at the branch mints that extended into 1856, Longacre reworked the denomination and created the lower-relief Type Three gold dollar.
Estimated Value $25,000 - 27,000.

Realized $29,900

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