Bids for 'any serious collector's' dream California coin reach $80,000


Online bidding in Heritage Auctions' Chicago Signature US Coin & Platinum Night Auction, scheduled for August 11-14, is now underway.

And the great news is the Dallas auctioneer is true to its word when it claims to offer "a remarkable line-up of rarities" across its 750 lots.  

Among the sales many highlights is this 1855-S Proof Three Dollar Gold Piece, a unique "supreme rarity" graded PR64 (or "Proof 64", meaning thata magnifier inspection will show only very fine hairlines on the coin).

Formerly of the legendary Golden Gate Collection, this California coin has provenance to match its quality, dating to the era when the Californian gold rush changed not just the state but all of North America forever.

Gold dust was the medium of exchange in California, and the individual prospectors typically received less than half its real value. An alternative was to sell the dust to local bankers who also substantially discounted the value, shipping large quantities to New Orleans or Philadelphia. 

California history... The 1855-S Proof Three Dollar Gold Piece coin

Private individuals and small companies soon established themselves in California to produce coins from the region's fresh gold supply, seizing the opportunity where the Federal Government had been slow to meet its responsibilities.

Of those coins, the 1855-S Proof Three Dollar Gold Piece is a rediscovered masterpiece.

When Walter Breen penned his numismatics text the Proof Encyclopedia, published in 1977, the proof 1855-S three dollar gold was unknown to him.  

In fact, the coin didn't make its first appearance until the 1984 Apostrophe Sale. Breen later revised his book in 1989 to suggest that a second proof example was known to him. But he gave no further details, other than to say it was in a "private collection."

Until this supposed 'privately owned' coin emerges, this 1855-S Proof Three Dollar Gold Piece for sale can be regarded as unique.  

The coin can be regarded as unique, and bids stand at $80,000

Previous owners of this coin include Jeff Garrett, who purchased the newly-discovered gold piece at the 1984 ANA convention. At the time he described it as "a supremely rare Proof that any serious collector would love to own."

Not surprisingly for a coin of this historical significance, that is still the case. At the time of writing (July 25), bids on the 1855-S Proof Three Dollar Gold Piece stand at $80,000 with 17 days and 15 hours left to bid online.

Watch this space for more news on Heritage's Chicago Signature US Coin & Platinum Night Auction.


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