In a letter dated January 13, 1932, Waldo Newcomer provided the following comments about the 1907 Indian Head $20 to coin dealer, Wayte Raymond (at the time, Raymond was handling Newcomer's pattern coins on consignment): "I called your attention specially to the piece which I have number 1740A [based on the Adams-Wooding reference] and wrapped separately. This I consider not only the greatest rarity in my collection, believing it to be absolutely unique, but to me it is one of the most extraordinary and interesting pieces I have ever seen. I have valued it at $10,000. and if it will not bring this you can retuirn it to me and I will keep it as a souvenir of my collection..." Apparently, Raymond was unable to place the coin, as it was marked "R" [for Returned] on Raymond's copy of the Newcomer pattern inventory. Newcomer continued his efforts to sell the coin, ultimately enlisting the services of Edgar Adams, who placed the coin with F.C.C. Boyd sometime after September 11, 1933 (after having already offered the piece to John W. Garrett and having been turned down).
On his inventory sheet, Newcomer typed: "Probably Unique, being owned by the engraver. All others destroyed..."
Pedigree (courtesy of raregold.com)
The ownership history of this unique coin begins with a letter found by Mr. Carl Carlson, Curator of the Johns Hopkins University collection from Edgar Adams dated September 11, 1933 offering the coin to renowned numismatist John Work Garrett for $10,000. He indicated that he was acting on the behalf of Waldo C. Newcomer, well-known Baltimore collector, who had obtained the piece directly from the estate of Charles E. Barber, the Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint when the piece was struck.
Garrett refused the offer, and the piece was then offered to and purchased by Fred C.C. Boyd, owner of Union News Company (which at one time operated newsstands in railroad stations and other locations). Boyd's wife sold the piece to Abe Kosoff and Abner Kreisberg (Numismatic Gallery) for $1,500 shortly after Kosoff and Kreisberg sold the rest of Boyd's collection in 1944 and 1945.
They subsequently sold the coin to King Farouk of Egypt for slightly less than $10,000. After he was exiled in 1954, King Farouk's significant holdings of U.S. coins were sold by the Egyption government.
Abe Kosoff went to Cairo and bought the coin for the second time for 1,200 Egyptian Pounds or approximately $3,400. Kosoff sold the coin to Tennessee collector Dr. J.E. Wilkison in 1956 for $10,000.
Paramount International Coin Corporation (David Akers) purchased it along with many other gold patterns from Wilkison in 1973. Paramount then traded it to A-Mark Financial who sold it by private treaty to Maryland dealer Julian Leidman in 1979 for $500,000.
Hancock & Harwell Rare Coins purchased the coin in the ANA Auction in 1981 for $475,000, setting a record auction price at the time.
Several years later it was sold to a major North Eastern collector of Saint Gaudens coinage for a mid six figure price, where the coin now resides.
Sources and/or recommended reading:
Akers, D.W. (1975). United States Gold Patterns, p. 63. Racine, WI: Western Publishing Company, Inc.
Newcomer, W.C. (1932). Personal letter to Wayte Raymond dated January 13, 1932.