Classic United States gold coins top many numismatic wish lists, with few collectors ever able to realize what many would consider an ultimate goal – owning early proof gold coinage. The United States Mint struck proof coins by the 1820s, but proof coinage struck before 1858 is rare. Gold proofs from the pre-1858 era are even rarer still, with quantities measured by the handful. That is certainly the case with the 1845 gold proof coinage.
Just three sets of proof gold were struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1845. One of these sets resides at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The other has never been seen. Where is the third set? It is held by Tangible Investments, Inc., with its original leather mint box, to boot!
“In 1845, there were only two known collectors who could afford to buy proof coins from the United States Mint – Joseph Mickley and Matthew Stickney,” said Silvano DiGenova, owner of Tangible Investments, Inc. He explained that early proofs, such as the three stellar proofs featured here, were known as “master coins,” struck for celebratory presentation purposes rather than for sale to the broader numismatic public. “A third set was presented to a dignitary who exported it to England, where it remained until the 1970s.”
Mike Bonham, executive vice president of Tangible Investments, Inc., noted, “The set presented here was acquired by prominent collector John Jay Pittman in 1948 and kept intact for 50 years until his family sold the collection in the late 1990s. The set resided in the Tacasyl Collection, which was the finest collection of proof gold coins ever assembled.”
This three-piece gold proof set is representative of all the United States gold coins in production in the mid-1840s. The gold dollar wouldn’t come along until 1849, a year before the first double eagle debuted in mainstream circulation during 1850. The $3 gold coin arose in 1854, and the rare $4 Stella didn’t emerge until 1879. The quarter eagle, half eagle, and eagle proudly sport their Liberty Head designs by Christian Gobrecht, and were all circulating issues, with the half-eagle a true workhorse coin of its day.
The proofs assembled here are unquestionably the best of the best. The 1845 Quarter Eagle graded PCGS PR66+CAM, with the 1845 Half Eagle grading PR66DCAM and the magnificent 1845 Eagle rounding out the set at PCGS PR65CAM. This three-coin set, ranked as number one for its category in the PCGS Set Registry, is estimated to be valued in the seven figures. For more information about the 1845 Gold Proof Set, contact Mike Bonham by phone at 949-878-0393 or by email address via [email protected].