US Coins

1865 Three Dollar gold coin struck with medal turn

The first Proof 1865 Indian Head gold $3 coin struck with dies oriented in medal turn instead of coin turn has been identified.

Centennial Auctions will offer the coin, graded Proof 61 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., in its Oct. 17 sale in the ballroom of the Holiday Inn at 9 Northeastern Blvd., in Nashua, New Hampshire. The live auction begins at 4:30 p.m. ET.

There will never be another Reverse Proof American Buffalo”The Reverse Proof American Buffalo, a model of marketing: Also in this week’s print issue, we explore a cluster of Lincoln cents found while searching two rolls and ponder their origin.

Among other highlights in the auction is an 1880 Coronet gold $10 eagle that was recently certified Mint State 65+,  the finest example certified by NGC.

1865 gold $3 coin

Identification of the Proof 1865 Indian Head gold $3 coin struck with medal turn was made recently, by numismatists Julian Leidman and John Dannreuther during the Aug. 1 to 5 American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Denver. 

According to Steve Schofield from Centennial Auctions, the die orientation is not noted on the grading label insert contained within the NGC encapsulation.

Schofield said he brought a number of the lots to be offered in his firm's Oct. 17 auction to the ANA convention, including the gold $3 coin. Schofield said Leidman, with Bonanza Coins in Silver Spring, Maryland, took particular interest in the Proof $3 coin, spending considerable time examining the coin’s obverse and reverse. The reason for Leidman’s extended evaluation was the orientation of the coin’s obverse and reverse. Numismatist and gold specialist John Dannreuther from John Dannreuther Rare Coins in Memphis, Tennessee, also examined the coin and concurred with the attribution.

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With coin turn, when a coin is rotated on its vertical axis, the reverse is oriented 180 degrees opposite to the obverse, so the reverse appears upside down. With medal turn, the reverse appears right side up relative to the obverse.

The reported production in Proof for the 1865 Indian Head gold $3 coin is 25, and, according to Schofield, possibly half that mintage survives.

“While there are coins that grade higher — the [Ed] Trompeter Proof 66 piece, sold by Bowers and Merena in 2004 for $60,375, comes to mind — none of this date have ever been identified as a medal strike,” Schofield said. “Maybe [Mint officials] noticed the die rotation and corrected it. After 150+ years, you would think at least one other would exist, would have been found, and would be known. That is not the case.”

1880 gold eagle

What is now the finest known 1880 Coronet gold $10 eagle was consigned to the Centennial Auctions sale after being located in New Hampshire. The coin is graded NGC MS-65+. Before the coin was submitted, the grading service had only graded one example MS-65 and none higher. The highest graded from Professional Coin Grading Service submissions is MS-64+.

The total reported mintage for the 1880 issue from the Philadelphia Mint is 1,644,840 coins.

Schofield said the family that consigned the coin indicated it had been handed down through multiple generations. “It’s always a good feeling to tell a seller you think one of their coins is special and then find out it is,” Schofield said.

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