US Coins

1792 Washington President gold pattern $1.74 million

A unique 1792 Washington President gold coin that research suggests may be a $10 eagle pattern realized $1.74 million during Heritage Auctions’ Aug. 16 Platinum Night auction in Philadelphia.

The piece is said to have been the favorite numismatic item of Eric P. Newman, who owned the coin until his death in 2017 at the age of 106.

The coin’s appearance in the August auction was only the third time in its existence for it to be offered at public auction, the first in 128 years.

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According to Heritage catalogers, research strongly suggests the 1792 Washington President gold eagle was expressly struck for, presented to, and carried by George Washington.

Further, according to Heritage, a 1792 letter to Washington, located in 2010, provides compelling evidence that the pattern was struck for Washington in Newburyport, Massachusetts, by polymath Jacob Perkins, rather than in England as previously believed.

“The Washington President gold eagle is both unique and monumentally important, being the earliest gold pattern submitted for consideration as a United States coin,” said Jim Halperin, co-founder of Heritage Auctions. “Numismatic researchers widely agree that it is almost certainly George Washington’s own pocket piece.”

In both 1875 and 1890, its only previous public auction appearances, the gold coin was described as likely struck for Washington and carried by him. When the New York Coin & Stamp Company handled the Lorin G. Parmelee Collection in June 1890, the Washington gold piece served as the cover art and appeared as lot 618. It realized $220.

In 1933, “Col.” E.H.R. Green, son of “Witch of Wall Street” Hetty Green, purchased it privately for more than $2,500, a princely sum in his day.

Newman acquired the coin in 1942 at an undisclosed price from the Green estate, and the gold piece has not changed hands since.

“Since Washington, only eight other collectors have owned this coin,” Halperin said. “One very fortunate individual is destined to be the next guardian of this quintessential prize, George’s Coin.” 

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