US Coins

Longacre’s Indian Head gold at upcoming Legend Regency 45 sale

Legend is enthusiastic about a Proof 66 Deep Cameo 1863 Indian Head gold $3 piece with a top estimate of $125,000, which will be offered at its Regency Auction 45 in Las Vegas.

Images courtesy of Legend Rare Coin Auctions.

A trio of 19th century Indian Head gold coins are among the standouts at Legend Rare Coin Auctions’ Regency Auction 45 on May 26 to 27 in Las Vegas. The sale is part of the Professional Coin Grading Service Members Only Show at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino.

Legend begins its description for an 1863 Indian Head gold $3 piece, graded by PCGS as Proof 66 Deep Cameo, by writing that, although they agree with the grade, “We do not know what CAC’s hang up is and why no bean.” Referring to the Certified Acceptance Corp. green sticker, which signifies quality within the grade, Legend writes that the offered coin “looks like it was carved from a block of frosted gold,” adding that its eye appeal is “jaw dropping.” The cataloger continues, “When you twirl the coin, the mirrors look like a freshly formed sheet of ice. The flash of the coin is nearly blinding. Miss Liberty and the details are pinpoint sharp in strike and have thick yellow frost.”

The date is desirable as a Civil War era issue from a low mintage of 39 pieces. Legend has placed a top estimate of $125,000 on it, relying on few comparable sales but for one graded PCGS Proof 65 Deep Cameo that sold for $93,000 at Heritage’s 2020 January Florida United Numismatists auction. There, Heritage wrote that it was one of 14 to 16 known of the mintage, which was delivered on March 23, 1863, and that the obverse die had been previously used to strike Proof issues since 1861.

Duo of gold dollars

The Act of March 3, 1849, authorized the small-sized gold dollar, and three distinct design types ensued. Type I issues of 1849 to 1854 were struck with a Coronet type Liberty, similar to that used on the other gold denominations of the era. James B. Longacre’s Type II Indian Head design was first used on gold dollars in 1854, and these are larger in diameter and thinner than their predecessors. The type changed again in 1856 with the enlargement of the obverse device, and this, called Type III, continued until the conclusion of the series in 1889.

Among the three types, Type II is the rarest as a type coin, and the design is well-represented on an offered 1854 Indian Head gold dollar graded MS-65+ by PCGS, with a green CAC sticker. The cataloger praises the unusually bold strike and eye appeal, while lamenting, “We wish this is what all Gems looked like; not just is the eye appeal fantastic, but the technical grade is spot on!” before adding, “Deep orange golden coloration blends with delicate rose-gold patina, which is brought to the fore with a vividly brilliant mint luster that blooms boldly all over.”

Legend predicts it will “tickle the fancy of any serious gold type collector,” and it carries a high estimate of $35,000, with Legend citing its sale of a similarly graded example at its June 2019 auction for $34,075 as a comparable. 

Perhaps even more appealing is an 1855 Indian Head gold dollar graded MS-66+ with a green CAC sticker that is among the top 10 highest graded examples of the date. Legend explains, “The luster aids in bringing out a seductive rose and orange gold patina that is clearly totally original and the surfaces have clearly never been messed with,” recognizing that the raised marks from clashed and cracked dies — as struck — are the only marks of note on the coin. It carries a top estimate of $85,000 with Legend calling the offering a “VERY IMPORTANT” opportunity, since, “Every aspect of this coin screams quality, originality, and status as a very special GEM survivor for the gold type collector.”

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