US Coins

Market Analysis: Pikes Peak gold eagle a collector favorite

The $10 gold eagles struck in Denver between 1860 and 1861 by Clark, Gruber & Co. are among the most distinctive of the privately minted pioneer gold series.

The obverse inscription makes clear that examples were struck from PIKES PEAK GOLD, though as Kagin’s points out, the design is dominated by “a depiction of Pikes Peak that resembles Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream more than anything else.” Philadelphia die engravers hired by the Colorado firm had no idea what the famed mountain (which overlooks the current American Numismatic Association headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado) looked like. “As a result the company was so ridiculed that they had to change the design to the familiar Liberty head.”

The reverse design approximates the eagle seen on contemporary gold issues of the U.S. Mint. Collectors love the mountain motif now. Examples reflect both the ambition of western expansion and the limitations of conveying objects of natural beauty, like mountains, through words alone.

The offered example is graded About Uncirculated 58 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. It sold for $26,400 at Kagin’s Feb. 27 and 28 American Numismatic Association National Money Show auction in Atlanta.

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