US Coins

Tiny 1852 gold dollar pattern tops $33,000

An 1852 “ring” pattern dollar in gold, graded Proof 68 Cameo, sold for $33,600 at Heritage’s March 29 Premier Session auction in Dallas.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

A newly discovered example of an 1854-O Coronet gold double eagle graded Extremely Fine 45 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. realized $204,000 and topped bidding at Heritage’s March 29 Premier Session of its Dallas U.S. Coin Auction. It was one of two dozen examples of this rare New Orleans Mint issue individually traced by Heritage in its catalog entry for the three-day auction that realized nearly $6.2 million.

But not all of the big prices were for large-sized, high-denomination coins. Here is a smaller coin — a pattern, specifically — in a top grade, one of several small coins that impressed bidders.

The Lot:

1852 pattern gold dollar, Judd 145 Thin, Proof 68 Cameo

The Price:



The Story:

The biggest complaint about the small-sized gold dollars in the mid-19th century was their tiny size. The diameter of the gold dollar increased slightly in 1854, but two years before, the Philadelphia Mint experimented with holed dollar patterns as a way to increase the diameter without increasing the weight (and gold content). These are often called “ring” or “holey” dollars and the absence of a center means that the designs are limited to mostly functional information.

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This one is cataloged as Judd 145 Thin in United States Pattern Coins: Experimental and Trial Pieces. There are both thin and thick planchet variants.

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This piece, at NGC Proof 68 Cameo, is among the finest known. Heritage writes, “It is tempting to call this piece flawless. We can find no technical flaws on either side, and obviously NGC thought the same.” It sold for $33,600, a sharp reduction from the $47,437.50 that it realized back in a 2011 Heritage auction.

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