Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gold One Dollar

Gold one dollar coins struck in the USA have a very interesting history. The first year that the US Mint struck gold one dollar coins, 1849, is also the first year that the US Mint struck $20 gold double eagles.

The contrast between the 1849 gold one dollar, which is quite tiny in size almost like a thumbnail and the smallest regular circulation coin ever struck by the US Mint (the photo below is a very enlarged view to show the coin's beautiful detail), and the 1849 $20 gold double eagle, is extreme, as is a comparison with gold eagles.

The really very tiny Type 1 gold one dollar coins then spanned the period of 1849 to mid-1854. There are quite a few much more highly valued branch mint issues even in what at first might seem to be a short or easy series.

Saying that the gold one dollar series is easy would only be realistic to say if what is meant is a "year set", meaning one coin from each year, and of course they all are coins struck at Philadelphia because those are the least costly.

A similar example is if it was meant that acquiring a single gold one dollar Type 1 for a type set should not be difficult, where again it is probably much more likely than not that the coin would have been struck at Philadelphia.

Since the Type 2 gold one dollar is much rarer and more valuable than the Type 1 (and also much rarer than the Type 3 gold one dollar), even examples struck at Philadelphia are more costly than many dates in the gold one dollar Type 1 and gold one dollar Type 3 series.

The Type 2 gold one dollar also is slightly larger than the Type 1 gold one dollar, as is the Type 3 gold one dollar.

The Type 2 gold one dollar has a high value, and was very short-lived, struck only from 1854 - 1856. While it is technically true that a complete gold one dollar Type 2 set has only 6 coins, simply being able to buy one mint state or almost mint state example of one of the two most common dates (the 1854 and 1855 Philadelphia issues, unsurprisingly) is beyond the reach of many collectors.

Following the short gold one dollar Type 2 series, the gold one dollar Type 3 series ran continuously from 1856 - 1889. From 1871 through the end of the series in 1889, only the main original Philadelphia branch of the US Mint struck the gold one dollar coin.

It seems that most people agree with the conventional view that says you should only buy coins graded professionally in holders by NGC, PCGS, and ANACS, at least until you personally become experienced in grading coins yourself. If you have any coins that are degrading, NCS (Numismatic Conservation Services) is thought by many to be the recognized experts in recovering degrading coins.

A very interesting discussion of the quality (specifically, the lack thereof) of many mostly branch-mint issues of surviving examples of the gold one dollar can be found here. With many dates having less than 30 surviving pieces, and some less than 10 surviving pieces, many of the proof issues in all three types of the USA gold one dollar series have a very high value and are extremely rare.

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