Proof Territorial gold coins are ultra rare. They so infrequently appear on the marketplace, either through auction or via private treaty, that most collectors do not even know they exist. Our November 2023 Rarities Night session presents the collector of Territorial gold with two spectacular Kellogg and Co. $50 Proofs.
The first, lot 2398 is a very choice example of the legendary “King of Territorial Gold Coins” with an incredible pedigree. The piece can be traced back to Augustus Humbert shortly after it was struck and was retained by him until his death in 1873. Since then it was in the Captain Andrew Zabriskie, John Story Jenks, Arthur C. Nygren, John H. Clapp, and Louis E. Eliasberg collections. The Proof Kellogg & Co. $50 original is the stuff of numismatic dreams! Experts have traced 14 distinct specimens, with this one listed as #8 on PCGS CoinFacts. Attributed Breen #4 and graded Proof-63 Cameo and approved by CMQ-X, it is high on the Condition Census. This amazing numismatic treasure was retained by the Eliasberg family, and is now making its first appearance since the 1996 Eliasberg sale, a generation ago.
The lot that follows was struck from the same pair of dies, but 146 years later. Following the recovery of the treasure from the shipwreck S.S. Central America, a number of large sized ingots from the wreck were used for a special project. The California Gold Marketing Group, a consortium of numismatic professionals handling the disposition of the treasure, decided to “shave” the faceplates off the unsold bars, retaining the historic information. With the recovered gold, restrikes of the 1855 Kellogg $50 would be created using transfer dies from the original 1855 Kellogg $50 dies, which at the time were owned by dealer Don Kagin. After the restrikes were produced from the transfer dies, seven examples were struck from the original dies, and distributed to the members of the California Gold Marketing Group. These seven modern rarities were “hiding in plain sight” per an article by Steven Feltner of PCGS.
The opportunity to bid on and acquire any example from this set of dies is remarkably rare. To have the opportunity to bid on and acquire an original and a restrike in the same sale will not likely happen again. We invite you to take a look at these and all the incredible territorial gold coins in our Rarities Night Session. The entire November 2023 Expo Auction is available for viewing and bidding at StacksBowers.com.