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Proof Gold Coins

Proof Gold Coins represent the ultimate in terms of beauty when it comes to gold coins. No other manufacture or striking of coin can compete with the beauty of a Deep Ultra Cameo Proof Gold Coin. Proof Gold coins are considered among the best of the best of all numismatic coins and actually go beyond numismatics and are considered real art in metal form.

Rarity: Classic Proof Gold Coins range from scarce to extremely rare. Some dates in classic proof gold coins have single digit mintages. Some proof gold coins have mintages in the hundreds at most. Compare this with modern proof coins which have mintages in the thousands-millions. It is therefore possible for a collector or investor to own a quality proof gold coin, with less than a couple dozen known for a few thousand dollars and it is here where we can see the stability in such proof gold coins.

There are extreme rarities in the proof gold coin series that can be purchased for as little as 5 figures which are finest known. Others which are one of a kind numismatic proof gold coin rarities run into the hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars. Every investor, large or small can enjoy the ownership of these great proof gold coins, and put a few of these coins away for a rainy day or even help with a child's college education. Shown here are hand picked examples of exquisite proof gold coins, chosen for their rarity, eye appeal and/or value.

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United States Proof One Dollar Gold Coins: Beginning in 1854, proof one dollar gold coins were struck almost continuously through 1889. Utilizing designs by Chief Engraver of the Mint James B. Longacre, three distinct types were produced.

These are the Liberty Head (Type 1), the Indian Princess Head, Small Head (Type 2) and the Indian Princess Head, Large Head (Type 3). The original Type 1 pieces were a tiny 13mm in diameter and had to be modified to better facilitate the minting process as well as to differentiate them from small silver coins also in circulation. In 1854, Type 2 pieces were issued and enlarged to 15mm.

On the Type 2, the obverse design was changed to that of an Indian Princess but the height of relief on the coin proved problematic and the design was again modified in 1856 with the Type 3.

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Proof Quarter EagleReich’s Capped Head Proof Quarter Eagle (1821-1834): In 1808 John Reich designed a capped draped bust quarter eagle. This one-year type is extremely rare and there was no proof mintage. However, in 1821 Robert Scot, despite advanced age and failing eyesight, designed a quarter eagle, which resembles Reich’s earlier design.

The new Liberty faces left wearing a smaller Phrygian cap inscribed with LIBERTY. She is surrounded by thirteen stars with the date below. Because the effigy is truncated at the neck, the head is larger than on the previous issue. Also the stars form a complete arc above Liberty, unlike the 1808 design where the cap interrupted them. The reverse is similar to the 1808 issue. It shows a heraldic eagle facing left holding arrows and an olive branch in its talons. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is interrupted by the wing tips and arcs above. The denomination 2½ D. is below. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is on a ribbon that arcs from one wing tip to the other. Dentils are near the edge on both sides of the coin.

In 1823 Robert Scot died, and the Mint hired William Kneass to take his place. Kneass was a bank-note engraver. He was hired to improve the existing designs of all coinage series. In 1829 he did this for the quarter eagle. The new design had smaller stars, smaller letters, a redrawn Liberty, and a redrawn eagle. It also had a high, plain raised rim because of the use of a closed collar. The new collar imparted a reeded edge and gave the coins a standard diameter. More Details >>>


Proof Three Dollar GoldLongacre’s Proof Three Dollar Gold 1854 to 1889: In 1851 a law was passed that authorized a three cent piece and also made the postage rate three cents. Two years later a new law was passed authorizing a light weight silver three cent coinage and three dollar gold coin. Evidently lawmakers believed that the gold coin would be useful to buy rolls of three cent coins and sheets of stamps. It’s closeness to the quarter eagle, which was widely used, made the denomination somewhat illogical, and the public proved indifferent to them.

James Longacre designed the three dollar gold coin using an Indian Princess motif. He had to create a motif that would be distinctly different from the quarter and half eagle coronet designs. The design, similar to his Gold Dollar Large Head, shows a Caucasian Liberty facing left wearing a stylized headdress. Inscribed on the headband is LIBERTY. She is surrounded by the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. In using the Indian Princess motif, Longacre felt that he was designing something that was uniquely American rather than an adoption from the classics. The reverse shows an open wreath of corn, cotton, wheat, and tobacco tied at the bottom with a bow. The denomination 3 appears at the top center of the wreath, with DOLLARS and the date below within the wreath. Longacre liked the wreath design so much that he adopted it for use on the small cent of 1856. More Details >>>


Proof Gold StellaStellas 1879-1880: The four dollar “Stellas” were developed from the mistaken idea that international trade would be facilitated if the United States had a coin that was roughly the equivalent in value to certain coins of other trading nations. It was felt that the four dollar coin would be approximately equal to the Austrian 8 florins, Dutch 8 florins, French 20 francs, Italian 20 lire, and Spanish 20 pesetas. This idea was mistaken because currencies fluctuate in value. Also gold coins would be valued by their weight and fineness not their denomination for international trade. Nonetheless, John A. Kasson, the United States Ambassador to Austria-Hungary, prevailed and convinced Congress of the need for these coins.

There were two types of Stellas. The first was designed by Charles Barber. It is called the Flowing Hair Type. It shows Liberty facing left with her hair loosely tied behind wearing a band inscribed LIBERTY. The words of the inscription 6 G .3 S .7 C 7 G R A M S separated by stars surround Liberty. The reverse, which was common to both types, shows a large five pointed star inscribed with ONE STELLA followed by 400 CENTS. Surrounding the star are the words DEO EST GLORIA and E PLURIBUS UNUM. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA arc above the star and previous inscription, and words FOUR DOL. are below. The second obverse type was designed by George Morgan. It has the same inscriptions as the Barber type, but Liberty is seen with her hair stylishly coiled. More Details >>>


Proof Half EagleReich’s Capped Head Proof Half Eagles 1813-1834: John Reich designed the half eagles of 1813 to 1834. They are known as the Capped Heads. Only the 1813 to 1815 were designed by John Reich. Although the 1818 to 1829 were done by Robert Scott, he copied Reich’s earlier design.

The obverse shows Liberty facing left wearing a cap inscribed LIBERTY. She is surrounded by thirteen stars with the date below. Scott’s copies were not nearly as artistic as Reich’s. Liberty’s features are coarse and thick. His eagle is more defiant with its opened mouth and aggressively curved neck. The heraldic eagle is surrounded by the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Below is the denomination, 5 D. E PLURIBUS UNUM is on a banner over the eagle’s head between its wings. Dentils border both sides of the coin.

No proof mintage for this series is listed in the Red Book, A Guide Book of United States Coins. Obviously any that are seen are prohibitively rare. The population reports of both grading services list 6 proof coins in all conditions for all dates of this design type. NGC has 1 for 1830 and 3 for 1833, and PGCS has 1 for 1832 and 1 for 1833. More Details >>>


Proof EalgeScott’s Proof Eagles 1795-1804: The early eagle coins have no denomination because gold was valued by its weight and fineness as was the European coinage of the time. As seen on contemporary Large Cents, dentils are at the edge of both the obverse and reverse of these coins.

The obverse design shows Liberty facing right. Below her is the date which is off center to the left. Between the date and the word LIBERTY on the left side of the coin are eight stars. Another eight stars follow LIBERTY down to the bust. (There were other arrangements of the stars including ten and five, and twelve and four.) Liberty wears a large, soft cap. Her hair flows down and also shows on her forehead. The design was probably taken from a Roman engraving of a Greek goddess. Liberty’s cap was certainly not a Phrygian or liberty cap. The liberty cap, emblematic of freedom, was worn by freed slaves and freed gladiators in Roman times. It was a close fitting cap used to cover a shorn head, which was one of the way slaves were identified. The oversized cap worn by Liberty has been called a turban, and the design has been called the Turban Head because of it.

The Type 1 reverse shows a rather scrawny eagle standing on a branch holding a wreath in its mouth as it looks right. For some, the eagle looks like a chicken with oversized wings. In an arc around the eagle are the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. More Details >>>


Proof Double EagleLongacre Proof Double Eagles 1849-1907:
The Double Eagle of 1849-1907 was designed by James Barton Longacre. For all dates the total proof mintage was 2,426 coins. Therefore, all proof double eagles of this type are rare, and some are exceedingly rare.

With the Gold Rush of 1849 in California, there was a large increase in the amount of gold coming into the Mint for coinage. Consequently, a bill was introduced in the House to coin $20.00 denominations called double eagles. Mint Director Robert Patterson tried to use this new coinage bill as an excuse to terminate James Longacre as the Engraver because of political and other differences. The Chief Coiner, Franklin Peale, with Patterson’s approval and help, was making medals on the side. Patterson was afraid that Longacre would interfere with Peale’s profitable business. Therefore, Peale would not cooperate with Longacre; however, Longacre prevailed and was able to retain his position and complete the dies for the double eagles. More Details >>>



Proof High Relief St. GaudensSaint-Gaudens’ Proof Double Eagles: Many consider the Augustus Saint-Gaudens 1907 high relief Roman Numerals double eagle to be the most beautiful United States coin ever made. Reminiscent of the coins of ancient Greece, these coins were designed by Saint-Gaudens at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt, his friend. Roosevelt felt that the contemporary coinage was “atrociously hideous.” He had what he called his “pet crime.” Now that he was president, he could get rid of the ordinary look of the current coinage and fulfill his dream of having a national coinage that would be both beautiful and dignified. Saint-Gaudens, who created his 1905 Inauguration Medal, agreed. “Whatever I produce cannot be worse than the inanities now displayed on our coins.” Unfortunately, Saint-Gaudens was in failing health and never lived to see his new double eagles in circulation. He died on August 3, 1907. More Details >>>

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