The Deadwood Collection of Upright 5 Gold Dollars hits the market


After 24 years of research and competitive buying, collector Craig Krueger is ready to part ways with “The Deadwood Collection”

By CoinWeek …..

Collector by Craig Kruger relationship with the 1856 gold dollars started in 1997. A collector all his life, Krueger took the advice of a great dealer, who advised him to concentrate on an area that interested him. And he reduced his concentration. Taking stock of the market for classic American gold coins, he found that gold dollars were undervalued and undervalued – especially the 1856 gold dollar with the “Amount 5“date style.

In 1856 the United States currency gold dollars minted with two distinct date logotypes. There “Inclined 5“, which is the most frequently encountered version, features an italicized 5. This was the style employed by the Mint during the first six years of the 1850s. The other style, “Upright 5”, cuts a higher figure ascending and descending.

Krueger was curious as to why the Mint had produced 1856 gold dollars with two date styles and wondered why there was little price discrepancy between them despite the “Upright 5” being much more elusive. His hunt for answers led him to the collection of American Numismatic Societythe back arch of National Numismatic Collection to Smithsonianand the National Archives. Krueger also turned to online auctions, where he started browsing ads on Telecommerce, eBay, and Over time, his collection grew to over 150 pieces. Thus composed to accumulate all the examples that came to market, Krueger had managed to almost corner the market on a red book variety.

Having nearly 50-60% of the surviving population of the variety (by Krueger’s estimate) gave him the opportunity to continue his research and studies. In June 2002, Krueger and a renowned expert John W. Dannreuther produce an article for The numismatist entitled “A New Slant on Coins of 1850-56”, in which the two affirmed their belief that the appearance of the vertical date logotype towards the end of 1856 was the result of an effort to standardize dates on all American coins. They also pointed to evidence that the “Upright 5” was produced after the “Slanted 5” variety – a position which is supported by the complete abandonment of italicized numerals on all US denominations from 1857 onwards. quality of the research undertaken to produce the item has earned the pair the prestigious ANA award Wayte and Olga Raymond Memorial Literary Prize.

The evolution of the tilted 5 on US coin types from 1850 to 1855. Image Stack’s Bowers/CoinWeek.

According to Krueger, the numismatic community’s view of the “Upright 5” was wrong.

“The coins tell the story of the standardization of a date style and the Mint’s efforts to combat counterfeiting in the 1850s.”

Krueger’s deep understanding of the strain also led him to write a follow-up article on the strain, which was published in the The numismatist in 2005. In the article “Making the Grade: The 1856 “Upright 5″ Gold Dollar”, Krueger approximated the relative rarity of the variety, citing the opinions of prominent numismatists and his own observations. According to Krueger’s research, the Mint probably struck no more than 75,000 copies of the Upright 5. A paltry sum compared to the 1,687,936 coins that were probably struck using dies with the date in italics.

In truth, these market inefficiencies exist throughout the numismatic landscape when commercial interests precede numismatic discovery. But Krueger’s position is somewhat analogous to the coinage landscape of 1873 before collector Harry X Boosel promoted and popularized the Closed 3 and Open 3 varieties of United States change.

The 1856 “Upright” and “Slanted” coin varieties follow a similar pattern but were created 17 years earlier. The gold dollar and the braided hair pennywho was also hit Philadelphia Mintwere produced with markedly different date styles.

The two date styles of 1856 gold dollars: Left: angled “5”; Right: “5” right. The Deadwood Collection is the largest accumulation of Upright “5” 1856 Gold Dollars ever assembled. Image: Bowers from Stack/CoinWeek.

Why did America need a gold dollar?

In simple terms, the California Gold Rush paved the way for the introduction of not one, but two new denominations of gold in the United States: the dollar and the double eagle ($20 gold coin).

Commercial gold production was underway in the California Territory as early as 1842, according to the Mexican mineralogist Don Andres Castillero discovered a deposit of pyrite (“fool’s gold”) during an excavation at Rancho Las Virgenes. After showing his find to a group of friends in St. Barbara, Francisco Lopezthe butler of St. Gabriel Missiondiscovered a small placer gold deposit in Piru Rancho.

Mexican control of California territory became contested with the outbreak of the Mexican-American War and the fact that English-speaking settlers had flooded into the area and rebelled against the Mexican authorities. Shortly after, the US Navy took the leading role in the American conquest of coastal territory. Meeting little resistance, hostilities ceased in January 1847 with the Treaty of Cahuenga. One year later, James W. Marshall famous discovery of gold Sutter’s Milltriggering the greatest gold rush in American history.

The gold dollar was a button-sized coin measuring 13 millimeters and weighing 1.62 grams. Each coin contains 0.4837 ounces of pure gold.

The denomination was minted in quantity at the Philadelphia Mint and, to a much lesser extent, at branches of Charlotte, Dahlonegaand San Francisco. Five Philadelphia issues were minted from over a million coins, but this did not prove to be the norm as the denomination fell out of favor after the Civil War. Branch output was paltry, where typical production rarely exceeded 15,000 pieces.

The denomination was discontinued in 1889 and only revived for a few commemorative issues in the early 20th century.

When the gold dollar was produced for circulation, it was minted in three styles. The first model (freedom head) was issued from 1849 to 1854. The second type (the “indian princess“) was struck from 1854 to 1856, with the San Francisco mint being the only mint to strike this style in 1856.

The third type, with a larger Indian princess head, was minted from 1856 to 1889. This style is commonly referred to as the Type Three Gold Dollar.

The 1856 Gold Dollars: Two Types and Two Date Styles

The San Francisco Mint’s 1856 gold dollars were produced using Type two dies. All 1856 Philadelphia Mint issues, both the “Slanted 5” and the “Upright 5”, were struck using the new type three hallmarks.

Sampling of three pieces from the Deadwood collection. Images: NGC.

In total, the Philadelphia Mint minted $1,762,936 in gold in 1856. This total combines mintages of the “Slanted 5” and “Upright 5” varieties. Krueger and Dannreuther posit that the Mint probably produced the “Upright 5” in the fourth quarter of 1856, after it had exhausted its supply of dies produced with the “Slanted 5” date style. The fact that the italicized 5 disappeared in the production of gold dollars in 1857 provides compelling evidence of its claim. As to why the change occurred, Krueger believes the Mint changed the style of the date to combat the scourge of counterfeits.

It is impossible to know with certainty the estimates of circulation and survival of the variety. In the absence of Mint records (which, even if they exist, may not be entirely accurate), all that remains is to examine the data and make assumptions. JP Martin and David Akers did just that and estimated the “Upright 5” to be between five and 15 times rarer than the “Slanted 5”.

None of these experts had access to the amount of “Upright 5” gold dollars that Krueger had accumulated. When Krueger and Dannreuther studied the coins, they determined that the Upright 5 dollars were minted using only two dies, making the variety much rarer than previously thought.

The problem is compounded by the unreliability of demographic data reported to both PCGS and NGC. According to Krueger and Dannreuther, in the past neither company consistently differentiated between the two date styles when encapsulating coins. This was partly due to opportunism and partly to the profit motive. Having a variety designation on a wallet was a premium service that came with an extra charge. With no clear difference in value between the two varieties, many dealers chose not to pay for the attribution. Over time, the services have made differentiating between the two date styles part of their standard service, and current demographics, imperfect as they are, suggest a ratio of nearly 5:1 for the 5 straight-to-straight obliques. among PCGS and NGC holders.

A straight “5” MS64 1856 gold dollar from the Deadwood collection. Image: NGC.

Of course, the total number of remaining gold dollars that have not been submitted for grading is unknown.

The elusiveness of the Upright 5 has not gone unnoticed by other dealers specializing in classic American gold. In a 2001 blog post, the dealer Doug Winter placed the 1856 MS64 Upright 5 first on its list of “Ten Undervalued U.S. Gold Coins Under $2,500”. Winter cited the small price discrepancy between MS64 examples of the two date styles. He believed at the time that ranking services did not represent the true rarity of the Upright 5 in their population reports.

The Deadwood collection hits the market

Now that his journey with the 1856 Upright 5 is coming to an end, Krueger has decided to present his favorite piece to collectors in packaging that captures the imagination.

The coins are stored in South Dakota, where Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill ruled, and like California, Deadwood also had its own gold rush.

Coins have been certified by NGC, and many of the finest have been CAC approved.

Krueger says, “I hope other numismatists will pick up where I left off and break new ground in researching and popularizing this variety. It’s a much harder coin to find than people realize.

A limited number of pieces will be exhibited in Chicago to World Money Fair 2022 at the dealership by Julian Leidman stand. Some of the finest pieces will likely be auctioned off.

From the Deadwood Collection, Krueger promises that although limited in number, there can be a piece for every budget.

“I just wanted to know more about the variety. I have collected broadcast examples, detailed quality examples and most of the parts that have survived in mint condition.


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