Experts Identify First Proof 1865 Indian Head Gold $3 Coin With Medal Turn

1865-proof-three-dollar-gold-lead.jpgThe first Proof 1865 Indian Head gold $3 coin struck with dies oriented in “medal turn” instead of “coin turn” has been identified.

Centennial Auctions will offer the coin, graded Proof 61 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., in its Oct. 17 sale in the ballroom of the Holiday Inn at 9 Northeastern Blvd., in Nashua, New Hampshire. The live auction begins at 4:30 p.m. ET.

1865 gold $3 Gold

Identification of the Proof 1865 Indian Head gold $3 coin struck with medal turn was made recently, by numismatists Julian Leidman and John Dannreuther during the Aug. 1 to 5 American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Denver.

According to Steve Schofield from Centennial Auctions, the die orientation is not noted on the grading label insert contained within the NGC encapsulation.

Schofield said he brought a number of the lots to be offered in his firm’s Oct. 17 auction to the ANA convention, including the gold $3 coin. Schofield said Leidman, with Bonanza Coins in Silver Spring, Maryland, took particular interest in the Proof $3 coin, spending considerable time examining the coin’s obverse and reverse. The reason for Leidman’s extended evaluation was the orientation of the coin’s obverse and reverse. Numismatist and gold specialist John Dannreuther from John Dannreuther Rare Coins in Memphis, Tennessee, also examined the coin and concurred with the attribution.

With coin turn, when a coin is rotated on its vertical axis, the reverse is oriented 180 degrees opposite to the obverse, so the reverse appears upside down. With medal turn, the reverse appears right side up relative to the obverse.

The reported production in Proof for the 1865 Indian Head gold $3 coin is 25, and, according to Schofield, possibly half that mintage survives.

“While there are coins that grade higher — the [Ed] Trompeter Proof 66 piece, sold by Bowers and Merena in 2004 for $60,375, comes to mind — none of this date have ever been identified as a medal strike,” Schofield said. “Maybe [Mint officials] noticed the die rotation and corrected it. After 150+ years, you would think at least one other would exist, would have been found, and would be known. That is not the case.”


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