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Obverse of 1855 Gold Dollar     Reverse of 1855 Gold Dollar

  
1855 GOLD DOLLAR

PCGS Nos: 7532, 7602

Mintage:

Circulation strikes:
758,269
Proofs: estimated 15

Designer: James Barton Longacre

Diameter: ±14.3 millimeters

Metal content:
 Gold - 90%
Silver and Copper - 10%

Weight: ±25.8 grains (±1.7 grams)

Edge: Reeded

Mintmark: None (for Philadelphia) below the wreath on the reverse
  

Images courtesy of David Akers Numismatics, Inc.

Notes:
"More than 94 percent of the mintage of the Indian small head came from the Philadelphia Mint the first two years, with mint records of 902,736 struck in 1854 and 758,269 in 1855.

Eight years prior to this mass obliteration in 1861, Mint Director James Ross Snowden, who had just taken over the helm at the Mint, concluded that the nation's coinage needed a major design overhaul.

One of the prime targets was the gold dollar, which was proportionately small and thicker for its weight than he felt it should be, according to Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins.

At Snowden's request, Longacre made the original dies of the $3 piece broader than originally planned to minimize any chance that the new coins could be mistaken for either quarter eagles or half eagles. The result was technically satisfactory enough that Snowden then requested Longacre to follow the same proportions in redesigning the gold dollars.

The diameter of the gold dollars was expanded from 13 millimeters for the Coronet head to 14.86 mm for the Indian head. The first examples of the new dollar were struck beginning in August 1854. The weight of remained at 1.67 grams and the purity at 90 percent gold, 10 percent copper and silver. The head of the Indian maiden was made narrower, and in a relief that was above what was usual (which, it soon turned out, was a mistake). The obverse displayed the statutory words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA replacing the 13 six-pointed stars. According to Breen, the head of the Indian princess with plumed headdress did not represent any actual Native American.

Longacre used this head in over a dozen different contexts, altering headdress according to fancy. It first appears on the gold dollar and double eagle of 1849, then on the $3, later on the 'Indian head' cent, still later on the 1865 nickel 3c and a variety of pattern 5c coins, finally on the pattern eagles of 1868 only a few short months before Longacre's death."

- from the description of Lot 2050 in Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", June 5-7, 2000

The finest Uncirculated examples graded by PCGS are 3 MS-67's.

The finest Proof examples graded by PCGS are 2 PR-66's.

The finest Proof Cameo example graded by PCGS is a single PRCA-66.

Significant examples:
"Proof" (illustrated above).  Pittman collection

Recent appearances:
PCGS MS-65. American Numismatic Rarities, LLC’s “The Classics Sale,” July 25, 2003 , Lot 625, illustrated, sold for $34,500.00.  From the Luther A Breck Collection

PCGS MS-65.  American Numismatic Rarities, LLC’s “The Classics Sale,” July 25, 2003

PCGS MS-65.  Superior's ANA sale, August 1975, Lot 1312 - Auctions by Bowers & Merena, Inc.'s sale of the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part II, October 1999, Lot 91 - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Rarities Sale", January 3, 2001, Lot 417, illustrated, not sold - Bowers and Merena Galleries "The Rarities Sale", July 31, 2002, Lot 671, illustrated, sold for $28,750.00

PCGS MS-64.  Bowers and Merena Galleries, "The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part IV Sale", November 20-21, 2000, Lot 41, illustrated, sold for $14,950.00  Purchased from Hank Rodgers, February 2, 1973

PCGS MS-64.  New Netherlands 06/1967:513 - Bowers & Merena, Inc.'s "H.W. Bass, Jr." sale, Part II, October 1999, Lot 92 - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "The California Sale", October 2-3, 2000, Lot 634, sold for $18,400.00

NGC MS-64.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s, "Summer 2001 Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 8799, plated, sold for $14,950.00

PCGS MS-64.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s, "Summer 2001 Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 8800, plated, unsold

PCGS MS-63.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc. "The Pre-Long Beach Auction", January 25-28, 2004, Lot 3107, illustrated, "...PQ...", bought back by the consignor for $13,685.00

PCGS MS-63. Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", June 5-7, 2000, Lot 2050, sold for $12,650.00

PCGS MS-63.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 1204, illustrated, sold for $11,500.00

"Brilliant Uncirculated".  Stack's 12/2003:822, $6,037.50

PCGS MS-62.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 7144, illustrated, sold for $5,980.00

PCGS MS-62.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s, "Summer 2001 Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 8798, plated, sold for $5,060.00

NGC MS-62.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 1205, illustrated, sold for $6,900.00

PCGS MS-61.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 7143, illustrated, not sold

PCGS MS-61.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries, "The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part IV Sale", November 20-21, 2000, Lot 42, illustrated, sold for $5,290.00  From Paramount's sale of February 1973, Lot 962

NGC MS-61.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Rarities Sale", January 3, 2001, Lot 418, illustrated, sold for $2,990.00

MS-60, Rev. Cleaned.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 5952, not illustrated, sold for $977.50

Brilliant Uncirculated.  Ex - Stack's "65th Anniversary Sale", October 17-19, 2000, Lot 1635, plated, sold for $747.50

Brilliant Uncirculated.  Ex - Stack's "The University of Notre Dame Sale", March 20-21, 2001, Lot 972, plated, sold for $5,060.00

NGC AU-58.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "The California Sale", October 2-3, 2000, Lot 635, sold for $891.00

NGC AU-58.  Ex- Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "October 2000 Long Beach Sale" October 5-7, 2000, Lot 7475, not illustrated, sold for $862.50

PCGS AU-58.  Ex- Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "October 2000 Long Beach Sale" October 5-7, 2000, Lot 7474, not illustrated, sold for $948.75

NGC AU-58.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries' Robert W. Schwan Collection Sale, October 26-27, 2000, Lot 2102, sold for $862.50

AU-58.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries, "The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part IV Sale", November 20-21, 2000, Lot 43, not illustrated, sold for $1,610.00  Purchased from Stanley Kesselman, August 28, 1970

AU-58.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 28, sold for $805.00

NGC AU-58.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s, "Summer 2001 Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 8797, not plated, unsold

PCGS AU-55.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 7142, not illustrated, sold for $2,185.00

AU-55.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 5951, not illustrated, sold for $488.75

AU-53.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries' Robert W. Schwan Collection Sale, October 26-27, 2000, Lot 2103, sold for $460.00

AU-53.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, Lot 3916, not illustrated, sold for $575.00

Net AU-53, sharpness of AU-58.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 29, sold for $1,840.00

PCGS AU-50.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 7141, not illustrated, sold for $431.25

Choice AU.  Ex - Stack's "The University of Notre Dame Sale", March 20-21, 2001, Lot 973, not plated, sold for $575.00

About Uncirculated.  Ex - Stack's "The University of Notre Dame Sale", March 20-21, 2001, Lot 974, not plated, sold for $488.75

EF-40.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries' Robert W. Schwan Collection Sale, October 26-27, 2000, Lot 2104, sold for $345.00

EF-40.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 1206, not illustrated, sold for $391.00

Choice EF.  Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 1388, sold for $460.00

Choice EF.  Ex - Stack's "The University of Notre Dame Sale", March 20-21, 2001, Lot 975, not plated, sold for $299.00

Choice Extremely Fine.  Ex - Stack's "65th Anniversary Sale", October 17-19, 2000, Lot 1636, not plated, sold for $195.50

Extremely Fine.  Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 1389, sold for $253.00

Extremely Fine.  Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 1390, sold for $546.25

Extremely Fine.  Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 1391, sold for $184.00

ANACS Net EF-40, AU Details, Scratched.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s, "Summer 2001 Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 8796, not plated, sold for $126.50

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"The PCGS Population Report, April 2004" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

 
 

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