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Lot 3466


Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 3466
Date 1854
Side obverse
Grade 61
Service NGC
Service Catalog # 10222
Denomination $20
Description 1854 $20 Kellogg & Co. Twenty Dollar MS61+ NGC. CAC. K-2, R.4. John Glover Kellogg and George F. Richter established the firm of Kellogg & Co. on December 14, 1853, immediately after the closing of the United States Assay Office of Gold. Both men had been employed at the Assay Office, Kellogg as a cashier and Richter as an assayer. The new firm was petitioned to produce private coinage by bankers in San Francisco and Sacramento, to fill the gap between the closing of the Assay Office and the opening of the San Francisco Mint in 1854. Kellogg & Co. obliged by issuing enormous numbers of twenty dollar gold pieces in 1854, and again in 1855, when the newly established San Francisco Mint had to suspend operations for a time. The 1854 Kellogg & Co. twenty dollar gold pieces, which closely resemble the federal twenty dollar coins of that period, are known in four different die varieties, from dies engraved by Albert Kuner. The coin offered here represents the K-2 variety, with Long Arrows on the reverse. B. Max Mehl provided a good description of the design in lot 705 in his November 1911 catalog of the Charles W. Cowell Collection: {blockquote}"1854 $20.00 Liberty head to left, coronet inscribed Kellogg & Co., around thirteen six-pointed stars, date below. Rev., Eagle, the same type as on the regular United States issue. Variety with long arrows. Around SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA TWENTY D. Extremely fine, with some mint luster, free from any nicks or dents usually found on these pieces. Rare."{/blockquote} Largely forgotten today, Cowell was a collector from Denver who was a connoisseur of Pioneer gold. His collection was strong in Kellogg issues, and included a Short Arrows example of the 1854 Kellogg twenty dollar, an 1855 Kellogg twenty dollar piece, and one of the very rare 1855 proof Kellogg fifty dollar coins, which were never issued as business strikes. The record price realized for an 1854 Kellogg twenty dollar coin is a staggering $310,500, brought by the MS64 PCGS example in the New York Connoisseur's Collection (American Numismatic Rarities, 3/2006). The present coin is a high-end MS61 example with well-detailed design elements that show just a touch of softness on some of the stars. The bright orange-gold surfaces show a scattering of minor contact marks on both sides and retain much of their original mint luster. Eye appeal is quite strong. Census: 13 in 61, 1 in 61+, 5 finer (8/14). Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $49937.50. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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