Mystery, Gold, and Auctions…

It’s been said that “mystery is a resource, like gold, and its preservation is a fine thing.”

Sometimes at Pot of Gold Auctions, mystery, gold and preservation intertwine…as was the case recently with an 1834 $2.50 Classic Quarter Eagle No MOTTO Gold piece.
1834 Classic Quarter Eagle

1834 $2.50 GOLD Classic, ANACS VF 30, Lot #369, July 15, 2014


Initially, this coin was received from one of our consignor’s in raw form; herein lays the “mystery”. The coin was not as brilliant and did not share the luster of similar gold coins, the fields were weak, grainy and dimpled, the reeded edge and rim appeared “off”; however the weight was correct at 4.18 grams and the diameter was exact at 17.50 millimeters and it was 180 years old! Questions began to arise… What was this coin’s history? Where had this nearly two century year old coin spent a good portion of its existence? And the flip side…Was it possible that this piece could be a “cast reproduction”, ie., a fake with no mysterious history at all? Read on…

From a professional level, the coin staff at POG are privileged to see a lot of coins from all over the world and in a broad range of dates and conditions with differing metallurgic content and compositions, some precious…some not so much.

After some additional research, I felt the coin was real, possibly a piece that had been underground or even re-purposed sometime in its lifetime…perhaps as a center for jewelry? Putting these thoughts aside and using the resources available coupled with my personal knowledge, the coin was listed to be auctioned in the May 6, 2014 auction, stating the condition as “FINE”.

Soon thereafter, a “screen capture” from the listing taken from the POG website of the coin appeared on a discussion-forum type website on the magical world of internet with experts inquiring about the coins authenticity.  A list of some of the interesting speculative responses below:

(I guess you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet!)

 “Details look really off to me…likely a fake”

 “The denticles are pretty sharp for there to be so much wear on the rest of the coin, and the surface looks suspicious to me, it might be a cast copy. The details are a little mushy which also makes me suspect a copy rather than genuine wear.”

 “(Looks like a) Filed rim to me”

 “Quite a bit of bubbles on both sides of the coin. That screams fake.”

 “Fake. The hair should not be touching the date.”

Once this information was brought to the attention of POG, the decision was made immediately to pull the coin from the forthcoming auction pending further investigation. This action in itself speaks volumes to the integrity of POG.

Once the coin was pulled, it was sent to a third party grading service (in this case the American Numismatic Association Certification Service) for further review and possibly to be graded. Fast forward two months, the coin returned from its journey to ANACS, deemed and graded as the genuine article in Very Fine or VF-30 condition / Ex-jewelry / Polished.  There you have it…the mystery was solved.

This coin would make a great addition to any coin collection, and now that you have some insider knowledge of how it came to be listed twice at POG in the past two months, feel free to check it out  Lot #369, July 15, 2014 auction. It may not be a lustered beauty, but one thing is for sure…it’s the genuine article and it’s GOLD!

~Mark A. (Antiques & Collectibles Research and Evaluation Specialist, Pot Of Gold Auctions)