Proof 1903 L.P.E. Gold Dollar Offered in Rarities Night of June 2024 Expo Auction

In Original Frame With Signed Card

The first gold commemorative coins from the Philadelphia Mint’s presses in 1903 were Proofs. One hundred of the two issues of that denomination, each bearing the profile of a President, were struck as Proofs. These special issues were packaged in a two-ply cardboard presentation cases and given to organizers of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Since the advent of third-party grading in the 1980s, many of these coins have been removed from their original packaging, making any piece with its original packaging a true prize for Classic Commemorative collectors, World’s Fair memorabilia and coin collectors, or Americana aficionados.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries will offer a remarkable example of this inaugural gold commemorative with its original packaging in the Rarities Night session of its Spring 2024 Showcase Auction.

Proof 1903 commemorative gold dollars were not offered for sale to the public, instead given as gifts to promoters, well-connected politicos and other friends of the Mint, and Mint/Treasury officials. The piece on offer is framed. Our cataloger offers this detailed assessment of the coin, case, ribbon, and wax seal: “The original string with tied bow surrounds the coin and the ends are closed in a red wax seal that is imprinted SUPT. U.S. MINT PHILA. with a star at the center. The entire packaging is exceptionally well preserved, much finer than usually encountered for these. The wax seal, for example, is free of even minor cracks and appears as fresh as the day it was issued. The coin is one of the first 100 issued in Proof, and both sides can be seen behind the hazy wax paper of issue. (Both the front and back of the frame are clear glass.) Although the surfaces cannot be easily examined in this aged holder, it is presumed the coin is as pristine as the moment it was placed in the holder at the Philadelphia Mint, as the holder remains unbroken from that day in 1903. The frame is attractive gilt finish with a decorative border on the front, and it is expertly preserved apart from minor chips on the edge that are not visible when viewed from the front. A functional wire hanger is affixed to the back, the top of which is printed in red ink GIFT FROM GENE B. BENEDICT.”

Philadelphia Min Superintendent J.M. Landis and coiner R.R. Freed signed the card into which the piece is mounted.

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