The finest of only 14 known Kellogg & Co. 1855 proof $50 gold coins has been privately sold for a record $1 million by dealer Seth Chandler, owner of Witter Coin Co. (www.WitterCoin.com) in San Francisco, to a local collector who enjoys historical items related to the California Gold Rush.
It will now be publicly displayed for several weeks in its "hometown" during Witter Coin’s grand opening beginning February 10, 2020.
The 1855 proof Kellogg $50 is graded PCGS PR64 Cameo CAC. It sold for $763,750 in its last appearance in a public auction in 2014.
"This is the King of Pioneer gold and it has come home to San Francisco where it was originally created 165 years ago by prominent Gold Rush-era assayers and private coiners John Glover Kellogg and Augustus Humbert. The pedigree includes Humbert himself and the famous Garrett Collection at Johns Hopkins University," said Chandler.
He describes the new owner as
"a private San Francisco collector who appreciates proof gold and the California Gold Rush era. He was ecstatic when I told him this amazing and significant gold piece was available. It’s now an important trophy coin in his advanced collection."
Assayers Kellogg & Co., and its successor, Kellogg & Humbert, struck coins for a brief period during the Gold Rush and helped fill the need for circulating coinage in the early days of the San Francisco Mint. Because all 14 known 1855 Kellogg & Co. $50 gold coins are proofs, some researchers believe they were made as presentation pieces and not intended for circulation.
Legendary mid-20th century Texas dealer B. Max Mehl described the Kellogg & Co. 1855 $50 as
"the most beautiful of all pioneer gold coins."
The anonymous new owner of the finest known example is loaning the historic coin for public display during the grand opening of the new location for Witter Coin.
Previously located since 1982 in a 600 square foot office on Market St. in San Francisco’s financial district, the new location is a 7,500 square feet store located in the busy Marina district at 2299 Lombard St. in a building that used to house an IHOP restaurant.
"We even have 12 free parking spaces for customers; somewhat of a rarity itself in San Francisco," explained Chandler.
Witter Coin was established in 1960 by Dean Witter. Chandler joined the company in 2016 when Witter retired.
"I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and started collecting coins at the age of four, placing Wheat cents in blue Whitman coin folders given to me by my parents. As a teenager, I worked at a coin shop in Jacksonville. This new store fulfills my lifelong passion to own a coin shop that is also a museum where the public can see educational displays of numismatic rarities, historic items from the San Francisco mints and Gold Rush artifacts displayed in custom-made cases," he said.
"I wanted to create the greatest coin shop in America," Chandler stated.
"The new showroom has an extensive offering of collectible coins, gold and silver bullion, jewelry and classic wristwatches. The team at Witter Coin is a dedicated staff of professional numismatists who can offer free ‘I just want to know what it’s worth’ appraisals for any type of coins," he explained.
Witter Coin, 2299 Lombard St., San Francisco, is open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm. For additional information, call 415-781-5690 or email sales@WitterCoin.com.