For the past 40 years, an advanced collector attended hundreds of major coin shows and spent countless hours on the phone with dealers trying to acquire the very best Proof Gold coins issued for just eight years in the early part of the 20th century. He was meticulous and demanded the very best quality, and in the process, he became the leading expert in the coin series.
That hard work paid off recently, when Mr. Koessl sold his collection intact through John Albanese of CAC for an all-time record price, taking advantage of the increase in coin values over the past few years.
They are considered "Matte Proof Gold" due to the coins having a matte-like finish, except for 1909 and 1910, which feature a Satin finish. These gold proof coins were issued only from 1908 through 1915 in four denominations: Quarter Eagle ($2.50), Half Eagle ($5) — both designed by Bela Lyon Pratt, and the higher denominations, Eagle ($10) and Double Eagle ($20), which were both designed by renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
Mr. Koessl said,
"This collection was my passion; my life-long pursuit. It was a very tough decision to sell, but I am very grateful to John (Albanese) and Ian (Russell) for their high level of professionalism in the smooth transaction and for ensuring it was purchased by a passionate collector who valued it as a complete set as much as I did over the years. My hope is the set will remain intact so future generations will appreciate the desirability and rarity of original Matte Proof Gold."
"I would like to thank all of the dealers and collectors throughout the numismatic industry that assisted me in forming this set during my relentless pursuit of the finest known specimens. Of special note, David Hall and Van Simmons — they both helped me as far back as the early 1980s. Without their wise counsel and advice, I could not have acquired some of the finest coins in my collection and Andy Lustig, who arranged a special visit for me to view the Smithsonian Collection of Matte Proof Gold."
The collection will be displayed at the ANA’s World Fair of Money
For the first time, the Koessl Collection of Matte Proof Gold will be on display at the ANA World’s Fair of Money, in a special display by GreatCollections Coin Auctions, the official auctioneer of the ANA.
Mr. Koessl has kindly agreed to meet at the GreatCollections table #1105 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the major coin show to discuss the collection and individual coins (Wed/Thurs at 2 p.m., Friday at 12 noon). Collectors and dealers are welcome to bring their own Matte Proof Gold to compare and ask for Mr. Koessl’s opinion.
Accompanying the coin display will be ephemera relating to the coins, including an original Treasury Department (U.S. Mint Philadelphia) envelope that contained a complete 1911 Proof Gold Set, likely the only in existence.
GreatCollections is also producing a hardcover book on the Koessl Collection, with historical information about each coin, high quality images and commentary from Koessl and others.
The Record Transaction
Mr. Koessl contacted John Albanese of CAC to handle the sale on his behalf.
John Albanese, president of CAC said,
"I have observed Tom for decades, scouring the bourse floor for the ultimate coins for his collection. And I’ve even offered him about a half dozen examples over the years, but can’t recall him ever making a purchase. I’m known as a tough grader but this guy Tom Koessl! Impossible to please, actually a pain in the you-know-what! As he would walk away after rejecting my prized matte proof gold coin, I often wondered, ‘does this guy ever buy anything?’ He also stated a valid reason: he claimed that his piece was superior."
Years went by and then he saw Koessl’s coins…
"No doubt a highlight in my 40+ year career was when Tom made a visit to my office and placed his prized collection on my conference room table. It took me about 30 seconds and it hit me — now I get it! This guy’s the real deal! He knew more about the coins than I did, and was being 100% honest when he said he was trying to find better examples all those years ago. In reviewing each coin, every single coin held up technically and even more importantly, they were original uncleaned virgin coins. When this set is viewed by experts at this year’s ANA, I am sure it will be unanimous, all will agree this couldn’t be duplicated even if a collector had unlimited time and money. Heck, this couldn’t be duplicated in the next 20 years at a point lower. Now that the transaction has been concluded I can say to Tom, a perfect gentleman, ‘on the record’ that I would have actually paid him a commission to be involved in this once in a lifetime event!"
Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections said,
"Chills — from the first moment I saw them in John’s conference room, and again when they arrived at our headquarters in Irvine — that’s probably the best way to explain it. The quality is so far above anything in Matte Proof gold we have ever seen, and I don’t think we will ever see anything like this in the future. Aside from an average grade above Proof-67 and 100% CAC approval (with five gold CAC stickers), the coins exude absolute originality, exactly how they were struck. The collection is far superior to the National Numismatic Collection inurned at the Smithsonian Institute, which is likely the second finest set known."
"We knew instantly that the collection could not be split up to different collectors; it had to be sold intact. Thankfully, the first client we called understood the importance of keeping it together as a collection, and was equally as impressed with the superb quality, realizing this was a once-in-a-generation opportunity. For me personally, it ranks in the top two or three deals I’ve been involved in; a definite career highlight."
The Koessl Collection of Matte Proof Gold
Indian Gold Quarter Eagles
- 1908 Indian Gold Quarter Eagle PCGS Proof-67 CAC
- 1909 Indian Gold Quarter Eagle PCGS Proof-66+ CAC
- 1910 Indian Gold Quarter Eagle PCGS Proof-67+ CAC
- 1911 Indian Gold Quarter Eagle PCGS Proof-68+ CAC
- 1912 Indian Gold Quarter Eagle PCGS Proof-67 CAC (Gold CAC)
- 1913 Indian Gold Quarter Eagle PCGS Proof-67+ CAC
- 1914 Indian Gold Quarter Eagle PCGS Proof-67+ CAC
- 1915 Indian Gold Quarter Eagle PCGS Proof-67+ CAC
Indian Gold Half Eagles
- 1908 Indian Gold Half Eagle PCGS Proof-67+ CAC
- 1909 Indian Gold Half Eagle PCGS Proof-68 CAC
- 1910 Indian Gold Half Eagle PCGS Proof-67+ CAC
- 1911 Indian Gold Half Eagle PCGS Proof-68 CAC
- 1912 Indian Gold Half Eagle PCGS Proof-67 CAC (Gold CAC)
- 1913 Indian Gold Half Eagle PCGS Proof-67 CAC
- 1914 Indian Gold Half Eagle PCGS Proof-67 CAC
- 1915 Indian Gold Half Eagle PCGS Proof-67 CAC
Indian Gold Eagles
- 1908 Indian Gold Eagle PCGS Proof-67 CAC
- 1909 Indian Gold Eagle PCGS Proof-66+ CAC (Gold CAC)
- 1910 Indian Gold Eagle PCGS Proof-66+ CAC
- 1911 Indian Gold Eagle PCGS Proof-67+ CAC
- 1912 Indian Gold Eagle PCGS Proof-67 CAC
- 1913 Indian Gold Eagle PCGS Proof-67 CAC
- 1914 Indian Gold Eagle PCGS Proof-66+ CAC (Gold CAC)
- 1915 Indian Gold Eagle PCGS Proof-66 CAC
Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagles
- 1908 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle PCGS Proof-67 CAC
- 1909 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle PCGS Proof-67+ CAC
- 1910 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle PCGS Proof-67 CAC
- 1911 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle PCGS Proof-67+ CAC
- 1912 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle PCGS Proof-67 CAC
- 1913 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle PCGS Proof-66 CAC
- 1914 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle PCGS Proof-66+ CAC (Gold CAC)
- 1915 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle PCGS Proof-65+ CAC
Aside from being on view at the ANA’s World Fair of Money in August, GreatCollections is planning to create a special website displaying the collection at www.greatcollections.com.
GreatCollections, the official auction house of the American Numismatic Association, specializes in auctioning certified coins and banknotes, handling transactions from start to finish. Since its founding in 2010, GreatCollections has successfully auctioned over 1 million certified coins, making it one of the leading certified coin companies in the United States with annual sales in 2021 exceeding $235 million. Ian Russell, owner/president of GreatCollections, is a member of the prestigious Professional Numismatists Guild and member of the National Auctioneers Association. For more information about GreatCollections, visit www.greatcollections.com or call 800-442-6467.