June 28, 2018 – Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) has certified the late Eric P. Newman’s most cherished coin: the unique 1792 Washington President gold eagle that researchers believe was presented to George Washington and carried by him as a pocket piece.
Graded NGC XF 45*, the coin will be sold without reserve by Heritage Auctions on August 16, 2018, at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia. All of the net proceeds will be donated to charity. Heritage Auction put it on display June 14 at the Long Beach Coin and Collectibles Expo in Long Beach, California.
This 1792 Gold Eagle was probably presented to George Washington and carried by him as a pocket piece. Photo: Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.
August’s sale marks only the third appearance of this extraordinary rarity in auction – and the first since 1890. Both in 1875 and 1890, its only previous public auctions, the gold coin was described as likely struck for Washington and carried by him. Since its creation in 1792, this gold coin has been held by Washington himself and the most elite numismatists. After Washington, only eight elite numismatists have held this gold coin. The famed “Colonel” E. H. R. Green purchased it privately in 1933 for over $2,500, a significant sum for the day. Eric P. Newman acquired the coin in July 1942, and since then it has remained in his collection.
“This is one of the most amazing treasures that I have examined in my nearly 40-year career,” said Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman and Grading Finalizer. “NGC is honored to have been selected to certify a coin with such remarkable history, provenance and appeal.”
Newman, one of the greatest numismatic researchers and writers of all time, believed that this coin was struck as a pattern (a proposed coin) for a gold eagle, or $10 piece, and was expressly struck for, presented to and carried by George Washington. A 1792 letter to Washington located in 2010 provides compelling evidence that the coin was struck for Washington in Newburyport, Massachusetts, by polymath Jacob Perkins, rather than in England as previously believed.
The obverse of Newman’s unique gold pattern features a bust of Washington surrounded by “WASHINGTON PRESIDENT” and the 1792 date. The reverse features a heraldic eagle based on the Great Seal of the United States. It bears an edge lettered UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Crossing the Delaware (by Emanuel Leutze, 1851) shows George Washington as man of action who contributed enormously to the foundation of the United States.
Newman, who passed away in November 2017 at the age of 106, assembled one of the most important collections of coins and paper money, with a particular focus on Colonial and Early Federal US pieces. Newman’s coins, which have been entirely certified by NGC, have achieved nearly $59 million at auction in a series of sales by Heritage Auctions since 2013.
Of all the great rarities owned by Newman, who at one time owned all five known 1913 Liberty nickels (today worth over $3 million each), the 1792 Washington Gold Eagle was the scholar’s favorite. He explained why in 1975: “This coin is unique in that it was owned by George Washington. It is unique as the earliest gold pattern prepared for the United States coinage; and it is unique because only one example of the coin was made. What other American coin can command historical and numismatic respect of that magnitude?”
“To my father, George Washington and Ben Franklin were personal heroes,” son Andy Newman said. “He considered Washington’s refusal that our country’s first coinage depict his own image on it to be an emblematic example of Washington’s profound humility and willingness to put country before self.”
“NGC was the logical choice to grade this important rarity due to the tremendous success of the past NGC-certified selections,” said Stuart and Maureen Levine, advisors to the nonprofit Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (EPNNES). “We look forward to the history-making sale in August.”
For more information about the sale, visit Heritage Auctions’ website.
To view all of the NGC-certified selections from the Eric P. Newman Collection, go to the NGC website.
Don’t miss this film on the first gold coins of the United States!
A couple of years ago a time capsule of 1795 was found in the Massachusetts State House building. Read in our article what the Founding Fathers wanted to be preserved as memory of their time to future generations.