Contursi to display Kellogg $20 at Baltimore ANA
By Scott Purvis for CoinLink
A 154-year-old $20 gold piece known as the Kellogg Twenty will return to Baltimore next month for the first time in nearly 30 years.
This one-of-a-kind California Gold Rush coin was once owned by Baltimore resident and diplomat John Work Garrett, and is considered by most collectors to be one of the finest American coins from the mid-19th century.
John W. Garrett (1872 – 1942) was the grandson of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad executive and one-time president, John Work Garrett (1820 – 1884), and the eldest son of T. Harrison Garrett (1849 – 1888), who began collecting coins as a student at Princeton. The coin collection grew extensively under T. Harrison’s sons, John and Robert (1875 – 1961).
Garrett donated the coin, along with his home, Evergreen House, to the Johns Hopkins University on his death in 1942. Hopkins sold the coin at the Bowers and Ruddy auction in 1980 for $230,000.
Subsequently the coin changed hands several times. Contursi has owned it twice; from 2002 to 2005, and since 2006, it is now valued at $3 million. The coin is graded Specimen-69 by Professional Coin Grading Service
“When you pick up this coin, you’re literally holding Gold Rush history in your hands,” said Steven L. Contursi, president of Rare Coin Wholesalers of Dana Point, Calif., the coin’s owner. “This is a homecoming. It’s the first time it will be publicly seen in Baltimore in 28 years.”
The coin was manufactured on February 9, 1854 by John Glover Kellogg, a former employee of the San Francisco U.S. Assay Office. He gave it to his friend and future business partner, New York City watchmaker, August Humbert, the former U.S. Assayer in San Francisco.
During most of the 20th century, the historic coin was part of the legendary Garrett Collection at Johns Hopkins University and kept in a vault in Baltimore, Maryland.
In addition to Humbert, Garrett and Contursi, the pedigree of the Kellogg gold coin includes Captain Andrew C. Zabriskie, Colonel James W. Ellsworth and Edward Milas.
“The renowned names of Kellogg and Humbert are an integral part of California’s Gold Rush history. Only a few 1854 $20 Kellogg gold pieces survive today, and this is the only one designed a ’specimen strike’ because of its exceptionally strong design features. It was specially made and is unique,” said Contursi.
Kellogg’s name prominently appears on the gold coin in the headdress worn by the symbolic Miss Liberty on the front of the coin. The tail’s side has the words: “SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA TWENTY D.”
“There are few pre-1964 coins graded this high, and for that the coin is exceptional,” said Douglas Mudd, curator of American Numismatic Association’s Money Museum. “Somebody took care of it from the moment it was struck.”
Contursi has had a specially constructed, 5-foot-tall wooden exhibit case designed to resemble the 19th-century cabinets that housed the United States Mint’s coin collection, to display the coin ant the upcoming ANA convention . The Coin will be displayed during the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money an the Baltimore Convention Center from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. July 30 through Aug. 1, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 2. The event is free and open to the public.
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