The Reed 1804 Dollar – ICG PR64

ICG is chosen to grade Parmelee/Reed Specimen of the 1804 Silver Dollar -Original (Class I) for Durham Western Heritage Museum in Omaha, Nebraska.

ICG grades 30 rarities worth $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 for the Byron Reed Collection, including 3 rarities of which only 2 or 3 of each are known to exist. Also included are 3 finest known coins.

The 1804-Dollar has been dubbed “The King of American Coins.” ICG has recently graded and authenticated the Parmelee/Reed Specimen, which now resides in the Byron Reed Collection at the Durham Western Heritage Museum. Omaha, Nebraska (801 South Tenth Street). This coin will be on display beginning June 19″‘, 1999 as part of the grand opening of the new Byron Reed Gallery.

A grade of Proof-64 was assigned to this Original Specimen of the 1804 Dollar. The coin is noted for having beautiful blue and iridescent hues on the obverse and a lighter, mostly white reverse. The estimated value of this Dollar is 1.5 to 2 million dollars. The pedigree of this 1804 Dollar can be traced back to the late 1840’s, when an unknown woman reportedly purchased it from the U S. Mint for face value. It then became the cornerstone of the Lorin G. Parmelee collection from 1874 to 1890. Byron Reed purchased the coin from the Parmelee Collection sale in 1890 for $570. Since Byron Reed’s death in 1891, the coin has been held by the City of Omaha and has been displayed in the past at the Omaha Public Library. The Collection will be on display as part of the Byron Reed gallery at the Durham Western Heritage Museum beginning June 19th.

There are 15 known 1804 Dollars. The Reed specimen is one of eight known Class I specimens which are known as originals, but were actually struck in 1834. There is also one known Class II specimen, which is now at the Smithsonian. Additionally there are 6 known Class III specimens. These are known as Restrikes.

“The reason we chose ICG to authenticate and grade our coins is because of ICG’s consistent quality and expertise in the grading and authentication process, and their vast knowledge of numismatics,” said Larry Lee, the curator for the Byron Reed collection. “This exhibit was created with painstaking attention to detail and quality, and we wanted the same type of professionalism in the company we chose to help us assess the collection. These guys are professionals all the way.”

J.P. Martin, ICG’s Senior Grader and Authenticator, remarked, “In my 20 years of numismatics, I’ve examined a number of the ultra-rarities, including over half of the 1804 Dollars. The excitement never diminishes, and in fact, the Reed specimen is on the higher-end of surviving specimens. It certainly is fun to see in person how each of the 1804 Dollars compares to the others.”

Keith Love, President and Founder of ICG, stated, “The Reed 1804-Dollar deserves to be ranked in the upper-echelon of 1804 Dollars. I’m referring to the PR-64 and PR-65 specimens that represent the higher end tier of 1804 Dollars. It is fortunate that this coin and other spectacular coins will be on display for all to enjoy. ICG has come to be known with having a quality product so it is a pleasure to have graded a portion of a rare collection that contains coins of the quality of the Byron Reed coins.”

The highlights of the Byron Reed coins that ICG graded include the following rarities.

1804 Dollar PR64 Class I Original – Parmelee Specimen
1829 Half Eagle MS66 Tied for finest certified, less than 10 known total
1827/3 Quarter PR65 Restrike 20 known
1850 Half Eagle EF40 Dubosq and Co. 3 known
1826/5 Quarter Eagle MS61 Finest certified
1878 Half Eagle PR64 J 1575, Pollock 1768 2 known
1878 Eagle PR64 J-1579, Pollock 1772 2 known
1792 Disme VF30 J-10, Pollock 11 R6

Walt Armitage, ICG’s senior grader, stated. “A fabulous selection of coins, full of rarities! In addition to the 1804 Dollar there are 6 coins that are either the finest known or where less than 10 are known to exist. It was a pleasure to grade the pattern 1878 $5 and $10 gold coins of which there are only 2 of each known, and then to immediately examine an 1829 half eagle and an 1827/3 quarter. Rumors existed that some of these coins had been mishandled; quite to the contrary, many of these coins are of high grade and the pristine surfaces of the patterns are nearly flawless in some cases.”

Larry Wilson, a historian and numismatic researcher for ICG, visited in person the Byron Reed Gallery at the Durham Western Heritage Museum and commented, “The exhibit is an environmental museum where the visitors walk through a replication of the original Byron Reed Library. The coins are displayed in beautiful dark wooden cases that give the visitors the sense they are part of the exhibit. It gave me the feeling I was back in the 1880’s sitting in Byron Reed’s library examining his coins with him. The exhibit includes an abundance of historical information on Byron Reed and the times. I know visitors will be impressed with the quality of the exhibit and the magnificence of the coins displayed.”

ICG examined a very small portion of this fabulous collection (the 30 coins represent less than 1% of the total coin count). This initial effort is the first step in a year-long assessment of the collection. It was important to get many of these 30 coins authenticated and graded now as the museum wanted them assessed before the coins are placed within the exhibit cases for the June 19th grand opening.

Wilson also commented on the manner in which the collection is being stored, “From preservation, to organization, to display, to security, the museum staff is doing an excellent job. I was particularly impressed by the curators who obviously have put a lot of thought and hard work into preservation. If the current preservation situation for these coins is maintained, this collection will he one of the finest on display in the world for years and years to come.”

For more information on the Durham Western Heritage Museum, the Byron Reed Exhibit, or the Reed 1804 Dollar please contact Larry Lee, Curator.  801 South Tenth Street, Omaha. Nebraska 68108 or Telephone (402) 444-5071 or Fax (402) 4445397.

The Reed 1829 Half Eagle – ICG MS66

Less than 10 known, this specimen is tied for the finest certified.