President George Washington’s Pocket Coin Up for Auction
A gold coin believed to be carried around by President George Washington is headed to auction this summer. In August, the 1792 Washington President gold eagle will be auctioned without reserve at the American Numismatic Association’s annual World’s Fair of Money Convention in Philadelphia.
According to researchers, the coin was created exclusively for President Washington in Newburyport, Massachusetts, by Jacob Perkins. Graded NGC XF 45, the obverse of the unique coin 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 the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The auction marks the first time in 128 years that the unique coin will be offered for sale. After being held by Washington himself, it has passed hands between the country’s most preeminent numismatists. In 1933, “Col.” E.H.R. Green, son of the “Witch of Wall Street,” Hetty Green, purchased it privately for more than $2,500, a significant amount of money at that time. Eric P. Newman, one of the country’s most knowledgeable and well-respected numismatists, acquired the coin in 1942, holding it until his death in 2017.
The 1792 Washington Gold Eagle was Newman’s most prized coin in his expansive collection. As he explained 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 coins can command the historical and numismatic respect of that magnitude?”
Coin industry experts all agree on the coin’s significance. “The Washington President gold eagle is both unique and monumentally important, being the earliest gold pattern submitted for consideration as a United States coin,” said Jim Halperin, Co-Founder of Heritage Auctions. “Numismatic researchers widely agree that it is almost certainly George Washington’s own pocket piece.”
The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation was also honored to be part of the process. “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.”
The 1792 Washington President gold eagle coin will also be displayed in Los Angeles, New York Chicago, and Philadelphia before being auctioned on August 16 by Heritage Auctions. “One very fortunate individual is destined to be the next guardian of this quintessential prize, George’s Coin,” Halperin said.