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Appeared in COINage Magizine, April 2018
Scott Travers is one of the best promoters of numismatics and has written scores of books and articles and given dozens of lectures educating thousands of collectors on all aspects of numismatics. So when he called me 12 days before deadline and said, “Dr. Kagin [even after 35 years he still calls me this] I need to fill some pages for Coinage Magazine for a special feature edition on gold coins. You’ve owned or auctioned some of the greatest pieces ever, so why don’t you write about your ten favorite?” Anyone who knows Scott would understand why I couldn’t say no. Over my 60 years of collecting, cataloging and dealing in numismatics, I have been blessed with handling so many cool pieces that it’s hard to narrow my favorites down to just ten coins, so I set a few criteria for each coin. First, they had to be gold, they had to be historically important and thereby tell a fascinating story, they either had to be aesthetically beautiful works of art or otherwise rally cool, and I had to have owned them at least once. With two slight fudges, here is my list.
In 2013, David McCarthy spotted a rare coin in an auction catalog and immediately had a hunch it was the first coin minted by the fledgling United States of America in 1783. Not the first run of coins, mind you, but the very first one.
McCarthy, an experienced numismatist (coin collector) bought the silver coin for $1.18 million.