Famed Duke's Creek Collection

Posted on 3/4/2004

Bob Harwell of Hancock & Harwell Rare Coins and Jeff Garrett of Mid American Rare Coins galleries have announced the purchase the world's finest set of Georgia Gold Coins.

This amazing collection is comprised of three groups of gold coins minted from 1830 to 1861 in Georgia and North Carolina from gold discovered in North Georgia in 1828. The collection was purchased for over three million dollars, and all the coins have been graded and encapsulated by NGC.

"This transaction ranks as the pinnacle of my career, and parting with the coins has been the most difficult aspect of the deal." states Jeff Garrett. The collection has been re-sold in two parts. Both the Tempelton Reid coins and the Georgia Bechtler coinage have been sold to territorial gold specialist Don Kagin. The coins will be included in the private collection of one of the finest sets of territorial gold ever assembled. The federal coinage from the Dahlonega Mint has been sold to rare gold expert, Casey Noxon of Texas Numismatic Investments. Noxon states "I am extremely pleased to have acquired this important collection. Many years ago I was able to handle the Stanley Elrod collection of Charlotte gold, and I thought that would have been hard to top. Incredibly the Dukes Creek Dahlonega coins are finer on average."

The collection consists of three coins from Templeton Reid's private mint in Gainesville, GA. These three coins are the finest of his coinage. The $2.5 grades NGC MS 61 and has proof-like surfaces. It is the only Mint State coin known of this series. The $5 and $10 coin from Templeton Reid's mint grade AU 50 and AU 53 respectively and are from the renowned Brand Collection. The $5 is the second finest known only slightly lower grade than the Garrett Specimen purchased by Hancock & Harwell in 1979 for $200,000. The $10 Templeton Reid, the dated variety, is by far the finest in private hands. The only coin that is equal is the Non-dated coin in the Smithsonian Collection. This coin grades AU also. Templeton Reid was the first to coin gold ore at his private mint established in Gainesville only 12 miles from Dahlonega, Georgia where the first gold rush started in the late 1820's. It was estimated that Reid coined between 1500-1600 coins during the few months that he operated. Less than 40 are know to survive.

The gold coins from the Christopher Bechtler private mint are also notable. The $2.5 both grade AU. The highlight of this group is the Exceeding Rare C. Bechtler, "Colon Before 22 and After 128G", one of only 3 known. This coin is from the famous John Jay Pitman Collection. Bechtler minted $1 coins and then shortly after the Mint Act of 1834, Bechtler stamped the source from were the gold was mined to indicate the fineness of the coins struck. The coins exhibiting "Georgia Gold" were contained the highest purity although some may have been mixed with the less fine Carolina Gold. The $2.5 with uneven 22 above carats and half eagle with colon before 22 and after 128 G are both finest known.

The gold coins from the federal mint in Dahlonega Georgia are absolutely incredible. "One of the finest collections of any type ever put together", says Mark Salzberg, Chairman and CEO of NGC, as he looked over the only known MS67 Dahlonega Half Eagle. This collection consists of 63 Mint State coins ranging from MS 60 to MS 67. Over 75% of the coins are ranked as the finest graded for the date and mint.

The owner of the Duke's Creek Collection of Dahlonega Gold coins assembled the collection over many years with the help of Bob Harwell and the late numismatist Jack Hancock. As noted in the book "Gold Fever and the Great Intrusion" the owner's great great grandfather was credited with discovering gold in Georgia. The quote, "T.B.is supposed to have made yet another discovery on Duke's Creek, said Judge John Underwood, to whom his great great grandfather related his story, "There came up a storm and blew down some tall timber along Duke's Creek… and in the roots of the timber T.B. found the first gold ever discovered… in Georgia". Thus the Duke's Creek Collection was formed.

The owners' quest to put together the finest set had ended. The set was put together with the finest Dahlonega Mint coins that had been sold over a 25 year period by Hancock & Harwell to its clients. All the finest coins were sought out and added to the spectacular Duke's Creek collection. Many of the coins trace their pedigrees to such famous collections as Arthur L. Montgomery, Bill Clary, the Farmer Collection, Harold Bareford, John J. Pittman, Harry Bass, Rand McNalley, Hollinbeck , Virgil Brand, Renz, Belden Roach, Jasper Robertson, Fairfield, Coles, John Clapp, Milas, Louis Eliasberg, and the Fairfield Collection.

The entire collection was recently graded by NGC. "These are really amazing coins," observed Mark Salzberg. "It's great to know that there are still real collectors who set a goal for themselves and achieve it."

> The Dahlonega Mint coinage was graded as follows:

Gold Dollars: 1849-D MS 64, 1850-D MS 63, 1851-D MS 65, 1852-D MS 62, 1853-D MS 63, 1854-D MS 61, 1855-D MS 64, 1855-D Full Date MS 64, 1856-D MS 61, 1857-D MS 62, 1858-D MS 66, 1859-D MS 64, 1860-D MS 64, 1861-D MS 65

Quarter Eagles: 1839-D MS 63, 1840-D MS 62, 1841-D MS 63, 1842-D MS 61, 1843-D MS 61, 1844-D MS 63, 1845-D MS 63, 1846-D MS 63, 1846-D/D AU 58, 1847-D MS 65, 1848-D MS 62, 1849-D MS 62, 1850-D MS 61, 1851-D MS 65, 1852-D MS 64, 1853-D MS 62, 1854-D MS 64, 1855-D MS 61, 1856-D MS 61, 1857-D MS 62, 1859-D MS 62

Three Dollars: 1854-D MS 62

Half Eagles: 1838-D MS 63, 1839-D MS 61, 1840-D MS 62, 1841-D MS 65, 1842-D SD MS 63, 1842-D LD MS 61, 1843-D MS 64, 1844-D MS 64, 1845-D MS 64, 1846-D MS 61, 1846-D/D MS 66, 1847-D MS 63, 1848-D MS 62, 1848-D/D AU 58, 1849-D MS 65, 1850-D MS 61, 1851-D MS 64, 1852-D MS 63, 1853-D MS 64, 1854-D MS 67, 1855-D MS 61, 1856-D MS 65, 1857-D MS 63, 1858-D MS 65, 1859-D MS 64, 1860-D MS 64, 1861-D MS 64

The owners of these coins made a studied decision in selecting NGC to certify this landmark collection. "NGC has a proven track record of both accurate, consistent grading and solid numismatics," Garrett points out. "We've worked with the company in certifying a number of deals that were of particular importance, and it was our only choice for Duke's Creek."

For more information on the history and information on this collection you may call Bob Harwell 404-261-6565, Jeff Garrett 859-276-1551, Casey Noxon 512-343-0343 or Don Kagin 415-435-2601.

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