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June 4 , 2016

Beautiful 1865-S $20 Brother Jonathan #644 PCGS MS63 - $17,500.
Click on Coin Image to enlarge

In addition to this weeks coin of the week, we almost forgot to mention that Tom’s been mentioned in the E-Sylum, an eblog for coin collectors that is on a higher level than most. Here they mention Tom and Regulated Gold:



1865-S $20 Brother Jonathan #644 PCGS MS63

A strong strike and muted mint luster characterize this Western branch mint, Civil War dated 1865-S Double Eagle that comes with the provenance of the ill-fated SS Brother Jonathan. The strike shows full details on the centers of the stars, Liberty’s hair, and the design elements of the reverse, especially the eagle. The surfaces are original and clean for the grade with no individually notable abrasion marks.

Please contact me by email or telephone 1-800-624-1870 to reserve this great coin.

The SS Brother Jonathan was built in 1851 by Edward Mills, a New Yorker who wanted to operate a shipping business during the Gold Rush era. The ship was 220 feet long and 36 feet wide. It traveled from New York to Panama. Its passengers would cross the Isthmus of Panama and proceed to California in another ship. In 1852, Cornelius Vanderbilt purchased the Brother Jonathan to replace one of his ships that had been wrecked. He had it sail around Cape Horn and used it on the Pacific to travel to California. Vanderbilt had the ship rebuilt to accommodate more passengers. In 1856 the ship was sold to Captain John Wright, who renamed it the Commodore. She traveled up the coast from San Francisco to Vancouver and back.

By 1861, the ship was in poor condition. It was sold to the California Steam Navigation Company and retrofitted. The original name was restored, and it continued to service the route from San Francisco to Vancouver. The Brother Jonathan was one of the fastest ships to sail that route and had a reputation for being one of the finest steamers on the Pacific Coast.

In 1865, the ship was headed from San Francisco to Portland. It carried about 150 passengers, a crew of 60 and a large cargo that included an unknown quantity of gold coins. The ship ran into heavy winds and put in to port at Crescent City. In the morning the voyage was resumed, but the seas were still rough. The captain ordered it returned to port, but it struck a submerged rock that was hidden just below the surface of the water. The ship sank along with most of the passengers, crew, and captain.

In the 1990’s a group of investors formed Deep Sea Research, Inc. and found the ship. More than 1000 gold coins were recovered that consisted mainly of 1865-S double eagles.

The San Francisco Mint opened in 1854 because of the need to coin gold resulting from the California Gold Rush. In the West there was an abundance of gold bullion, nuggets and dust; however, there was also an acute shortage of circulating coinage. Congress authorized this mint to relieve the shortage and coin silver and gold and because transportation of bullion to Philadelphia was time consuming and hazardous. Because of its proximity to the Gold Rush area, San Francisco was chosen as the site of the new mint. In 1874 it moved into a new building called the Old United States Mint or the Granite Lady. It is one of the few structures that survived the earthquake of 1906. It remained in service as a mint until 1938, when the present facility opened.

In its first year of operation the Mint made four million dollars in gold coins from bullion. The second building, the Old United States Mint, was designed by Alfred B. Mullett in Greek Revival style. It was built in an E-shape with a central pediment portico. There was a completely enclosed courtyard that had a well. It was these features that saved it in the fire that resulted from the earthquake of 1906. The building was situated on a concrete and granite foundation that was made to prevent tunneling into its vaults. In 1906 there was $300 million, a third of the United States’ gold reserves, in its vaults. Frank Leach and his men worked heroically to successfully preserve the building and the bullion. The mint was able to resume service and operated until 1937. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961.



Very Truly Yours,

Tom Pilitowski
Toll Free:
Email: TomPilitowski@yahoo.com

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