Kellogg Twenty Dollar at Baltimore ANA
By Scott Purvis
Contursi to display
the 154-year-old $20 gold piece known as the
Kellogg Twenty will return to Baltimore next
month for the first time in nearly 30 years.
This one-of-a-kind California Gold Rush coin was
once owned by Baltimore resident and diplomat
John Work Garrett, and is considered by most
collectors to be one of the finest American
coins from the mid-19th century.
John W. Garrett (1872 – 1942) was the grandson
of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad executive and
one-time president, John Work Garrett (1820 –
1884), and the eldest son of T. Harrison Garrett
(1849 – 1888), who began collecting coins as a
student at Princeton. The coin collection grew
extensively under T. Harrison’s sons, John and
Robert (1875 – 1961).
Garrett donated the coin, along with his home,
Evergreen House, to the Johns Hopkins University
on his death in 1942. Hopkins sold the coin at
the Bowers and Ruddy auction in 1980 for
Subsequently the coin changed hands several
times. Contursi has owned it twice; from 2002 to
2005, and since 2006, it is now valued at $3
million. The coin is graded Specimen-69 by
Professional Coin Grading Service
“When you pick up this coin, you’re literally
holding Gold Rush history in your hands,” said
Steven L. Contursi, president of Rare Coin
Wholesalers of Dana Point, Calif., the coin’s
owner. “This is a homecoming. It’s the first
time it will be publicly seen in Baltimore in 28
The coin was manufactured on February 9, 1854 by
John Glover Kellogg, a former employee of the
San Francisco U.S. Assay Office. He gave it to
his friend and future business partner, New York
City watchmaker, August Humbert, the former U.S.
Assayer in San Francisco.
During most of the 20th century, the historic
coin was part of the legendary Garrett
Collection at Johns Hopkins University and kept
in a vault in Baltimore, Maryland.
In addition to Humbert, Garrett and Contursi,
the pedigree of the Kellogg gold coin includes
Captain Andrew C. Zabriskie, Colonel James W.
Ellsworth and Edward Milas.
“The renowned names of Kellogg and Humbert are
an integral part of California’s Gold Rush
history. Only a few 1854 $20 Kellogg gold pieces
survive today, and this is the only one designed
a ’specimen strike’ because of its exceptionally
strong design features. It was specially made
and is unique,” said Contursi.
Kellogg’s name prominently appears on the gold
coin in the headdress worn by the symbolic Miss
Liberty on the front of the coin. The tail’s
side has the words: “SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA
“There are few pre-1964 coins graded this high,
and for that the coin is exceptional,” said
Douglas Mudd, curator of American Numismatic
Association’s Money Museum. “Somebody took care
of it from the moment it was struck.”
Contursi has had a specially constructed,
5-foot-tall wooden exhibit case designed to
resemble the 19th-century cabinets that housed
the United States Mint’s coin collection, to
display the coin ant the upcoming ANA convention
. The Coin will be displayed during the American
Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money an
the Baltimore Convention Center from 10:30 a.m.
to 6:30 p.m. July 30 through Aug. 1, and from 10
a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 2. The event is free and
open to the public.