Don Kagin added the following remarks on the origin and composition of the Pioneer Gold Forum. -EditorThe Pioneer Forum originated with our suspicions two years ago of another controversial issue . the $20 1861 Clark Gruber & Co. Prooflike and counter stamped issues. These were .discovered. in the late 1950s but the origins seem to have been Jack Klauson .from an old guy in Denver., or so he told me. A few of these pieces appeared over the years in almost all the major auction houses including Kagin.s. Some of these coins were already in PCGS holders. I put the Forum together and we met at the FUN show last January. A unanimous determination was made that the coins in question were 20th century Fantasies made for collectors. (PCGS repurchased the slabbed pieces).
For the last two years I, with the particular help from my associate David McCarthy, who not only is a top numismatic researcher and trader but is also an excellent coin photographer, have been traveling around the country to photograph all the important pioneer gold collections so I can have a comprehensive photographic library and then pick the best specimens for the color plate coins for the 2nd edition of my book tentatively to be published by Whitman in 2010.
In doing so we encountered what we now believe to be the prototype or original coin which was used for the Franklin Hoard pieces. David noticed the familiar pattern of repeating depressions and marks which we had seen on the .proofllike. coins of the Franklin hoard. My client graciously allowed us to use his coin for our study group (as did a couple of other of our clients with their specimens). The members of the study group are:
Non-members invited to attend who participate by either examining the coins and material or commenting at the meeting:
Not only did we tackle one of the most controversial pioneer issues but of all numismatics. We feel the method we used should serve as a template for future scientific study of controversial numismatic material:
Our next project will probably be another subset of .Ford discovered. issues . the .tablet. USAOG coinage and ingots. As you know Ford, who was one of my advisors for my Pioneer book, could be very persuasive and most of us including Harvey Stack, Dave Bowers, my father and I believed most of what he said. Others, like Walter Breen, I now conclude, while having issues with John, feared him.
Indeed. Setting personality, opinion and emotion aside is paramount. We'll look forward to the publication of the new edition of Don's book, Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States. -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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