The Fall 2018 issue of Intelligent Collector from Heritage features an article titled "George's Coin" (pp 28-22) describing
the 1792 Washington Gold Eagle Pattern piece in the upcoming sale of coins from the Eric P. Newman collection. The final page of the article has a
summary of the coin's illustrious provenance, which I'm publishing here with permission. -Editor
In the 75 years Newman held this and other numismatic treasures, he opined the 1792 Washington President gold eagle was struck expressly for,
given to, and carried by President Washington. The provenance is singular in its importance (see “Long Line of Legendary Owners”), shedding light on
why Newman held this prized possession in such high regard.
Long Line of Legendary Owners
Since 1855, only eight collectors have owned the 1792 George Washington gold eagle. Dates following each collector’s name indicate the time of
ownership, when known.
• Gustavus Adolphus Myers, Richmond, Va., 1855-1860: First owner of record of the 1792 Washington gold eagle. While prior
provenance is unknown, there is a possibility that the coin passed from grandfather to father to son. Gustavus Myers was the son of Samuel Myers, who
was born in New York City on April 16, 1755, and the grandson of influential New York silversmith Myer Myers, who was active in freemasonry, and who
was almost certainly acquainted with President Washington.
• Col. Mendes I. Cohen, Baltimore, 1860-1875: Cohen acquired the coin apparently as a gift from Gustavus A. Myers. The Myers
family of merchants and the Cohen family of bankers likely had a close business relationship. There may also have been a family relationship, as
Gustavus Meyers was the grandson of Elkaleh Cohen, who married Myer Myers.
• Lorin G. Parmelee, Boston, 1882-unknown: Parmelee was a Vermont-born businessman who started the first baked bean business in
Boston. He acquired the Washington gold eagle, probably from Ebenezer Locke Mason, who had offered it for sale in June 1882 for $500.
• Dewitt Sheldon Smith (unknown-1908): Smith, president of the Smith Paper Company, formed a first-class collection of Colonial coins
and territorial issues, holding on to his coins until his death in Lee, Mass., in 1908.
• Virgil M. Brand (1908-1926): Brand made his mark as the first president of the United States Brewing Company. He then founded
the Brand Brewing Company in 1899 and became a millionaire at an early age. He acquired Smith’s collection intact from his estate in 1908 and listed
the 1792 Washington gold eagle as journal number 46483, noting it as “GW pocket-piece.”
• Armin William Brand (1926-1933): Virgil never married and did not leave a will, so his estate was divided between brothers
Horace and Armin. Armin was awarded the Washington gold eagle as part of his share of the estate and in 1933 sold it to New York coin dealer Wayte
Raymond, who promptly resold the coin to his most important client, “Colonel” E.H.R. Green. Green paid over $2,500 for it, an unheard of sum in his
• “Colonel” Edward Howland Robinson Green (1933-1936): The son of wealthy businesswoman Hetty “Henrietta” Green, he inherited
her vast fortune and began collecting stamps, coins, art and other objects. At Green’s private radio station, Eric P. Newman was part of a group of
Massachusetts Institute of Technology students who monitored and sometimes assisted with transmittals from Admiral Byrd’s first Antarctic expedition
(a connection that would indirectly facilitate Eric’s purchases from Green’s estate).
• Green Estate (1936-1942): “Colonel” Green’s estate was administered by the Chase National Bank in New York. His numismatic holdings
remained intact until Eric P. Newman negotiated the purchase of some Missouri paper money in 1939. Afterward, the bank over a period of years sold
much of the collection to the partnership of Eric P. Newman and Burdette G. Johnson.
• Eric P. Newman and Burdette G. Johnson, 1942: After his initial success in acquiring items from the Green Estate, Newman formed a
partnership with his mentor, St. Louis dealer Burdette G. Johnson, to purchase the bulk of the non U.S. gold portion of the Green Collection. Eric
provided the contacts with the estate and Johnson supplied the funding. The partnership acquired the 1792 Washington gold eagle in 1942, and Eric
selected the coin shortly afterward as part of his share of the profits.
• Eric P. Newman (acquired July 1942): Newman became interested in coins at the age of 9 when his grandfather gave him an 1859
Indian cent. Numismatics became a lifelong passion and he formed one of the greatest coin collections of all time. He passed away in 2017 at the age
of 106. His collection is being dispersed through an ongoing series of sales by Heritage Auctions. For more on Eric P. Newman and his collection, see
Truth Seeker: The Life of Eric P. Newman, by Leonard Augsburger, Roger W. Burdette and Joel Orosz.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NEWMAN'S 1792 WASHINGTON PRESIDENT $10 GOLD EAGLE
To read the complete lot description, see:
'$10' Washington Gold Eagle Pattern, Musante GW-31 (A), Unique, XF45 ? NGC...
To read the complete multipage catalog, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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