Los Angeles

George Washington's Cherished Memento on Display in Long Beach

The coin is believed to have been the first currency template ever presented to the United States Mint.

What to Know

  • This coin and many others can be seen at the Long Beach Expo: Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectible Show through Saturday, June 16
  • The event will be held from 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. at the Long Beach Convention Center, Hall A, 100 South Pine Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802
  • Admission is $8 for adults; For more information visit — http://www.longbeachexpo.com/visitors

History buffs will get a chance this weekend to see what is considered to be one of George Washington's most cherished mementos — a one-of-a-kind gold coin with his image.

A gold coin that an auction house says is one likely to have been in Washington's possession will be on display this weekend in Long Beach.

"To think that a gold coin that jingled around in the pockets of our first president is fascinating to just about anyone," said Todd Imhof, executive vice president at Heritage Auctions, which will auction off the coin in August.

It's solid gold, its edges worn by age. It is believed to be the first pattern piece ever presented to the first US Mint for possible coinage, Imhof said. The coin was never used as currency, a credit to the first president's refusal to emulate a king, Imhof said.

"George Washington had no intention of wanting to be seen as a monarch-type figure and absolutely did not want his portrait to be on the coin," Imhof said. 

The coin had exchanged hands privately for decades before being purchased in 1942 by Eric P. Newman, Heritage said. The piece, originally meant to be a template for a possible $10 coin, was Newman's favorite item in his collection.

Besides Washington and Newman, only six other people have owned the coin in it's over 200-year history.

After the expo, Heritage Auctions plans to tour the coin in its offices around the country, with stops in Beverly Hills, Chicago, and New York.

Then it will be auctioned at the Philadelphia ANA World's Fair of Money in August.

Imhof said that it's hard to predict what the coin will sell for.

"This is one of the most exciting items that has ever come to the coin collecting community in decades," Imhof said.

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