The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 5, January 29, 2023, Article 16


The Daily Standard of Celina, Ohio published a story about the local Celina Coin Co., its owners, and the ultrarare coins they handled. -Editor

  1870-S Three Dollar Gold

One of the rarest and most famous U.S. gold coins ever made was once in the hands of two Celina businessmen.

John Sacher, a Celina attorney and coin expert, during the Western Ohio Civil War Roundtable on Thursday spoke about the $10 million 1870-S $3 gold coin, the coin's connection to Celina Coin Co. and its temporary owners Ted and Carl Brandts.

Of the more than 535,000 pieces issued, one $3 gold piece sticks out above the rest - the 1870-S, Sacher said.

In 1870, the newly-built second San Francisco Mint was opened, according to the American Numismatic Association (ANA). Numismatics is the study or collection of currency. To commemorate the occasion, a set of San Francisco coins were made to place into the cornerstone of the new mint building, per the ANA.

However, three denominations were not being made by the San Francisco Mint in 1870: the half dime, the dollar and the $3 gold piece. These pieces were struck for this ceremony, according to the ANA.

The superintendent of the San Francisco Mint indicated that only a single piece had been struck to be put in the cornerstone of the building, according to PCGS.

Yet a specimen appeared in the William H. Woodin sale in 1911, which was claimed to be a duplicate of the coin in the cornerstone. Sacher said some believe a coin is still located in the cornerstone, while PCGS speculated the two coins are one in the same.

All the same, the coin has a known pedigree, has been circulated many times and has visible imperfections, Sacher said.

The numbers "893" were scratched upside down above the wreath on the back of the coin, he noted. There's also indications the coin had been used as jewelry due to its pebbled appearance, per PCGS.

  Mercelina Park Hotel

The former Mercelina Park Hotel was once owned by the Brandts family. A safe on the second floor of the hotel housed rare and valuable coins.

Despite its blemishes, the lone piece came into the hands of Ted and Carl Brandts, owners of the Celina Coin Co., in the 1940s, Sacher said. The Brandts were also the owners of the Mercelina Park Hotel, he added.

"The Celina Ohio Coin Company, they did national business of rare coins," Sacher said. "They had inventory with a printout sheet, they consigned stuff to auction, and they were in the business until the mid- to late-40s."

At the same time the Brandts owned the valuable $3 gold piece, they also owned two other exceedingly rare coins, Sacher said. That included an 1885 trade dollar, five of which are known to exist and worth about $10 million a piece today, and an 1884 trade dollar, 10 of which are known to exist and worth about $3 million each, he said.

"They had three coins in their inventory at one time that there's one known, five known and 10 known, to this day. None have been discovered since that time," Sacher said. "All (kept) in the safe on the second floor of the Mercelina Hotel near Mercelina Park."

The Brandts sold the $3 gold coin in 1945 for $11,500. The coin is now worth over $10 million, he said.

"Every time one of those three pieces I described is sold, Celina, Ohio gets some press, and the Brandts brothers," he added.

Can anyone tell us more about the Celina Ohio Coin Company and the owners Ted and Carl Brandts? -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Rare coin was once in Celina (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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