The U.S. Mint began selling Proof coins directly to the public in 1858 and this proved to be quite popular. The exact mintage figure for Proof 1858 gold coinage is not recorded but it is thought that the number of dollars struck was somewhere in the range of 30-40. Around half of these are known today and most of the survivors grade in the PR64 to PR65 range and are characterized by planchet problems and lintmarks. The present example is the second finest known 1858 Proof gold dollar that I am aware of, trailing only Stacks 11/09: 1778, graded PR67 Ultra Cameo by NGC, that sold for a rousing $92,000. The present example is superb with stark black and white contrast and lovely natural yellow-gold coloration. The surfaces are fully reflective and lack any marks which might serve as identification. At the recent FUN show I was able to view a PCGS PR66 Cameo example of this date which was a lovely coin but, in my opinion, technically inferior to this piece. It was priced at $52,000. Here is one of the few pre-1860 Proof gold coins that can be purchased in superb gem for under $50,000 and it would make a wonderful addition to an advanced set of proof U.S. gold coins.