1854 Round "Dollar" Locket. BG-606. Rarity-8. Liberty Head. EF-45 (Uncertified). Pleasing warm yellow-gold with light, even wear, and traces of natural debris still clinging to the surfaces on both sides. Looped at 12 oclock, as made, with the presumably original jump ring intact. Hinged in the edge at 3 oclock relative to the obverse. This was carefully masked by the maker, with the rims of both sides making it invisible from obverse or reverse examination, suggesting a great degree of care and skill in its production. The interior of the locket is light satiny gold, with the primary designs incuse inside. There are no additional contents.<p>The story of this piece begins with a proverbial "close-call." It was discovered in a box of mixed damaged coins, broken jewelry and various gold scrap in a deceased collectors holdings. It was a box clearly assembled with the melting pot in mind. Upon studying the contents, the present writer thought it wise to segregate the fractional gold coins to be sure there was nothing rare. The effort yielded nothing, until this final piece in the box. While working to attribute this clearly unusual type late one evening, the efforts were rewarded upon the discovery of a match to BG-606. The first scan of the description of this variety noted a single thrilling word, "unique," which prompted a closer look at the details of the specimen in hand to be absolutely sure. It was on this closer examination that a tiny hinge neatly hidden in the edge was noted. While this was a bit of a disappointment at first, a complete reading of the Breen-Gillio reference entry revealed that the only example previously seen, the T. James Clarke specimen in New Netherlands 47th Sale, in April 1956, was also described as a hinged locket, this from Walter Breens personal notes.<p>Remarkably, it is clear that the presently offered specimen is not the T. James Clarke piece, and thus it stands as the second example ever seen and the only one known today. The significance to numismatics is twofold. First, the discovery of something seemingly long lost to history always carries with it degrees of relief and excitement. In this case, the discovery also sheds important light on the true nature of BG-606, an issue long published, long sought after by serious collectors of the series, but equally long misunderstood. Since just two examples have ever been reported, and both are lockets, it seems probable that this is the natural original form of what numismatists have catalogued as BG-606. Further and even more significant evidence may be found in thoughtful examination of this piece. Though the BG reference discusses that the Clarke piece, the "lone survivor" had been "made into a hinged locket," this was almost certainly in error. The present piece was, in fact, never a coin. Both the obverse and reverse, the "coin" design surfaces, were clearly produced as shells from the outset. These were never in solid coin form, as the interior surfaces of the thin sheets of gold exhibit, as noted above, a satiny lustrous texture and design features incuse and in mirror-image. It is highly probable that what we know as BG-606 was produced, in total, as a jewelry item and simply misunderstood decades ago. As such, for any collector seeking to complete the BG reference, or even the prized Period One series, this piece is a must-have. There is simply no other form for BG-606, and this is the only one to come to market in 66 years. With the Clarke piece missing since the 1956 sale, this one may now have taken its place as the sole survivor. It is not a stretch to imagine that misunderstood Clarke "coin" lost to a melt many years ago at the hands of someone who simply didnt know better.