Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 81

The Pre-Long Beach Sale

Territorial Gold Coins
Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 1393
1852 U.S. Assay Office $10 Gold, 884 THOUS. PCGS graded AU-55 PQ. Housed in an Old Green Holder. Light golden surfaces with almost none of the expected abrasions and hairlines found on most of these. The color is mainly light except for some pleasing amber shading towards the extreme edge. Any wear from circulation is barely noticeable and contained to the tips of the wings, eagle's neck along with some shield lines. We are also pleased to see the rims are in outstanding condition, free of problems. There is a complete word LIBERTY on the scroll, which is sometimes found weak due to its placement where circulation abrasion first occurs. Strong 884 THOUS. on scroll. These issues were produced for a reason, and circulation was definitely in the cards of most of Territorial issues that were struck. The U.S. Assay Office had the role of "normalizing" barter and commerce in this region before a Federal mint could be established. It did this by providing assay services and coinage that were more consistent, reliable and more heavily favored by the public (at the expense of previous dealers and bankers profit margins). A pleasing AU55 example, hence our Premium Quality determination. And an historic Territorial gold coin struck from Gold Rush gold by a firm that was the basis for the San Francisco Mint that replaced it in 1854. Pop 29; 29 finer (PCGS # 10001) .
Estimated Value $14,000 - 15,000.
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Lot 1394
1860 Clark, Gruber & Co. (Denver, Colorado) $5 Gold. PCGS graded MS-62. Pale greenish to yellow gold, with even hues, fairly well struck, and a treat to the eye -- one of the few Mint State specimens encountered of this issue.

If you are seeking an example of this historic issue, your search ends here. Coins with higher certifications are seen now and then, but from the standpoint of overall quality, this piece has few peers. We have cataloged a wide range of Clark, Gruber coins over the years and never cease admiring them for their history and consistent nice quality.

The firm of Clark, Gruber & Co., Leavenworth, Kansas bankers, established a branch in Denver following discovery of gold deposits in the area, primarily in the mountains to the west. From that beginning was to grow Colorado's largest mint, an operation which subsequently laid the framework for the government mint in the same city. Partners were Austin M. Clark, Milton Edward Clark, and Emanuel Henry Gruber.

The Rocky Mountain News reported on the continuing progress of the firm in an article in the August 29, 1860 issue:

"Clark Gruber & Co. melted and coined about $18,000 in $10, $5, and $2.50 pieces. As specimens of coinage these pieces are far superior to any of the private mint drops issued in San Francisco, and are nearly as perfect as the regular United States Mint issues. The faces of the $5s and $2.50s are a good imitation of the government coinagethe stars, with the name of 'Clark & Co.' occupying the head tiara. The reverse is occupied, of course, with 'our noble bird' encircled by the words 'Pikes Peak Gold, Denver 21/2D.' Altogether it is a creditable piece of work, and we hope to see hosts of it in circulation before the snow flies. The fineness of this coin is 828-1/2; and the excess of weight over U.S. coin is 23 grains in a $10 piece. The value in gold is the same as government coin of like denomination, with an additional value in silver alloy equal to near 1%. Deduct the cost of coining at the U.S. mint, about 1/2%, and the actual worth of Clark & Co.'s coin is 1/2% more than any other coinage."

The initial coinages were of the $10 and $20 denominations. Later, pieces of $2.50 and $5 were made, as noted in the preceding article. By October 1860 the coins were in wide circulation throughout the "Jefferson" Territory. The mint operated both day and night, and by October $120,000 worth had been struck.

In 1861 new dies were produced. Gold content of the Clark, Gruber & Co. coins was increased to 1% more than that used by the United States government mints. The Colorado Republican and Rocky Mountain Herald wrote on August 3, 1861, of a visit to the coining establishment:

"We yesterday stepped into the fine banking house of Messrs. Clark, Gruber & Co. and by invitation of the gentlemanly proprietors took a look at the machinery and fixtures for minting…The gold is first refined by chemicals, then put into a crucible, melted, and run into bars. Then it is run through a rolling machine, which reduces it to the proper thickness; it is then taken to a punching machine where it is cut in the proper size; a man then takes it and reduces it to the proper weight, when it is taken to the die and stamped, then the edges are milled, which is the finishing stroke." Pop 6; 10 finer at PCGS. (PCGS # 10136) .
Estimated Value $14,000 - 15,000.
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