Goldberg Coins and Collectibles



Sale 78


 
 
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Lot 1916

1861 Clark, Gruber & Co. (Denver, Colorado) $2.50 Gold. PCGS graded AU-55 PQ. CAC Approved. Nice light golden toning. A worldly dose of beaming original luster enlivens the intricate designs of this handsome Territorial gold piece. The fields are very attractive, while the strike is bold enough to warrant special notice including full stars as well as the inscription on the Libertys coronet; and on the reverse, all the smallest detail being visible in the eagles shield. Strong rim denticles and a clear, uncompromised rim complete the description.

Clark, Gruber & Co., bankers, brokers, assayers, became famous as minters. It has been well said that the history of the beginning of commerce in Colorado Territory is the history of this firm. Its partners were Austin M. Clark, his brother Milton Edward Clark, and Emanuel H. Gruber. In Dec. According to Breen from his extensive researches, "1859, Milton Clark traveled to Philadelphia to buy dies and presses, and to New York to buy other minting equipment; on Jan. 18, 1860, the firm bought three lots in Denver City on which they built their mint; and on March 30, one L. L. Todd arrived to help set up the "Assay and Coinage Office." This was a two-story brick building on the corner of McGaa and G Sts. (the present 16th and Market). Trial strikings of the four denominations ($2.50, $5, $10, and $20) were ready on July 11, one day after the building actually opened, and on July 20 the firm invited local VIPs and newspaper people in to witness the first coinage of $10s, about 100 pieces (Rocky Mountain News, 7/20/1860). Clark, Gruber & Co. began advertising in the same paper on Aug. 8, and in the Western Mountaineer on Aug. 9, specifying that "The native gold is coined as it is found alloyed with silver. The weight will be greater, but the value the same as the United States coin of like denominations. "

"Coinage totaled some $120,000 between July and Oct. 1860, continuing into the winter until heavy snows made further prospecting impractical, and resuming at the spring thaw. The firm discovered quickly that its issues of 1860 were too soft to wear well. Accordingly, its redesigned issues dated 1861 (coined through 1862) contained a little extra alloy in the interest of durability, but their gold content remained at 1% over the federal standard so that nobody could accuse the firm of debasement or other dishonesty. They were Colorado Territory's exact counterpart of California's Moffat & Co., even to a federal takeover for conversion into a branch mint.

"The phrase PIKES PEAK GOLD DENVER has to do more with mint location than with bullion sources; though the whole area was known as the "Pike's Peak District…" Pop 16; 18 finer at PCGS (PCGS # 10139) .
Estimated Value $5,000 - 5,500.

 
Realized $10,575



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