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Sale 72

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Lot 1694

1848. CAL Above Eagle. NGC graded AU-58. Only 1,389 minted. Very popular. A landmark rarity in the Liberty Quarter Eagle series, the 1848 CAL. is also a historically significant issue as the first true Commemorative coin struck in the United States Mint. "The story of this issue begins with James Marshall's discovery of gold in California's American River on January 24, 1848," explains Bowers. "At the end of that year (on December 9, to be exact), Colonel R. B. Mason, the military governor of California, sent 230 ounces of the precious metal to Secretary of War William L. Marcy on the East Coast. Marcy, in turn, forwarded the bullion to the Philadelphia Mint where it was used to strike 1,369 1848-dated Liberty Quarter Eagles. To distinguish these coins from the other 6,500 1848 Quarter Eagles struck in the Philadelphia Mint, and also to commemorative Marshall's important discovery, the 1,369 special examples were stamped with the abbreviation CAL. in the reverse field above the eagle while the coins were still in the die."

Exactly how many examples have survived is a matter of debate, but we believe that only 85-100 coins are known in all grades. A few of the higher-grade pieces are Prooflike, which is the first significant physical attribute of the present near-Mint example. Both sides also possess handsome color that alternates between khaki-gold and orange-gold shades as one rotates the coin under a light. Abundant mint bloom is also present here and there, most noticeably around Liberty and the eagle. Overall bold, if not sharp in strike, the only pedigree marker of note is a small mark in the field below the 9th star. Graded a desirable NGC AU58, this lovely example would serve as a centerpiece in the finest numismatic holding. Pop 9; 20 finer (PCGS # 7749) .
Estimated Value $50,000 - 55,000.

Realized $52,900

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