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Lot
1835

(1837-42) $5 C. Bechtler Five Dollar, Colons Obverse XF45 PCGS....

2008 July-August Baltimore, MD (ANA) US Coin Signature Auction #1114

 
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Auction Ended On: Jul 31, 2008
Item Activity: 2 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location:

Baltimore, MD

Description:
Spectacularly Rare K-21 C. Bechtler Five Dollar, XF45
Likely High Rarity-7
(1837-42) $5 C. Bechtler Five Dollar, Colons Obverse XF45 PCGS. K-21, High R.7. This is a spectacularly rare example of the Bechtler coinage, a popular family of early Territorial gold issuers. Most of the 128.G. C. Bechtler five dollar pieces of the 1837-1842 era (K-23, High R.6) show 128.G. 22 CARATS on the obverse and C. BECHTLER., 5 DOLLARS., AT RUTHERF. (star) on the reverse. This example shows 128.G.: (with the colon) on the obverse and AT RUTHERFORD. (star) on the reverse, marking it as the much rarer K-21. GEORGIA GOLD is at the top of the obverse, and C.BECHTLER at the top of the reverse.
Although the Bechtler family coined gold in Rutherford County for perhaps as long as two decades, most of the Bechtler coinage was later melted. Kagin believes that the various locations on the coins--Georgia gold, Carolina gold, North Carolina gold--were in reality color codes: "Bechtler is believed to have had a standard of seven shades of gold to help him determine fineness." Regardless of the varying finenesses present in the gold, the net gold weight was assured, and apparently trusted by the local populace.
The present example has considerable reddish color--indicative of a higher content of copper alloy--with some tinges of greenish-blue in the centers. GEORGIA is noticeably larger than GOLD on this example, which exactly matches in die characteristics the specimen depicted in the Kagin reference (page 263), down to and including a small odd-shaped centering dot in the loop of the 5. The reverse is turned nearly 90 degrees from normal coin turn as compared with the obverse. There are few marks of any size noted on the piece, and some muted luster remains, particularly in the protected areas around the devices.
When Donald Kagin penned his Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States in 1981, he estimated the rarity of this variety at R.8, or "three or less known." As of (6/08) PCGS has certified seven pieces: two in XF45, two in AU50, two in AU55, and one in AU58, the finest certified at that service. NGC contributes a possible two more pieces to the total, an AU55 and an MS61. This makes a total of nine "certification events" at both services together--not necessarily nine separate coins.
By way of comparison, PCGS has certified 19 of the more common K-23 five dollar, showing 128G. 22C. RUTHERF. with no colons after the G, which Kagin calls High R.6. There are 15 more examples at NGC, for a total of 34 "certification events" of that coin. It is easily conceivable that no more than five to seven examples exist today of this rarer K-21 variety. This is the first time Heritage has ever had the privilege to offer an example of this variety, since we began maintaining our Permanent Auction Archives in 1993, and as such it represents a wonderful opportunity for Territorial gold specialists. Watch the bid cards fly on this one! (PCGS# 10106)

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