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1849 Mormon Quarter Eagle, K-1, AU55
Seldom Encountered in Higher Grades

1849 $2 1/2 Mormon Quarter Eagle AU55 PCGS. K-1, High R.5. The Mormon quarter eagles were struck from gold dust collected along the American River in California by members of the Mormon Battalion returning from the Mexican War, soon after the Gold Rush began in 1848-49. There was almost no circulating coinage in the Mormon settlement at the time, causing great difficulties in the local economy. A mint was established in Salt Lake City under the direction of Brigham Young, with all the equipment being manufactured there by Mormon craftsmen and blacksmiths.

Unfortunately, no trained assayer was available, leading to well-publicized problems with the fineness of the issue. Although produced from the native California gold, additional alloys were present which brought the fineness below the stated value on the coins. Light weight specimens were also reported. The coinage was a local success, as merchants of the Mormon church would accept the coins at face value, but outside the settlement they were only accepted at a steep discount. Still, the coins enabled the Mormons to purchase needed goods from neighboring communities until an adequate supply of U.S. coinage reached the area in the early 1860s.

The present chestnut-gold example has pleasing sharpness on the clasped hands, and the minutely grainy surfaces exhibit only a few faint slide marks. The obverse die is buckled through the lower portion of the all seeing eye, which weakens that area, and is diagnostic for this issue. Listed on page 393 of the 2014 Guide Book. Population: 8 in 55, 3 finer (6/13).
Ex: Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/2006), lot 3769. (NGC ID# 2BCD, PCGS# 10259)

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Auction Dates
July, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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