1849 $5 Oregon Exchange Co. Five Dollar AU53 NGC....
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Orange County Convention Center
Against this backdrop, the Oregon Exchange Company was formed, with the express purpose of weighing and stamping gold. Although Oregon was officially declared a territory of the United States on March 3, 1849--rendering any plan to coin gold clearly unconstitutional--several prominent residents determined to proceed with the plan. The surnames of those residents were Kilborn, Magruder, Taylor, Abernethy, Willson, Rector, (Gill) Campbell, and Smith. Their initials K. M. T. A. W. R. G. S. appear around the rim of the five dollar gold pieces, which also picture a beaver on a log and a laurel wreath. In error, the initials T.O. (rather than O.T., for Oregon Territory) were stamped on the obverse. The five dollar contains the reverse legend OREGON EXCHANGE COMPANY around the periphery, with 130 G. / NATIVE GOLD. / 5 D. in the center. The initials of two men were omitted from the ten dollar pieces struck later, and the T.O. was corrected to O.T.
The gold coinage was unalloyed with silver or copper, and succeeded in raising the price of gold dust from $12 to $16 as the pieces circulated. Alloy was purposely omitted to ensure that the pieces would be accepted regardless of variances in the purity of gold dust, but their inherent softness caused them to suffer in contact with the harder alloyed gold coinage from California--and their higher intrinsic value caused them to soon be melted.
The fives were struck to the extent of 6,000 pieces, along with 2,850 of the tens. The present example shows light rub and strike softness on the beaver and his log, along with miscellaneous small abrasions and surface nicks characteristic of a soft, unalloyed gold. A bit of softness is also visible around the N's in OREGON and NATIVE. Much luster remains, however, and the surfaces are enormously appealing. Census: 4 in 53, 4 finer (12/07). Listed on page 364 of the 2008 Guide Book.
From The Madison Collection. (PCGS# 10288)
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