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Description

Choice XF 1851 Humbert Fifty Dollar Slug
887 Thous., 50 Reverse, K-4 Variety

1851 $50 LE Humbert Fifty Dollar, Lettered Edge, 887 Thous. 50 Rev. XF45 PCGS. Gold CAC. K.4, High R.5. The United States Assay Office was established by an act of Congress on September 30, 1850, and the firm of Moffat & Company secured the contract for coining operations. Augustus Humbert, a New York watchmaker, was appointed assayer, and Charles Cushing Wright engraved the first dies, which Humbert brought with him when he arrived in California on January 30, 1851. Later dies were engraved locally by Albert Kuner. Coinage operations commenced immediately, and fifty dollar slugs were being produced by February 14. The new coins were of great benefit to the local economy, as their weight and fineness were accurate and they were accepted for customs duties. The new issues soon drove most of the private mints in the area out of business, as their coins were perceived as being light weight and of low intrinsic value.
The coin offered here represents the very scarce K-4 variety, with a lettered edge, a fineness of 887 THOUS., and the number 50 in the center of the reverse. The reverse design was "engine turned", similar to the design on many watch cases of the era. Don Kagin reports a possible variety K-4a, resembling K-4 in all other respects, but with no 50 on the reverse. The existence of this variety is unconfirmed.
The present coin is a lightly worn XF45 specimen, with lustrous greenish-gold surfaces. The edges show a few rim minor bruises and the surfaces display the usual number of abrasions for a large gold coin in this grade. Housed in an old green label holder with a gold CAC sticker. Listed on page 368 of the 2012 Guide Book. Population: 3 in 45, 19 finer (11/11).
From The Klamath Mountain Collection. (PCGS# 10208)

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Auction Dates
January, 2012
3rd-8th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 17
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