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Near-Mint 1851 Humbert Fifty
Reeded Edge, 880 Thous., K-5

1851 $50 RE Humbert Fifty Dollar, 880 Thous. AU58 NGC. K-5, Low R.5. A reeded edge variety with the date on the obverse exergue. This straw-gold example displays shimmering luster on the legends, eagle, and scroll work. The eagle's plumage detail is virtually complete, although the rock, leg, and arrows show wear. Careful inspection locates a couple of trivial edge nicks at the corners, but field marks are fewer in number than generally seen. The obverse field has a pebbled texture, as made from a rusted die. A desirable example of this first-year Humbert issue.
The United States Assay Office of Gold in San Francisco essentially operated as a provisional United States mint in California prior to the opening and operations of the official branch mint three years later. Augustus Humbert, who served as assayer for the United States, came to the west coast from New York where he had been a watchmaker. Humbert was appointed the assayer of the USAOG at a salary "not to exceed five thousand dollars," and arrived in San Francisco early in January 1851.
After the U.S. Assay Office closed in 1853, Humbert partnered with John Glover Kellogg in an assay house venture, which produced private gold coins in 1854 and 1855 during the growing pains of the new San Francisco Mint. Many large Kellogg & Humbert gold ingots were recovered from the 1857 S.S. Central America shipwreck. Humbert returned to New York in 1860, where he lived there for several years until his death on June 7, 1873 at the age of 58. The present variety is listed on page 362 of the 2009 Guide Book. Census: 12 in 58, 11 finer (11/08).
From The James Mossman Collection. (NGC ID# ANH8, PCGS# 10211)

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Auction Dates
January, 2009
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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