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1851 Humbert Fifty, AU53
First Reeded Edge Design
880 THOUS., K-5 Dies

1851 $50 RE Humbert Fifty Dollar, Reeded Edge, 880 THOUS. AU53 PCGS. CAC. K-5, Low R.5. Despite the obvious need for smaller denomination coinage in the California economy, and many importunities from local businessmen, the United States Assay Office was only legally authorized to issue fifty dollar gold pieces in 1851. Unfortunately, the demand for these coins fell late in the year, because of the lack of small change in the economy, and John Moffat noted that business in November was only half that of October. Competitor Wass, Molitor & Co. began preparing dies for smaller denomination coinage, and their coins soon began to pass at a two percent premium compared to the coins of the Assay Office.
Some improvement in the design of the coins was achieved partway through the year, with the advent of the K-5 dies. The K-5 variety is the first design to place the inscription AUGUSTUS HUMBERT UNITED STATES ASSAYER OF GOLD CALIFORNIA 1851 on the outside border of the coin, rather than on the edge. The edge was reeded, in the manner of most precious-metal coins of the period, greatly increasing the ease of production. The fineness was listed as 880 THOUS., with the numerals raised rather than punched into the die and the ribbon ends were folded in.
The present coin is an impressive AU53 example, with a little softness showing on the central design elements, but only a touch of actual wear. The attractive orange-gold surfaces are lightly abraded for the grade and retain much of their original mint luster. Housed in a green label holder with a gold CAC sticker. Listed on page 368 of the 2012 Guide Book. Population: 6 in 53, 16 finer (11/11).
From The Klamath Mountain Collection. (NGC ID# ANH8, PCGS# 10211)

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Auction Dates
January, 2012
3rd-8th Tuesday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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