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Description

K-6 1851 Reeded Edge Humbert Fifty
887 Thous, AU58

1851 $50 RE Humbert Fifty Dollar, Reeded Edge, 887 Thous. AU58 NGC. K-6, R.4. Obverse with AUGUSTUS / HUMBERT / UNITED / STATES / ASSAYER / OF GOLD / CALIFORNIA / 1851 around, 887 Thous. on the label; reverse with geometric pattern and ribbonlike border element close to the edges (compare the rare K-5, which has the ribbon closer to the geometric pattern).
The original United States Assay Office operated under a coining contract held by the firm of Moffat & Co., but it was not until January 1851--after United States Assayer of Gold Augustus Humbert arrived in California--that the Assay Office began striking the fifty dollar "slugs" that would make the facility famous. While the presence of the United States Assay Office had a beneficial effect on commercial confidence, there was an unforeseen side effect to its establishment; according to Don Kagin's Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States, almost all of the small-denomination private gold coins circulating in California went to the Assay Office and came back as the enormous "slugs," provoking a crisis when the lack of smaller gold coins hit home for merchants and miners.
This example of the 1851 Reeded Edge Humbert fifty dollar barely circulated, as evidenced by the ample yellow-gold luster remaining on each side. The strike is soft in the centers and weak on the date, but aside from a scattering of abrasions (most notably above the first A in AMERICA on the obverse), the overall eye appeal is solid, and this is a great piece of California Gold Rush history. Listed on page 368 of the 2011 Guide Book. (PCGS# 10214)

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Auction Dates
March, 2011
17th-20th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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