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Description

AU50 1852 Assay Office Fifty Dollar
K-13, 887 Thous.

1852 $50 Assay Office Fifty Dollar, 887 Thous. AU50 PCGS. CAC. K-13, Low R.5. To paraphrase Kagin's description in Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States, this octagonal fifty dollar has the same general devices as the earlier "Humbert" pieces, but the legend around the obverse reads UNITED / STATES / ASSAY / OFFICE / OF GOLD / SAN FRANCISCO / CALIFORNIA instead of referencing Humbert by name. A fineness of "887 THOUS" is noted on the ribbon above the eagle, and the date 1852 is below.
Moffat & Co., which had received a federal contract to produce the ingots of the United States Assay Office, lost Mr. Moffat near the end of 1851, when he sold his share of the firm to Curtis, Perry and Ward. In a comment Kagin termed "revealing" and reprinted in his work, Curtis wrote to Treasury Secretary Thomas Corwin that "from the commencement of the performance of the contract ... M. Moffat has employed himself exclusively in other pursuits, and totally neglected every duty at the Assay Office, having been chiefly engaged in Mining." It seems that even an owner of the Assay Office had trouble resisting the lure of gold!
Curtis, Perry and Ward received a continuation of the Assay Office contract, and they renamed Moffat & Co. the "United States Assay Office of Gold," the name appearing on the present piece. Though the yellow-gold surfaces show clear evidence of wear and numerous abrasions from circulation, considerable luster remains, and the eye appeal is solid. A remarkable and historic example. Listed on page 368 of the 2011 Guide Book. (PCGS# 10016)

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Auction Dates
March, 2011
17th-20th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 13
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