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Lot
3441

1852 $50 Assay Office Fifty Dollar, 900 Thous. AU53 NGC....

2008 January Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Coin Auction #454

 
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Auction Ended On: Jan 10, 2008
Item Activity: 5 Internet/mail/phone bidders
1,050 page views
Location:

Orange County Convention Center
North/South Building
9400 Universal Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819

Lot Viewing, Room 220 D, E, F
Auction, Room 230 B

Description:
Rare 1852 Assay Office Fifty Dollar Gold AU53
1852 $50 Assay Office Fifty Dollar, 900 Thous. AU53 NGC. K-14, High R.5. A surprising amount of luster remains evident on the surfaces of this AU "slug", from the United States Assay Office. The coloration is a rich greenish-gold with substantial accents of coppery-orange coloration. Like many others of its type, this large-format coin shows a number of small to moderate abrasions, indicating that it served actively in the channels of commerce.
The increase in stated fineness from .887 to .900 (from Kagin-13 to Kagin-14) was significant, as the federal government had imposed a moratorium on the acceptance of any private gold issues, by the San Francisco Customs Office, of any fineness below .900 (or 90%). Local merchants and bankers were reluctant to accept any coinage that would not be acceptable for the payment of customs duties. The solution to this problem was the production of .900 fine fifty-dollar coins. Soon after, ten and twenty dollar pieces were being minted in substantial quantities, and the fifty-dollar "slugs" eventually became obsolete.
According to Kagin (1981), these 1852-dated pieces were actually produced in the first two months of 1853: 13,800 in January and 10,000 in February. Not surprisingly, considering the relative value of fifty dollars in the 1850s, only a fraction of those 23,800 coins still exist, the remainder having been melted long ago. As of November 2007, just 110 pieces have been certified by NGC and PCGS combined, including any possible resubmissions. Listed on page 355 of the 2008 Guide Book. (PCGS# 10019)

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