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Lot
5746

1852 $50 Assay Office Fifty Dollar, 900 Thous. AU58 NGC. K-14, R.5+. Just when all seemed to be fine in San Francisco, and ...

2006 August Denver, CO Signature & Platinum Night Auction #414

 
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Auction Ended On: Aug 14, 2006
Item Activity: 8 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Denver, CO
Description:
Important 900 Fine 1852 U.S. Assay Office Slug
1852 $50 Assay Office Fifty Dollar, 900 Thous. AU58 NGC. K-14, R.5+. Just when all seemed to be fine in San Francisco, and it appeared that everyone would live happily ever after, a problem arose. On August 31, 1852, Congress passed the Civil and Diplomatic Bill, which included an amendment stating that customs officers could no longer accept payment with coins unless they contained 900 fine gold. All of the slugs to date had been issued in 880 fine or 887 fine gold, thus immediately became illegal for customs payments. The new law specifically stated that acceptable coins had to conform to the Mint Act of January 1837, stating that coinage metal had to be 900 fine, with alloy containing not more than half silver and half copper. As native California gold was alloyed mostly with silver, and copper was extremely rare on the West Coast, it would be virtually impossible to comply with this law. San Francisco customs collector T. Butler King apparently overlooked the silver to copper ratio requirement and accepted 900 fine gold coinage, even if it contained too much silver and not enough copper.
This is a wonderful slug with attractive green-gold surfaces and traces of pale orange toning. Like others in the present sale, it is lightly worn on the highpoints, and yet the surfaces are excellent quality. It is sharply struck and has few detrimental problems. Listed on page 351 of the 2007 Guide Book.
From The Long Beach Family Collection. (PCGS# 10019)

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