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Impressive 1855 Wass Molitor Fifty Dollar, VF30

1855 $50 Wass Molitor Fifty Dollar VF30 PCGS. K-9, R.5. These fifty dollar "slugs," as they were nicknamed, were minted in large quantities by the private coinage firms of California between 1850 and 1855, although only a small fraction of the original number still exist. This 1855 product was from the only fifty dollar issue of Wass, Molitor & Co., a refining and assaying firm established by two Hungarian immigrants. Their "slugs" were round, unlike the octagonal fifty dollar coins that had emerged in large numbers from the U.S. Assay Office between 1851 and 1853.
The company had minted five and ten dollar gold coins in 1852, which were found to be of superior quality and fineness compared to similar issues from competing firms. Wass, Molitor were also praised by the San Francisco Herald for their prompt customer service. Adams quotes the Herald from November 25, 1851, saying: "It will be seen from the announcement of Wass, Molitor & Co. that the public have a prospect of being relieved from any great addition to the torrent of cumbrous slugs that has for the last nine months been inundating the country" (referring to the products of the U.S. Assay Office of Gold). Kagin comments that making change for these was so troublesome to merchants that the fifty dollar slugs were often discounted 5%. By January 8 of the following year, the same newspaper announced that the need for smaller gold coins had been met by the firm, which was issuing some five dollar pieces, and lots of tens.
This example is well struck, although Liberty's hair detail is typically flat, and the design elements are evenly positioned on the planchet. The rims are well brought up and the denticles are crisply outlined, which was not always the case for many privately minted coins. The green-gold surfaces exhibit traces of luster near the devices. Both sides of the piece are moderately abraded, indicating that it probably saw extensive circulation. Listed on page 362 of the 2008 Guide Book. (NGC ID# ANJU, PCGS# 10363)

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Auction Dates
August, 2007
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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