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1860 Clark, Gruber Five Dollar, K-2, MS64
Only Two Finer at PCGS

1860 $5 Clark, Gruber & Co. Five Dollar MS64 PCGS. CAC. K-2, R.4. In order to help finance the heavy expenses for pursuing the long, protracted Civil War -- which was not the easy, short victory it was assumed to be at the war's outset in April 1861 -- by December of that same year, some Eastern banks had suspended specie payments. In other words, they discontinued paying out gold coins at par with paper money. By December 30, the suspension was essentially universal.

The American populace reacted with the typical mixture of fear and greed. Gold coins disappeared from circulation, followed by silver coins which were hoarded, then even copper coinage vanished from commerce by summer 1862. Even though Clark, Gruber struck more than a half-million dollars' worth of gold coinage in Colorado, there, too, the favored gold coinage was supplemented by paper currency from various private issuers (including Clark, Gruber), unassayed gold dust (a continuing source of aggravation to local merchants and consumers, and the reason for the inflow of private coiners such as Clark, Gruber in the first place). Also in circulation during the Civil War were the filthy "shinplasters" or fractional currency notes, along with encased postage stamps, Civil War store cards and merchant tokens -- private tokens issued by merchants and backed, ideally, by their putative face value in goods at the merchants' place of business.

The 1860 half eagles of Clark, Gruber resemble the Liberty Head federal coinage of the same period, but Liberty's headband reads CLARK & CO. on the obverse, and the reverse periphery PIKE'S PEAK GOLD DENVER / FIVE D. This near-Gem example is among the few finest survivors, one of two in this grade at PCGS with two finer (6/13). This piece is highly lustrous, alternating green-gold and orange-gold with a sharp strike and only a few minor contact marks amid bold eye appeal. A great coin for collectors of Territorial gold. Listed on page 394 of the 2014 Guide Book.
Ex: Madison Collection / FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2008), lot 3436.
From The Warsaw Collection. (NGC ID# ANJZ, PCGS# 10136)

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Auction Dates
August, 2013
8th-10th Thursday-Saturday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
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