Choice AU 1860 Mormon Five Dollar
1860 $5 Mormon Five Dollar AU55 PCGS.
K-6, High R.5.
Although the earlier (1849-1850) Mormon gold coinage, produced from
California gold dust, was soon discredited as being considerably
underweight by as much as 20%, the Mormons attempted a later
coinage that was made from gold mined in Colorado. According to
Donald Kagin's Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United
States: "The last attempt at Mormon gold coinage was the striking
of a $5 denomination dated 1860 and bearing on the obverse a lion
and the newly invented Deseret alphabet, which was the basis of a
proposed language peculiar to the Mormons. The reverse displayed an
eagle and beehive under the words DESERET ASSAY OFFICE PURE GOLD.
Besides being of a superior design, these new specimens were the
first known use of the Deseret alphabet. "The occasion for the
issuance of these pieces was the discovery of gold in Colorado in
1858. The gold dust used for the new coins was from the Colorado
mines, purer than the California gold--.917 fine vs. .890 fine."
Although the 1860 coins apparently circulated at par among the
Mormon pioneers, the earlier debacle with underweight gold
coinage--and perhaps the widespread distrust and misunderstanding
with which many outsiders greeted the Mormons themselves--meant
that the coins were accepted at a discount elsewhere, of 10% to
25%. Coinage of the coins continued until non-Mormon Colorado
Governor Alfred Cumming prohibited further manufacture. Kagin says
that the Mormon gold 1860 pieces were struck between February 28
and March 9, 1861, to the extent of 472 coins. On this variety PURE
GOLD is on the right reverse border. A copper die trial (K-8, R.7)
is also known that has PURE GOLD on the left reverse border. The
present gold example offers partly lustrous greenish-yellow
surfaces that show just a few stray abrasions, including a faint
thin obverse graze near 1 o'clock.
The strike is sharp, and highpoint wear is minimal. Listed on page
365 of the 2008 Guide Book.
Population: 12 in 55, 5 finer
Ex: Milwaukee ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/07), lot 2158, which
From The Madison Collection.
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