Choice AU 1848 CAL. Quarter Eagle
1848 $2 1/2 CAL. AU55 NGC. A scant 1,389 CAL quarter eagles
were minted in 1848, from the first shipment of gold to reach the
Philadelphia Mint from the newly-discovered California gold fields.
California had only recently come under the jurisdiction of the
United States, after the Mexican War of 1846, and the territory was
still under the authority of a military governor. The shipment of
230 ounces of gold was sent by Col. R.B. Mason, the military
governor, to Secretary of War William A. Marcy. Marcy delivered the
bullion to the Mint, with instructions to coin the specially marked
quarter eagles to commemorate the important historic events
unfolding in the Far West.
Historic Commemorative Issue
Only 1,389 Pieces Struck
The new issue was immediately popular with both numismatists and the general public. An example was featured in the Dr. Lewis Roper Collection (Moses Thomas, 2/1851), generally considered to be the first all-coin auction held in the United States. Dr. Joel Orosz has discovered that Roper was actually a '49er himself. Perhaps the appearance of this important commemorative issue helped influence him to make the arduous journey to the gold fields.
Experts estimate fewer than 75 examples of the CAL quarter eagle survive today in all grades. Coins in Choice AU condition are very scarce. Current population data reveals NGC has certified only four coins in AU55, with 29 finer, while PCGS has graded six Choice AU specimens, with 28 finer (11/11).
The present coin is an attractive Choice AU example, with vivid orange-gold surfaces and reflective, prooflike fields. The strike details are sharp throughout, and the eye appeal is extraordinary. The CAL quarter eagle is listed as one of the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth.(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 25HA, PCGS# 7749)
Weight: 4.18 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
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