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    Description

    1848 'CAL.' Quarter Eagle, AU Details
    First United States 'Commemorative' Coin

    1848 $2 1/2 CAL. -- Plugged -- PCGS Genuine. AU Details. In December 1848, the military governor of California, Colonel R.B. Mason, shipped approximately 230 ounces of newly mined gold from the California mines to Secretary of War, William L. Marcy, who transferred the shipment to Mint Director, Robert M. Patterson, to be used for the production of a number of special quarter eagles commemorating what would one day be viewed as the most famous gold rush in American history. Patterson produced 1,389 quarter eagles with the California gold, and each was hand-stamped with a special CAL. punch, creating what many numismatists herald as the first United States commemorative coin.

    The CAL. notation was apparently punched into each coin while it still rested in the die, as no flattening of the obverse design elements from the blow is observed on any known specimens. Only one punch was used, and while its placement in relation to the surrounding design elements varies slightly, the orientation of the letters CAL. in relation to each other is identical on all genuine pieces.

    Survival estimates vary, though Garrett and Guth suggest fewer than 75 examples are extant. Directly linked to the famous California Gold Rush, the 1848 CAL. quarter eagle is among the most sought-after gold coins in American numismatics, ranking at number 37 in the third edition of Garrett and Guth's 100 Greatest U.S. Coins.

    This representative exhibits well-defined design elements, with even green-gold color. Only slight evidence of whizzing is seen, the effect being uniformly lackluster surfaces and effacing nearly all surface abrasions, and the plug in the right reverse field is well-masked. A still-pleasing example of this scarce, historically significant quarter eagle.
    From The Wasatch Collection of Liberty Quarter Eagles.


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Wasatch Collection of Liberty Quarter Eagles ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Oct-Nov, 2016
    31st-2nd Monday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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