Mint State C. Bechtler Five, K-15(1831-34) $5 C. Bechtler Five Dollar, 150G. 20C. MS62 PCGS. K-15, R.7. The Rarity-7 rating assigned by Don Kagin indicates that not more than 12 examples were known to him a quarter century ago when Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States was published in 1981. Today, it is probably accurate to suggest that a few more are known, but it is still reasonable to consider this variety to be high in the Rarity-6 range with a total population not exceeding 18 coins in all grades. Of these, only two or three examples qualify as Mint State, and this piece is probably the finest known. In the last 15 years, we have handled just one other Mint State example, an NGC MS62 that is much less appealing than this piece. The example offered here is the only MS62 coin certified by PCGS, with none graded finer.
Christopher Bechtler began coining gold pieces in Rutherford County, North Carolina in 1831, and produced more than 2 million dollars worth of gold coins during the next ten years. Gold mined in North Carolina and Georgia was brought to their facility for coinage, prior to (and after) the establishment of the Federal branch mints in Charlotte and Dahlonega. The five dollar pieces were coined in varying weights from 128 grains to 150 grains, and purity from 20 carats to 22 carats. Although different combinations of weight and purity were used, each Bechtler five dollar piece contained about five cents more gold than the Federal issues.
The earliest pieces, such as this example, were coined at the so-called "old tenor" standard of pre-1834 Federal gold coins, thus met the same fate. Most were melted because the value of the gold was more than the face value. The few survivors are highly coveted by collectors today. This piece is a remarkable example with prooflike green-gold surfaces and considerable rose toning. It is sharply struck and nicely centered with full obverse and reverse borders. The surfaces have a few typical blemishes on both sides that are of little overall consequence. The exceptional eye appeal is immediately obvious. Listed on page 349 of the 2008 Guide Book.
From The Stephen L. Schechter Collection of Bechtler Territorial Gold. (NGC ID# 2B9L, PCGS# 10118)
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