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    Eye-Appealing C. Bechtler Five Dollar, 140G. 20C
    Very Rare RUTHERF. Variant, AU55

    (1834-37) $5 C. Bechtler Five Dollar, 140G. 20C RUTHERF. AU55 NGC. K-18, R.6. Plain Edge. The Bechtler family made its first gold coins--gold dollars, quarter eagles, and half eagles--in 1831, predating the U.S. Mint by some 18 years. In 1834, when the melt value of federal gold coins exceeded its face value, the gold content was adjusted, and gold coins actually began circulating for the first time in many years, rather than being hoarded or melted. Treasury officials advised the Mint to put the date of the authorizing legislation on the federal coins, but they were redesigned instead. Christopher Bechtler chose a different path, putting the date on the family coinage but keeping the familiar appearance that helped ensure their trusted status and circulation in the local economy.
    There are several variants of the 1834-37 five dollars, including reeded edge and plain edge varieties. This is an example of the rarer K-18 variant, with 20 close to CARATS and plain edge, but RUTHERF. is abbreviated rather than spelled out. Given the current certified populations, we would call this at least R.6 (13-30 pieces known) rather than the R.7 ranking Don Kagin assigned in 1981. This piece is also in spectacular condition. The still-lustrous greenish-gold surfaces are remarkably clean and free of singular abrasions, with some areas of prooflikeness around the peripheral lettering and some hazy smoky-gold patina on the obverse. Both sides, however, have an overall frosty appearance and generous eye appeal. A loupe reveals only tiny ticks and contact marks consistent with a short stay in circulation. In AU55 this is one of three pieces of the variety so graded at NGC, with eight coins finer (8/08). The PCGS certified figures do not clearly distinguish between the 140G. 20C varieties, so we consider them irrelevant. Listed on page 359 of the 2009 Guide Book.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 2B9R, PCGS# 10112)

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2008
    17th-21st Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 682

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