Very Rare A. Bechtler Five Dollar
    128G. 22C., K-28, AU50

    (1837-42) $5 A. Bechtler Five Dollar, 128G. 22C. AU50 NGC. K-28, R.6. The Bechtler family, "Alt Christoph," as Breen calls him, "Old Christoph," and his nephew (also named Christoph, later anglicized to Christopher) and sons August and Karl emigrated from Germany to Philadelphia in 1829, setting up a clock and watch repair shop. Apparently as a result of the widespread publicity surrounding the gold strikes in North Georgia and North Carolina, they settled around 1830 in Rutherford County, North Carolina, where they struck a series of well-accepted gold coins. They enjoyed a monopoly (along with Templeton Reid in Georgia) on Southern gold coinage until 1838, when the United States opened its first branch mints, after which the Bechtler coinage slowed. Alt Christoph gave the business to his son August in 1840, dying two years later. August moved the business to downtown Rutherfordton, where he produced large quantities of gold dollars between 1842 and his own death in 1846. Christopher Jr., the nephew, then inherited the business, ceasing production only in 1849 or 1850. The Bechtler gold products circulated side by side with the federal issues until well after the Civil War.
    This five dollar piece was at one time considered among the rarest of the Bechtler issues, ranked as R.8--"unique or nearly so"-- in Kagin's reference. The coin says CAROLINA GOLD rather than GEORGIA GOLD as on the more common K-23 five dollar piece, and A. BECHTLER rather than C. BECHTLER. The 128G. 22C. is in the center of the obverse. In the more than 25 years since Kagin published his reference, about 20 pieces in all grades, less an unknown number of duplications, now appear in the combined NGC/PCGS population totals. In AU50 this is one of three examples certified at PCGS, with seven coins finer (5/08).
    The outer devices are softly struck on both obverse and reverse. We have not seen enough of these to know if this is common to all K-28 pieces. But the coin may be most easily graded by the remaining prooflikeness that surrounds the lettering. A "pinched" appearance is seen on the obverse rim at 3 and 9 o'clock, a striking defect of unknown origin. The yellow-gold surfaces have taken on just the slightest accent of reddish patina, and there are no mentionable post-striking defects. Listed on page 360 of the 2009 Guide Book. (NGC ID# 2B9Z, PCGS# 10043)

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

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    26th-29th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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