C. Bechtler Five Dollar, Colons Obverse, MS61
(1837-42) $5 C. Bechtler Five Dollar, Colons Obverse MS61 NGC.
K-21, High R.7. This extreme rarity among Bechtler coinage is
characterized by the placement of a colon between the G in GEORGIA
and 22, and after 128 G in the center of the obverse. This device
must have been discovered early in the production run and altered
with the grammatically correct periods, as very few fives are known
with the colons. When Don Kagin published his reference on
territorial gold in 1981 he considered the Colons Obverse an R.8.
Since that time very few examples have surfaced, but enough to drop
the rarity to a more realistic High R.7 (4-6 known).
K-21, A Very Rare Bechtler Issue
This rare Bechtler five dollar is set within the larger series of Bechtler gold. Few collectors have attempted a set of these pieces, the only one we can think of in recent years being James Gray. Bechtler gold coins followed the brief issuance of Templeton Reid coins. Both were produced in response to the need for coinage from America's first gold rush in northern Georgia. The privately minted gold coins were preferred to the widely mistrusted private bank or company scrip. But opinion about Bechtler gold was sharply divided between official U.S. government positions and those of the general populace who used them. In 1841 Mint Director Robert M. Patterson pointed out that the coins were intrinsically worth less than their face value. Eckfeldt and DuBois bolstered this in 1851, but their assays stated that the five dollar coins were only deficient in value by one and a half percent. To the public in north Georgia and South Carolina this was close enough. Bechtler coinage was accepted at par and continued to circulate for at least 20 years after production ceased.
This is the only Colons variety certified in mint condition by either of the major services. The surfaces are bright overall. There are numerous small abrasions scattered over each side, but the only marks that are possible pedigree identifiers are a vertical planchet void above the 8 on the obverse, and a shallow, angling mark to the left of the 5 on the reverse. For the Bechtler specialist this is a rare opportunity to acquire this infrequently encountered variety. (NGC ID# 2B9U, PCGS# 10106)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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