Important Choice AU Miners' Bank Ten Dollar(1849) $10 Miners' Bank Ten Dollar AU55 PCGS. K-1, R.6. Plain or normal border, raised rim. The Miners' Bank was an early gold rush San Francisco business. The firm issued one, three, and five dollar notes on March 1, 1849, and later issued undated fractional denominations. Ten dollar gold pieces were struck prior to August 9, 1849, since the firm's president and cashier, Stephen A. Wright and Samuel Haight, unsuccessfully petitioned the customs collectors on that date to accept their coins. The New Orleans Mint assayed examples of the ten dollar coins on October 16 of that year. The firm was dissolved on January 14, 1850.
Along with other 1849 private gold coiners, with the exception of Moffat & Co., the Miners' Bank coins were discredited by local assays. An April 11, 1850 report in the Alta California newspaper noted: "Brokers refuse to touch it at less than 20 percent discount." Most were eventually melted by bankers and other arbitragers, often with their alloy converted to U.S. Assay Office "slugs."
Two different varieties were produced. Specialists believe the orange-gold (copper alloy) pieces (Kagin 1) were die trials produced in the east, while the green-gold (silver alloy) pieces (Kagin 2) were struck in native California gold. Donald Kagin suggests the Kagin-1 coins were struck with a collar, after which the obverse and reverse dies were transported to California, where the Kagin-2 coins were struck without a collar.
The present piece is well struck and exhibits considerable bright luster. No marks are consequential. An identifier is provided by a mint-produced lintmark on each side of the left (facing) wing near the wingtip. The number of territorial gold type collectors vastly exceeds the number of surviving Miner's Bank gold pieces. Listed on page 357 of the 2008 Guide Book. Population: 4 in 55, 5 finer (11/07).
Ex: American Numismatic Rarities, 8/06, lot 1127, which realized $63,250.
From The Madison Collection. (NGC ID# 2BBD, PCGS# 10236)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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