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    Description

    1849 Mormon Five Dollar, AU58
    K-2, Early Deseret Issue

    1849 $5 Mormon Five Dollar AU58 NGC. K-2, R.5. Some of the earliest private gold coinage brought about by the discovery of gold in California in 1848, occurred not in California, but in Salt Lake City, Utah. Members of the Mormon Battalion returning from the Mexican War to the Salt Lake City valley brought a significant amount of gold dust that they had acquired during their journey through gold-rich California. The gold was welcomed as a medium of exchange in the isolated Deseret community, and eventually the dust began to be deposited into the treasury of the Mormon Church through tithing. Brigham Young soon established a mint in Salt Lake City to coin the gold and enlisted John Kay, a blacksmith who had learned his trade in England years before, to forge dies.

    Designs for the coinage were engraved with an all-seeing eye on the obverse, and clasped hands representing unity on the reverse. The obverse border legend was inscribed HOLINESS TO THE LORD, while the reverse legends included the denomination and the abbreviation G.S.L.C.P.G., meaning Great Salt Lake City Pure Gold.

    The Deseret mint produced the bulk of its gold coinage in 1849, with two and a half, five, ten, and twenty dollar denominations. The coins were accepted freely within the Salt Lake City valley, but were only accepted at a steep discount in other regions due to assays in those regions that showed the Mormon gold pieces to be underweight and of inferior fineness compared to the standard held by the United States Mint and many private assayers in the San Francisco Bay area.

    Today, all Mormon gold, regardless of date or denomination, is scarce to rare. The 1849 five dollar piece is a rarity in AU and finer condition, making this near-Mint example especially important. Each side is satiny and smooth, yielding partial luster and only trivial surface friction. Listed on page 414 of the 2020 Guide Book. Census: 9 in 58 (1 in 58 ), 5 finer (11/19). (NGC ID# 2BCE, PCGS# 10262)


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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2020
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 22
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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