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    Description

    Pleasing Near-Mint State 1850 Mormon Five Dollar

    1850 $5 Mormon Five Dollar AU58 NGC. K-5, High R.5. Obverse: TO THE LORD HOLINESS encircles the border with a three point crown--perhaps a simplified rendition of a Phrygian cap or miter, the emblem of Mormon priesthood--floats above a halo and the all-seeing eye of Jehovah. The reverse features a pair of clasped hands with G.S.L.C.P.G. (Great Salt Lake City Pure Gold) at the upper periphery and FIVE DOLLARS below. The date, 1850, occupies the lower field. While the aforementioned design motif is familiar to collectors of territorial gold coinage, researcher Don Kagin unveils two pieces of contemporary documentation in his Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States (1981) that raises questions yet to be answered. The following eyewitness accounts are recounted in his reference on the subject:

    On December 13, 1848: "At home and at the office where I saw our new gold coin which is perfectly plain only has the price 10 dollars 50 cents on it." And on July 17, 1849: "Mormons say they have plenty of gold near them, have established a Mint of their own. I have seen the coin, vignette, on one side a mountain and an eye, on the other a sea gull. They say the Lord sent millions of sea gulls last year to destroy the crickets. Before they came, the valley was filled with them."

    Neither description is an accurate portrayal of the Mormon gold issues familiar to numismatists of our time. No variety exists with a denomination of TEN DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS, although that was the price charged for the first ten dollar pieces, so that entry is more easily explained. The second account is less understandable. Kagin postulates that the mountain "was a mistaken Phrygian crown, and the seagull, clasped hands." The hand design is clear and well executed on all extant Mormon gold pieces, leaving most to wonder if another design was actually issued, yet failed to survive.
    The presently offered coin is one of approximately 100 1850 Mormon half eagles known to exist, with most being in circulated condition. In fact, NGC and PCGS combined have certified only five Mint State examples, with none grading above the MS61 level (9/08). Rich red-gold patination over pleasing surfaces defines this piece, which served briefly in the commerce of the Territory of Deseret, now modern day Utah. Slight rim weakness on both sides is an artifact of the minting process and not to be confused as wear.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 6J6X, PCGS# 10265)


    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2008
    23rd-24th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
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