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    Description

    1851 Humbert Fifty Dollar, AU58
    K-2, 880 Thous., Lettered Edge

    1851 $50 LE Humbert Fifty Dollar, Lettered Edge, 880 Thous. AU58 NGC. K-2, R.5. Lettered edge, no 50 on reverse. The octagonal fifty dollar "coins" were the lowest value ingots initially authorized for the U.S. Assay Office of Gold in San Francisco to produce, established by congressional legislation on September 30, 1850. Large-size ingots were authorized in values up to $10,000, but it is not known whether all authorized "denominations" were produced. In Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States, Don Kagin notes that records compiled by Augustus Humbert (U.S. Assayer for the San Francisco Office) indicate "that only $50, $500, and $1,000 ingots were issued for general use."

    The private San Francisco firm Moffat & Co., one of the few well-respected private assayers of the time, acquired the government's coinage contract to operate the U.S. Assay Office. Moffat & Co. ceased operations under its own banner and relocated to a new building on Montgomery Street to produce the federal ingots. The coins were well received by merchants and traders, despite reservations held by local newspapers who would have preferred a full-fledged federal branch mint.

    The earliest octagonal fifty dollar "slugs" struck by the U.S. Assay Office under Moffat & Co. bore a lettered edge, set with punches that read: "AUGUSTUS HUMBERT UNITED STATES ASSAYER OF GOLD CALIFORNIA 1851." Later issues featured a reeded edge with the date and assayer descriptions relocated to the obverse peripheries.

    Six Lettered Edge varieties are listed in the Kagin reference, two of which are unique and one is unconfirmed to exist. Of the remaining three, Kagin-2 is distinctive for omitting the "50" stamp from the center of the reverse. The obverse is similar to the Kagin-1 variety, showing the fineness as: 880 THOUS.

    This Kagin-2 coin displays near-Mint sharpness with light wear over the high points of the devices. The protected fields retain subtle semireflective luster, while scattered light abrasions pass by with little impact. Straw-gold color is warm and pleasing.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# ANH3, PCGS# 10196)


    View Certification Details from NGC

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