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    1851 Humbert Octagonal Fifty, XF40
    880 Thous. Type, K-5

    1851 $50 RE Humbert Fifty Dollar, Reeded Edge, 880 Thous. XF40 NGC. CAC. K-5, Low R.5. Reeded Edge, No 50 on Reverse. The Reeded Edge Humbert fifty dollar gold coins of 1851 are rare but quite a bit more available than the Lettered Edge pieces, which actually bear their date 1851 on the edge as well. But both were considered little more than assayed ingots with fifty dollars' worth of gold; they could just as well have been rectangular assayer's ingots (which were also issued during this era) and would have served the same purpose.

    The Humbert fifty dollar octagonal gold pieces remained in the collective consciousness of the people of California. Sixty-four years later they were imitated, although not widely publicized as such, when the Panama-Pacific fifties were struck, 645 of which were octagonal in shape and with a similar weight of 2.5 ounces. There were enough Humbert fifties that survived that collectors of the day "got it" and understood the retro size and shape of the Pan-Pac coins.

    Because of the size of these pieces, and their actual use in the channels of commerce, most examples show numerous rim bumps and bruises. This piece displays myriad small marks and a few rim bumps but few singular abrasions. Close examination shows several of the marks are actually planchet voids that were present at the time of striking and did not strike out with the pressure of the coining press. The devices are outlined with deeper reddish patina and contrast against the orange-gold seen over the remainder of each side. This slightly handled "slug" retains much eye appeal and historic interest.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 6J5L, PCGS# 10211)

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2014
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,064

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