1851 Humbert Fifty, 880 Thous., K-5
1851 $50 RE Humbert Fifty Dollar, Reeded Edge, 880 Thous. XF40
NGC. K-5, Low R.5. The Moffat-Humbert-U.S. Assay Office fifty
dollar gold pieces, despite their brief period of issuance -- only
two years in 1851-52, with an emergency coinage early in 1853 --
showed a remarkable technological evolution. The first 1851 fifty
dollar slugs were hand-lettered and -dated on their edges and
produced from modular dies with blanks for the face value, i.e.
(blank) D (blank) C for dollars and cents, allowing the
coiner/assayer the option of producing any odd amount by
hand-punching the dies with the proper numerals. However, only the
even fifty dollar denomination is known of this early variety.
XF, Historic Second-Generation Slug
The next two 1851-dated fifties showed reeded edges and came in finenesses of .880 or .887. By the time of the 1852 U.S. Assay Office of Gold fifties (some made in 1853), the firm was producing an average of $65,000/month in gold coinage, including lower denominations.
This 1851 880 Thous. fifty is thus part of the second generation of Humbert-Assay Office coinage. At the XF grade level, this piece is a bit higher-grade than the typical survivor, although the grade range for known survivors is fairly wide. A few rim bumps appear on this piece, a common occurrence for such soft, heavy coins. The surfaces are medium yellow-gold with pinkish outlines on the devices and some faint luster remaining. A nice example without any overly distracting abrasions. Listed on page 368 of the 2012 Guide Book. (NGC ID# ANH8, PCGS# 10211)
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