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    Glittering MS65 1860 Clark, Gruber Quarter Eagle

    1860 $2 1/2 Clark, Gruber & Co. Quarter Eagle MS65 NGC. K-1, R.4. The territory (later state) of Colorado has seen its fate closely intertwined with gold and silver throughout its recent history. Pioneers traveling to Deseret, Oregon, or Gold Rush California had to avoid the Continental Divide that bisects the state, with more than 500 mountain peaks each rising above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet), instead taking a northern route, following the North Platte and Sweetwater rivers through Wyoming. Colorado saw its own influx of fortune-seekers beginning in July 1858, when the glittering metal was discovered in western Kansas along the South Platte River, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. Although the alluvial gold deposits in the rivers and streams rapidly played out, the miners found far more productive deposits of gold, silver, and other minerals in the bedrock of the mountains nearby. A major strike of silver near Leadville in 1878 led to a silver rush, and the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 and its 1893 repeal respectively invigorated and enervated the state's economy.
    Even a successful American opera in the standard repertory tells of the rise and fall of Colorado gold and silver mining. The Ballad of Baby Doe by composer Douglas Moore tells the story of Elizabeth "Baby" Doe Tabor and her lifelong love for silver king Horace Tabor, owner of the Matchless Mine. The work includes a scene depicting presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan making his famous "Cross of Gold" speech decrying the gold standard, and Baby Doe's lovely aria "Gold is a fine thing for those who admire it / Gold is like the sun / But I am a child of the moon, and silver / Silver is the metal of the moon." The opera premiered in 1956 at the Central City (Colorado) Opera. Today place names such as Leadville, Golden, La Plata, Gypsum, Silverton, Silver Plume, and Coal Creek bear mute testimony to Colorado's mineral riches.
    The 1860 Clark, Gruber quarter eagle, produced during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, greatly resembles the federal-style issue of the same era, except that CLARK & CO. substitutes for LIBERTY on the coronet. The date features a big, round 0 that more resembles an O, and the denomination on the reverse also shows a majuscule D of impressive proportions. The reverse legend reads PIKE'S PEAK GOLD.
    This is a remarkable Clark, Gruber quarter eagle. The surfaces have a pronounced greenish-yellow color and bright, softly frosted mint luster. The centers of each side are a bit softly defined, but this is not visually distracting. There also are no obvious or distracting abrasions present. In MS65 this piece is one of only two so graded at NGC, with none finer (2/09). The highest pieces at PCGS are five MS63 coins. Listed on page 375 of the 2009 Guide Book. (NGC ID# ANJX, PCGS# 10135)

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2009
    28th-31st Saturday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,112

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