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Choice AU 1860 Mormon Five Dollar1860 $5 Mormon Five Dollar AU55 PCGS. K-6, High R.5. Although the earlier (1849-1850) Mormon gold coinage, produced from California gold dust, was soon discredited as being considerably underweight by as much as 20%, the Mormons attempted a later coinage that was made from gold mined in Colorado. According to Donald Kagin's Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States: "The last attempt at Mormon gold coinage was the striking of a $5 denomination dated 1860 and bearing on the obverse a lion and the newly invented Deseret alphabet, which was the basis of a proposed language peculiar to the Mormons. The reverse displayed an eagle and beehive under the words DESERET ASSAY OFFICE PURE GOLD. Besides being of a superior design, these new specimens were the first known use of the Deseret alphabet. "The occasion for the issuance of these pieces was the discovery of gold in Colorado in 1858. The gold dust used for the new coins was from the Colorado mines, purer than the California gold--.917 fine vs. .890 fine." Although the 1860 coins apparently circulated at par among the Mormon pioneers, the earlier debacle with underweight gold coinage--and perhaps the widespread distrust and misunderstanding with which many outsiders greeted the Mormons themselves--meant that the coins were accepted at a discount elsewhere, of 10% to 25%. Coinage of the coins continued until non-Mormon Colorado Governor Alfred Cumming prohibited further manufacture. Kagin says that the Mormon gold 1860 pieces were struck between February 28 and March 9, 1861, to the extent of 472 coins. On this variety PURE GOLD is on the right reverse border. A copper die trial (K-8, R.7) is also known that has PURE GOLD on the left reverse border. The present gold example offers partly lustrous greenish-yellow surfaces that show just a few stray abrasions, including a faint thin obverse graze near 1 o'clock.
The strike is sharp, and highpoint wear is minimal. Listed on page 365 of the 2008 Guide Book. Population: 12 in 55, 5 finer (11/07).
Ex: Milwaukee ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/07), lot 2158, which realized $74,750.
From The Madison Collection. (NGC ID# 2BCG, PCGS# 10268)
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