Welcome Sign-In | Register
Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
includes Buyer's Premium (BP) 


Unique Clark, Gruber & Co. $20 Struck Over an 1853 U.S. Assay Office $20--Possible Set-Up Piece

1861 $20 Clark, Gruber & Co. Twenty Dollar (K-8) Struck Over an 1853 U.S. Assay Office Twenty Dollar (K-19) MS62 PCGS. New Kagin designation K-13d (see page 361 of pattern section). Brilliant prooflike surfaces with the center devices sharp and weakness around the edges.
This unique piece was unknown to us until a couple of years ago. We now know of five overstruck Clark Gruber & Co. Twenties. In the upcoming second edition of Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States, we plan to list all of these pieces in the pattern section and list them as Set-Up Pieces. This specimen will have the designation 13d. The other known pieces are:
13. Struck over an 1852 U.S. $20;
13a. Struck over an 1857-S U.S. $20;
13b. Struck over an 1849 U.S. $10;
13c. Struck over an 1850 U.S. $20.
Originally we believed that these specimens were overstruck in Philadelphia by the firm who designed the dies--the jewelers Bailey & Company. After further research and discussions with other numismatists, including John Dannreuther of the Professional Coin Grading Service, we now believe that these were struck in Colorado by Clark, Gruber & Co. to check the force of the striking and the spacing of the dies. This would account for the variance of the pressure and sharpness of the impressions. These Set-Up pieces are not unlike other similar types such as those seen for Morgan Dollars, Kennedy Half Dollars, and others. Before striking the regular gold blanks, which would have been considered quite precious even then, these test or trial strikings allowed the dies to first be properly aligned and avoid errors. They are recognizable because their central area is well to fully struck, while the periphery is weak or missing.
Evidently the coiners would take whatever gold coins they had on hand to test the new dies. On this specimen, the striking by the 1861 Clark dies on the obverse (tablet side) of the 1853 Assay Office $20 was not properly aligned causing parts of the host coin to appear as if were over the 1861 impression. While the central part of the Clark, Gruber Double Eagle is well struck (thus causing the flattened host Assay twenty), its periphery is not. This results in an odd looking phenomenon for the date and stars; the date has only a weak top half and the stars are only partially impressed. Similarly, the host Assay twenty details are rounded and not flattened there, as the Clark, Gruber dies did not fully impress those areas.
This also leads to the illusion that the Assay twenty is struck over the Clark, Gruber piece as the Assay detail is on "top" of the date and star detail of the Clark, Gruber since these areas were not flattened in the minting process. (These areas of the host Assay twenty would be just as flat as its central area and fields, if the date and stars area of the die had been fully struck with properly spaced dies.) There also are two obvious sets of denticles apparent from both impressions. This is a most unusual, interesting, and historic Gold Rush coin that represents true pioneer ingenuity in creating a medium of exchange in the underdeveloped West. Unique.
From The Estate of Jack L. Klausen. (NGC ID# ANK7, PCGS# 10142)

View all of [The Estate of Jack L. Klausen ]

Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: (view shipping information)

Sales Tax information  | PCGS Guarantee of Grade and Authenticity  |  Terms and Conditions

Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

Glossary of Terms

Auction Info

Auction Dates
September, 2002
26th-28th Thursday-Saturday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 525

Buyer's Premium per Lot:
15% of the successful bid (minimum $6) per lot.

Heritage membership

Join Now - It's Free

  1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
  2. Bid online
  3. Free Collector newsletter
  4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
  5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
Consign now
  • Cash Advances
  • More Bidders
  • Trusted Experts
  • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
Only 9 days left to consign to the 2016 December 8 - 9 World Coins Signature Auction - Hong Kong!

Learn about consigning with us

Thanks again for all of your wonderful work; much of which has been far beyond the call of duty!
L.S.J. ,
Houston, TX
View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

Video tutorial

Getting the most out of search

Recent auctions

2016 September 9 - 12 The Twelve Oaks Collection Signature Auction
2016 September 9 - 12 The Twelve Oaks Collection Signature Auction
REALIZED $8,572,049
2016 September 8 - 13 Long Beach Expo World Coins & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
2016 September 8 - 13 Long Beach Expo World Coins & Ancient Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
REALIZED $4,500,427
2016 September 8 - 12 Long Beach Expo World Currency Signature Auction - Long Beach
2016 September 8 - 12 Long Beach Expo World Currency Signature Auction - Long Beach
REALIZED $1,023,060

© 2016 Heritage Auctions | All Rights Reserved