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    Description

    Exceedingly Rare 1849 Miners Bank Ten Dollar Struck in Silver Alloy, K-2

    Among the first coiners in California was Miners, Bank, an outgrowth of the many business interests of Stephen A. Wright and Samuel W. Haight in San Francisco. These partners operated a dry goods establishment, exchange house, bank, and ultimately issued paper money and gold coins. By July 1849 Miners Bank were striking coins bearing a Federal eagle on the obverse. These coins exist in both red-gold with a copper alloy believed struck in the East to test the dies, and in a green-tinged gold that is alloyed with silver, typical of native California ores. Only $10 denominations were struck.
    Assays publicized by muckraker publisher James King, revealed the Miners Bank $10 coins were worth only $9.87 and hysterical discounting followed with the Alta California
    reporting, "The issue of the Miners Bank is a drug on the market. Brokers refuse to take it at less than 20 per cent discount." As a result all issues are quite scarce.

    (1849) $10 Miners Bank Ten Dollar AU50 PCGS. Silver Alloy. K-2, R.6. Stephen A. Wright and Samuel W. Hait, respectively president and cashier of Miners Bank, first issued paper money in California dated March 1, 1849. On July 2 of the same year, the two men announced the formation of Wright & Co., Exchange Brokers and opened an office on the corner of Washington and Kearny Streets, Portsmouth Square, San Francisco. The company requested permission from the local customs collector to issue Five and Ten Dollar gold coins, but their proposal was rejected. Nevertheless, Wright and Hait proceeded with their plans for coinage, and as early as October 16, 1849 at least one Miners Bank Ten Dollar found its way to the New Orleans Mint for assay. (The company appears to have dropped the idea of coining Five Dollar pieces.) Although assay reports from the Louisiana branch mint, as well as others from the Philadelphia Mint, showed that the average value of a Miners Bank Ten was a remarkably high $9.87, the firm's respectability as a coinage institution suffered greatly after introduction of a bill in the California Senate in January 1850 that forced all private coiners to redeem their coins in U.S. currency. A subsequent bill reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 6 prevented coinage by individuals and resulted in a panic in California. Merchants and businessmen started to shun private gold coins, particularly those of the Miners Bank, which had been overvalued since their introduction into economic channels. In April 1850, the Alta California published a statement that confirmed the end of widespread acceptability for the Miners Bank gold coins: "The issue of the Miners Bank is a drug on the market. Brokers refuse to touch it at less than 20 per cent discount."
    The present example was struck in gold alloyed with silver. This is the so-called "Crimped Edge" variety that was struck from a different, smaller collar that caused the rims to be somewhat beveled. Both sides display bright green-gold color with some copper-russet overtones and appreciable reflectivity. Well struck with scattered small and moderate abrasions seen on both sides; however, the only worthwhile pedigree markers are a few small obverse spots in the field below the eagle's left (facing) wing. Housed in a PCGS Regency presentation holder. Listed on page 293 of the 2002 Guide Book.
    Notes on the slab of this coin, presumably written by the late Jack Klausen, state: "Possibly finest known. Only four known--way underpriced in Red Book." When Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States was first published in 1981, it was thought that this variety was much rarer than it is now known to be. It had an R-8 rarity factor at that time, but today we believe this variety to be just slightly scarcer--a High Rarity-6. Nevertheless, it is not often that such pieces are available.
    From The Estate of Jack L. Klausen. (NGC ID# 2BBD, PCGS# 10236)


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

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2002
    26th-28th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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