1849 Moffat Ten--Perhaps a Specimen Strike

    1849 $10 Moffat & Co. Ten Dollar, "Ten Dol." MS 62 PCGS. Possible Specimen Striking. K-6a, High R.5. The firm of Moffat & Co. was the most respected private minter in Gold Rush California. Their coins passed at par with regular issue United States coinage; and in fact, when assayed, Moffat gold coins rendered a higher intrinsic value than their face value.
    Moffat tens are usually found weakly struck and heavily worn. Liberty's hair detail is always softly defined. Personal inspection of this piece will undoubtedly bring up the question of this piece's special striking status. Was it intended as a specimen? We think it was. Is it a proof in the traditional sense? No.
    Close examination reveals that this piece was obviously struck in August 1849, shortly after Moffat & Co. began striking the ten dollar denomination. The design elements are uncommonly bold with full detail present in all areas. To emphasize, that means every hair detail is fully delineated, every feather on the eagle is complete, and every star radial is sharp. Additionally, the fields on both sides are prooflike. However, the coin does not compare to proofs struck by the federal government of the period, and thus we hesitate to call it one. But it is obvious that special care was taken in the production of this piece from both the striking details and reflective fields. One can also infer from its high grade that this coin was specially preserved over the years (therefore specially regarded by its owners), as most Moffat tens are not found in high grades. This is the plate coin in Don Kagin's book Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States, page 296. It is easily identifiable as such by a small mark in the left field just out from the nose of Liberty and another small nick in the left obverse field below the chin. (NGC ID# ANJ8, PCGS# 10246)

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    Auction Dates
    May-Jun, 2001
    31st-2nd Thursday-Saturday
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