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1848 $2 1/2 CAL.

Image Information

Type Coin
Title 1848 $2 1/2 CAL.
Date 1848
Grade AU50
Service NGC
Service Catalog # 7749
Denomination 2 1/2

1848 $2 1/2 CAL. -- Improperly Cleaned -- NGC Details. AU. Colonel R. B. Mason served as military governor of California during the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill. Early on, he saw the need to document the scope and significance of the recent gold discoveries, both in word and with samples of physical gold. Together with a military party that included then-Lieutenant William Tecumseh Sherman, 13 documented packets of gold were personally gathered by Col. Mason and his troops from the Sutter's Mill area - a total of approximately 230 ounces. One copy of Col. Mason's report -- ghost-written in part by Lieutenant Sherman -- was sent overland to the War Office in Washington City. Another copy accompanied the gold samples, sent the ocean route by courier, which arrived in Washington on December 7, 1848, just after President Polk's statements to Congress announcing the discovery of California gold. Secretary of War W .L. Marcy ordered the gold samples to be assayed and coined into specially marked quarter eagles. Mint Director Robert M. Patterson received the gold on December 15 and delivered the requested coinage on January 5, 1849. A total of $3,474.64 in coins (1,389 quarter eagles and a remainder of $2.14) plus two small bars of gold was the yield. Each of the quarter eagles was imprinted at the Mint (possibly while still in the dies) with the incuse letters CAL. beneath TES in STATES from a curved, prepared punch. The 1848 CAL. quarter eagle remains one of the most celebrated gold coins of the entire federal series. The simplicity of the CAL. counterstamp understates the historic significance of the issue. This example is lightly cleaned yet retains some of its original prooflike flash across the sharply struck, brassy-gold surfaces. A few faint hairlines and light wear are grade-consistent. Perhaps as few as 75 CAL. quarter eagles survive in all grades. Ex: "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Eric P. Newman; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.

Heritage Newman IX, November 2017, lot 15101, realized $33600. Images and description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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Image Collection Eric P. Newman Collection, Part IX
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