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Lot 3463

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 3463
Date 1852
Side obverse
Grade 63
Service NGC
Service Catalog # 10001
Denomination $10
Description 1852 $10 Assay Office Ten Dollar MS63 NGC. CAC. K-12a, R.4. The United States Assay office of Gold continued the government contract to strike gold coinage in California after its predecessor firm of Moffat & Co. was dissolved on February 14, 1852. The company continued to issue coins in ten, twenty, and fifty dollar denominations, in either .884 or .887 fineness. This coinage adequately met the needs of the local economy until late summer of 1852, when a federal law was passed that required the customs collector to refuse any coin of less than .900 fineness in payment of customs duties. The ten dollar pieces were issued in several varieties, with this coin representing the scarce K-12a variety, identified by the position of the O in OFFICE directly below the N in UNITED, and strong beads around the reverse border. Most of the K-12a coins were promptly turned in for reminting into coins of higher fineness that would satisfy the requirements of the new legislation. As a result, the K-12a is scarce in today's market, but some high-quality examples have survived, possibly because the issue only circulated readily for a short time. An early auction appearance of the Assay Office ten dollar piece was in lot 213 of the Bruce Cartwright Collection (Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge, 6/1907): {blockquote}"Ten-Dollar Piece, 1852, Eagle with shield and ribbon inscribed LIBERTY, upon a rock, 884 THOUS on a ribbon above; R in an oblong compartment UNITED STATES ASSAY OFFICE OF GOLD SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA 1852, very fine."{/blockquote} Cartwright was a collector who lived in the exotic location of Honolulu, Hawaii. It is interesting to see how far the Assay Office coins traveled in the short time they were in circulation, as examples have turned up in collections as far away as England (see Sotheby's Murdoch Collection of 7/1903). The present coin is an attractive Select example with sharp definition on all design elements and vibrant mint luster throughout. The pleasing yellow-gold surfaces, with a few hints of peach at the peripheries, show only minor signs of contact. A die crack shows on the obverse from the rim, through the lower part of the letters in TEN, continuing on through the top of the letters in UNIT. A network of spidery cracks is also evident on the left reverse, among the letters in the legend. NGC has certified only this single coin in MS63, with three finer examples in MS64 (8/14). Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $49937.50. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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