||1849 $10 Moffat & Co. Ten Dollar, "Ten Dol." AU55 NGC. K-6b, R.7. Moffat & Co. was probably the most respected private mint operating in California during the Gold Rush period, and the Moffat coins were widely accepted at par with federal issues. The firm struck large numbers of five and ten dollar coins in 1849 and 1850, before securing the government contract to act as the United States Assay Office of Gold. Though John Little Moffat left the firm late in 1851, the company continued operations as the Assay Office until late 1853, when the facilities were sold to the federal government and used to house the first San Francisco Mint. Four varieties of 1849 Moffat & Co. ten dollar gold pieces are listed in Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States, but this coin does not exactly match any of them. Instead, it appears to be a very rare variant of the K-6 variety, which Heritage numismatist Brian Koller has identified as K-6b. The large numerals in the date, the spelling of the denomination as TEN DOL. on the reverse, and the position of the middle arrow pointing below the period after GOLD match those features on the established K-6a variety, but the position of the leaves in the olive branch is different, ending flush with the right side of the letter S in S.M.V. Heritage Auctions has handled one other example of this rare subvariety over the years (lot 7973 in our 2005 San Francisco ANA Signature) and we believe the issue is R.7 on the rarity scale. This coin traces its history to the fabulous collection of Waldo Newcomer, who was a keen student of die varieties and may well have understood the importance of this issue. The present coin is an attractive Choice AU example of this intriguing early Moffat & Co. issue, with bright orange-gold surfaces showing a scattering of minor hairlines and abrasions on both sides, and traces of prooflike reflectivity in sheltered areas. The design elements show a touch of the typical softness on the central devices and display just a trace of high-point wear. These are important considerations, as Moffat pieces are usually seen with a soft strike and a good deal of surface wear. This is only the eighth time Heritage Auctions has offered an 1849 Moffat & Co. ten dollar piece of any variety in AU55 or better condition since 1993. Advanced students of the series should bid accordingly. Census (for TEN DOL. variety): 5 in 55, 4 finer (8/14). Ex: Waldo Newcomer, plate matched to Mehl's Newcomer plates; possibly "Colonel" E.H.R. Green, via B. Max Mehl circa 1933; Eric P. Newman; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
Realized $25850.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.