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CNG Feature Auction 115

Lot nuber 961

UNITED STATES, Private & Territorial gold issues. San Francisco. Moffat & Co. AV Five Dollars (21mm, 8.03 g, 12h). Dated 1849.

CNG Feature Auction 115
Lot: 961.
 Estimated: $ 2 500

World, Gold

Sold For $ 3 000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

UNITED STATES, Private & Territorial gold issues. San Francisco. Moffat & Co. AV Five Dollars (21mm, 8.03 g, 12h). Dated 1849. Head of Liberty left, wearing coronet reading MOFFET & CO; thirteen stars around, 1849 below / S • M • V • CALIFORNIA GOLD, Eagle facing with wings spread, head left, shield on breast, clutching olive branch and three arrows in claws; FIVE DOL • below. Kagin 4; Adams 9; Breen 7784. Scratches. Fine.

From the Todd Hansen Collection. Ex Heritage 382 (27 July 2005), lot 7966.

John Little Moffat, a skilled assayer with experience in the earlier American gold rushes in Georgia and North Carolina, arrived in San Francisco in the summer of 1849. His four-man firm was established with the ultimate goal of establishing a mint, to turn prospector’s raw gold into a refined, processed, and reliable product. Moffat & Co wasted little time. Following a brief issue of stamped ingots, the first properly struck coins produced by the firm, $10 gold pieces, appeared in July or August 1849. Engraved by the Bavarian immigrant Albert Küner, the coins mimicked the contemporary Federal issues being produced back east. Küner replaced the word LIBERTY in coronet with the name of the firm, and altered the reverse legend to read S M V (= Standard Mint Value) CALIFORNIA GOLD.

Moffat & Co enjoyed a good reputation and their coins were widely accepted by the public. Between September 1850 and December 1853, the firm functioned as a United States Assay office, issuing official $50 gold ingots. These official pieces traded at a higher value than the numerous private issues of 1849, leading to much of the then circulating smaller denominations to be restruck. This led to a shortage of $5 and $10 coins, which was regretfully ignored by the Treasury Department. In response, in early 1852, Moffat struck a number of $10 pieces. Official authorization soon arrived, and additional small denominations were issued under the auspices of the Assay Office. The office ceased operations in December 1853 to make way for the official Federal mint in San Francisco, which opened its doors in April 1854.

The final winners of all CNG Feature Auction 115 lots will be determined during the live online sale that will be held on 16-17 September 2020. This lot is in Session 3, which begins 17 September 2020 at 9 AM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 22.50% for all others.

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