Two NGC-certified California gold pieces from the 1850s realized $360,000 and $444,000.
Two NGC-certified California gold “slugs” from the 1850s led the way at Heritage Auctions’ U.S. Coins Signature Auction in Chicago on October 11.
Private firms stepped in during the California Gold Rush to meet the new state’s coinage needs. These companies helped fill a void until the San Francisco branch mint opened in 1854 and was able to gain its footing. An 1855 Kellogg $50, graded PF-63, was the top lot in the auction, realizing $444,000. It is among the finest-graded of the dozen or so known survivors of an original mintage thought to be only about twice that.
Kellogg & Co. and its successor produced $20 gold “slugs” in 1854 and 1855 for circulation. The Kellogg $50 pieces, however, are thought to have been created to showcase the company’s ability to produce the same kind of pieces that a competitor was minting.
Another memorable artifact from the Gold Rush era (and minted just a few years earlier), this 1851 Humbert “887” with “50” $50 realized $360,000, the second-highest amount in the auction. Graded MS-63★, this is the finest-known example of this particular version of the octagonal ingots produced by U.S. Assayer Augustus Humbert.
Another gold rarity, an 1864-S $10, graded AU-55, realized $219,004. The only other coin to realize six figures in this auction was also certified by NGC: An 1854 Large Date $20, graded MS-64, that realized $102,000.
To view more results of the Heritage Auctions’ U.S. Coins Signature Auction in Chicago, click here.
Press release courtesy of the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.