A highlight of Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ March 6 and March 10
auctions held in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association National Money
Show in Portland, Ore., is an Oregon Exchange Co. $5 pioneer gold piece.
It was minted in 1849 in Oregon City, which Q. David Bowers notes in
the introduction is located not far from the site of the auction.
The coin is graded Very Fine
35 by Professional
Coin Grading Service and the description relates that the
Oregon Exchange Company was established by Oregon City residents in
The charming beaver on a log motif utilized on the obverse remains
popular with collectors today, with a popularity that extends beyond
pioneer gold coin collectors.
The Oregon Exchange Co. also produced $10 coins. Click here to learn more about a $10 example in the
National Numismatic Collection.
Roughly 6,000 examples were struck until mining operations ceased in
September 1849, and most were melted. “While no effort was made to
standardize the alloy, the coiners compensated for this by
deliberating making the coins overweight. U.S. Mint assays report that
the five dollar coins were valued at $5.50. While this helped to
guarantee their acceptance, being worth more than their stated value
ensured that the pieces would be taken in at face and melted down for
their intrinsic value,” the description explains.
The cataloger notes that undamaged, evenly circulated examples are
hard to find and that Uncirculated examples are virtually unheard of.
The finest known, graded Mint State 62 by NGC sold for $258,500 at
Heritage’s April 24, 2014, Central States Numismatic Society sale.
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