US Coins

This small rectangular ingot realizes big price

Kagin’s held its West Coast Auction on Sept. 15 in conjunction with the Santa Clara Coin Expo in California, and as expected, privately issued pioneer and territorial gold coins stole the show. As the firm’s president Don Kagin wrote in the introduction, the convention is “by far the largest coin show in northern California,” concluding, “so it is fitting that this sale features some of the most iconic and fascinating coins and related material associated with the great California Gold Rush.”

One of those fascinating pieces of gold is featured here:

The Lot: 

Moffat & Co. $16 gold ingot, About Uncirculated 50

The Price:


The Story:

During the summer of 1849, Moffat & Co. issued small, rectangular ingots to help facilitate trade in the gold mining region of California, and while the firm created bars in various denominations, today the $16 ingot is the only one that is represented by more than a single example.

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The ingots were formed by pouring melted gold into a small mold, and, when cooled, were then stamped with the maker, fineness and value. Kagin’s notes the $16 denomination “would have been familiar at the time to anyone in California who had ever been out East where [an] ounce of gold commonly traded for $16.”

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The example offered in Santa Clara was formerly in the collection of Louis E. Eliasberg Sr., and he considered it among his most important items. One of approximately 20 known today from a reported production of around 100, it was graded About Uncirculated 50 by Professional Coin Grading Service and sold for $240,875.

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