US Coins

Market Analysis: A charming mountain brings a big price

This appealing 1860 Clark, Gruber & Co. pioneer gold $20 coin graded AU-55 by PCGS was once part of the Eliasberg collection. It realized $552,000 at Stack’s Bowers’ Nov. 14 auction.

All images courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

The Nov. 14 Stack’s Bowers Rarities Night featured several important coins formerly in the collection of Baltimore financier Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. including an 1860 Clark, Gruber & Co. pioneer gold $20 coin graded About Uncirculated 55 by PCGS.

The 1860 Clark, Gruber & Co. pioneer gold $20 coin issue was struck in Denver from gold deposits found in the area. The firm coined around $18,000 in $10, $5 and $2.50 pieces by mid-1860, as reported by an article in the August 29, 1860 issue of the Rocky Mountain News.

The issues were well-received by miners and merchants, but the gold dust used for the 1860 issues was too soft, making the coins prone to wear. Silver was added to the alloy in 1861.

In total the firm issued just under $600,000 in face value by 1862, when they transferred their production to gold bars before selling their facility and equipment to the government in April 1863.

The coin in the auction is one of the finest-known examples of this always-popular type for its charming, isolated depiction of Pikes Peak, and sold for $552,000.

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