US Coins

Market Analysis: California fractional gold in Kagin's sale

A round 1853 Liberty Head 50-cent piece emulates the Coronet type seen on contemporary circulating U.S. gold coins and the maker’s initial D is prominent on the obverse. This AU-58 representative of the BG-420 variety brought $8,540 at Kagin’s

Images courtesy of Kagin’s.

Kagin’s April 2022 Live Online Only Auction at its Tiburon, California, headquarters featured some terrific examples of California fractional gold coinage.

Also called California small-denomination gold, these were initially minted from newly mined gold in California in response to a lack of small change. They were issued in denominations of 25 cents, 50 cents and one dollar.

Among the top lots at Kagin’s was a round 1853 Liberty Head 50-cent piece listed as BG-420 in Walter Breen and Ronald J. Gillio’s book California Pioneer Fractional Gold. Bob Leonard’s 2003 revision of the reference lists just 13 extant examples. It was struck by M. Deriberpie who placed his initial, a crisp letter D, in the lower obverse field.

Kagin’s observed, “Soft underlying luster underscores the grand array of gold, rose, and orange iridescence on both sides of this attractive scarcity.”

It was graded About Uncirculated 58 by Professional Coin Grading Service. Bidders chased it to $8,540.

Connect with Coin World:  
Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Access our Dealer Directory  
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

Community Comments