US Coins

New die marriage found for California gold dollar

Researchers have confirmed the discovery of a new die marriage of California gold dollar, shown. Among the Gold Rush era’s privately issued small-denomination gold coins, the die marriage is a new pairing of two known dies.

Images courtesy of Ken Glickman.

Researchers have confirmed the discovery of a new die marriage of California gold dollar, part of the Gold Rush era’s privately issued small-denomination gold coins.

According to Stack’s Bowers Galleries, the coin was discovered by Ken Glickman, an avid collector and researcher of California small-denomination gold coins. The new variety has been confirmed by specialists Ronald J. Gillio, Robert D. Leonard Jr. and John Pack. The new variety designation for this unique specimen will be listed as BG-526a, as that comes between BG-526 (1853) and BG-527 (1854) in the Walter Breen-Ron Gillio reference book.

According to Stack’s Bowers Galleries, the new marriage’s obverse is the same as that of BG-526, and is easy to match, as follows: “There are three prominent die cracks (one above the portrait, connecting the head to the rim, and two near 3 o’clock, connecting the upper and lower portions of the hair bun to the rim). The bold nature of these breaks makes them easy to identify. Since they are heavier in this pairing than seen in the BG-526 usage, they must always be present in this marriage.”

The reverse die differs from that used for BG-526, however, and has been determined to match the die used to strike the unique BG-529, but in an earlier state, according to the firm.

“Hence, a new die pairing is discovered!” Stack’s Bowers said.

“Interestingly, this muling of the BG-526 obverse and BG-529 reverse combines an obverse used in an 1853-dated pairing and a reverse used in an 1854-dated pairing.”

According to the firm, Glickman stated: “Ever since I first learned of elusive and rare California Gold pieces on eBay in August 2000, I’ve wondered whether I would be one of the few fortunate coin collectors to discover something new in this numismatic field that the eBay seller had said was a ‘sleeper.’ Thus began my life-long quest to seek out new varieties in the three time periods. After accumulating over 500 varieties, with quite a few new varieties from the second and third periods, I was still on the hunt for a new variety discovery for the more prestigious first period. It was not until earlier this year that I was thrilled to finally discover and acquire this BG-526a specimen.”

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