BG- 435, 1853 California Gold Rush Circulating Fractional Gold 50C, Round 'Arms of California,' NGC MS62 R5-
Low Rarity-5. This is one of the most famous and desired varieties of California Fractional Gold coinage. It is a distinctive piece, one that stands out from the crowd of familiar Liberty heads found on Fractional Gold. This "Arms of California" variety offers engaging devices and designs and makes one sit up and take notice. Not as rare as some of the other issues, however there is strong demand for BG-435 because it is the only California Fractional Gold coin that employs two unique designs. This fetching piece has attractive reddish-gold toning, mostly on the reverse. NGC has graded 2 in MS62, with 4 finer. Overall, NGC has graded 11 of them. CCJ 10; EML 21; Burnie 32; Lee 10A; D 300.
The obverse offers the "Arms of California": a seated Columbia (dressed as Minerva) holding shield and spear, with a grizzly bear eating grapes at her feet, with mountains and river in the background. That motif is within a circle, around which are 13 stars with '1853' centered below. The design is a bit simplistic, with the 'grizzly bear' appearing more like a Chihuahua! The reverse presents a miniature version of the Humbert eagle design from the octagonal $50 gold ingots issued by the U.S. Assay Office in San Francisco in 1851-52. The motif includes an eagle, banner, and shield. That design is surrounded by "CALIFORNIA GOLD -- HALF DOLLAR." Again, this design is also crude, for it looks like the eagle is dancing. We don't know who crafted this famous issue, but Breen and Gillio suggest Braverman & Levy. Totheroh suggests Joseph Brothers (J.B. & L.B.), 175 Clay St. etc. If you want a unique specimen of California Fractional Gold for your collection, then this may be the coin for you!
|Year of Issue||1853|
|Denom Type||California Fractional Gold|
|Mint Location||Private Issue|
|Grade Add On||NONE|
|Is on Sale||No|