BG- 436, 1854 California Gold Rush Circulating Fractional Gold 50C, Liberty Round, Eagle Reverse PCGS AU55 R6


Die State II ("period" die defect after date, "exclamation point" defect above period after DOL.).
Unusual Liberty head with coarse curls and hollow neck, 13 stars around; eagle with shield and branch, but no scroll (!), HALF DOL. around 1854 . A somewhat amateurish effort by an unknown maker (“Unknown Maker B”). Perhaps the work of Auguste Dubois, as surmised by the cataloger in the second edition of California Pioneer Fractional Gold. (His name is spelled “Auguste Duboice” in the San Francisco Herald; “Augustine Dubois” in the Sacramento Daily Union; “Augustin Dubois” in the Placer Times & Transcript (the latter two citations courtesy of indefatigable Gold Rush researcher Dan Owens); and “A. Duboce” in LeCount & Strong’s San Francisco City Directory for the year 1854. Mr. Dubois, who had a partner named John Waschwald or Oswald, operated out of a house on the southeast corner of Green and Fayette Streets with all the windows blacked out except one. The pair were accused of counterfeiting, and when this house was searched by the San Francisco police, a secret room was discovered in the cellar that held a rolling machine, furnace, crucibles, and a large amount of melted gold. When they returned to it, Auguste and John were arrested, but made bail and the charges were dismissed as false three days later. Mr. Dubois stated to the police that he had been a gold pen maker in New York, where he was from, and that his equipment was used for that purpose.

While that may have been his intention in coming to California, upon seeing small California gold in circulation he was probably tempted to join the party, since he had all the necessary equipment (except a screw press, and he probably had that also but omitted in the newspaper accounts). In any case, there seems to be no other suitable candidate for a maker for the year 1854 only.

Very Rare. Sharply struck Brilliant Uncirculated, light coppery toning on obverse and reverse field.


1854 Gold 50C Liberty Head Round, Rarity-6.

  • Period One - circulating issues between 1852 and 1856.
  • Redbook Type: Liberty Head / Small Eagle with Raised Wings, 1854.
  • Unknown Maker, probably Auguste Dubois.

Obverse:  13 small stars near border; 1st star to left near border and just above point of bust, 8th star near upper bun of hair.

Reverse: Eagle with shield and branch, no scroll, HALF DOL. 1854 around.

There is a small crack at bottom edge of planchet before striking.

EML 25; Burnie 38-39; Lee 13A; D 333.

  1. Die State-1: Perfect dies.
  2. Die State-2: ‘Exclamation point’ after DOL. (THIS COIN)


More Information
PCGS # 10472
BG Number 436
Grading Service PCGS
Year of Issue 1854
Grade AU55
Denom Type California Fractional Gold
Numeric Denomination Gold 50C
Mint Location Private Issue
Designation NONE
Circ/UnCirc Circulated
Strike Type Business
Holder Variety BG-436 Eagle
Grade Add On NONE
Holder Type N/A
Is on Sale No

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