BG- 403, 1854 California Gold Rush Circulating Fractional Gold 50C, Liberty Round NGC MS65PL R7 - Finest Known!


This stunning Finest Known R7 piece is one of a known small handful of this issue, only 2 of which have been authenticated as Proof-Like by NGC. Look at the striking cameo contrast on both sides: the frosty devices and watery, shimmering fields. PCGS has graded 13 with NGC not far behind with 10 in total. However, PCGS tells us that there are "7 to 9 known." Therefore there must be some resubmissions among those grading figures. Burnie 45; Lee 14A; D 334.

How were such coins struck? Frontier, Deviercy & Co. had a German or French coin screw press from the 1830s. (The image of the screw press is below.) A detailed report in explains the process:

Mechanically, this screw type press is operated by a long, hand-thrown centrifugal rod at the top, which causes a thick 2″ screw to be pressed down. As the screw presses down it pushes on a square shaped length of iron that moves up and down and imposes considerable force on the hammer die which is mounted at its base. An ingenious feature is the square shape of the iron driving rod, this mitigates the rotational force from the screw action that would otherwise torque the hammer die and cause uneven striking.

The direction of the hammer die is straight downward where it meets the planchet that is held in place by a collar and supported on the lower die, thus striking the impression into the planchet to create a coin.

The obverse of this round gold piece presents the de rigueur Liberty knock-off design from the federal issues of the Gold Rush period. It is surrounded by 13 stars with the 'FD' (Frontier, Deviercy) mintmark under the curly hair on Liberty's neck. Upon the reverse is found an open wreath with berries, tied neatly with a bow at the bottom. Within the wreath is written, "1/2 DOLLAR 1854." If you have the means, you should strongly consider taking possession of this very rare, very beautiful piece.




BG-403, 1854 G50C Liberty Head Round, R7

  • 1854 Gold 50C Liberty Head Round, initials FD on obverse. Rarity-7.
  • Period One - circulating issues between 1852 and 1856.
  • Redbook Type: Small Liberty Head / Date in Wreath
  • RedBook Collectors Sequence: RB-038
  • Made by Frontier-Deviercy.

Obverse: Broad head; 13 small stars; FD below bust and above last two stars.    A defect hangs from the 12th star.

Reverse: 1 2 DOLLAR (no soludis) 1854 within wreath. A dash between the 1  2  and the top of the right wreath.  5 pairs of berries on each branch.

Burnie 45; Lee 14A; D 334.

Note: As reported by Jack Totheroh, 6 examples had been graded by PCGS as of July-2003:  (1) ‘58’, (1) ‘62’, (2) ‘63’, (2) ‘64’.

Today, 11 examples are graded by PCGS as of September-2018:

(1) '55', (2) ‘58’, (1) ‘62’, (5) ‘63’, (2) ‘64’.

More Information
PCGS # 10439
BG Number 403
Grading Service NONE
Year of Issue NONE
Grade NONE
Denom Type N/A
Numeric Denomination Gold 50C
Mint Location NONE
Designation NONE
Circ/UnCirc Not Specified
Strike Type N/A
Holder Variety BG-403
Grade Add On NONE
Holder Type N/A
Is on Sale No

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