BG- 404, 1854 California Gold Rush Circulating Fractional Gold 50C, Liberty Round NGC MS63 R7-


San Francisco. The California Gold Rush. Such words evoke images and events that many dream about. It was a thrilling time and place that will never come again. But there is a way to have a relic of those heady days of gold prospectors and miners, entrepreneurs, gamblers, bawdy ladies, and the rough and ready life those people led. The best way to own a piece of Gold Rush San Francisco history is to collect California Fractional Gold coinage.

Hold a gold 25c, 50c, or $1 piece in your hand, close your eyes, and you can almost smell the whiskey and hear the player piano. Look at the images of this BG-404 Gold 50 cent piece. Crafted with authentic Gold Rush gold, this tiny specimen is a true survivor of 1850s San Francisco. These coins are rare, very rare. NGC has graded only 1 in MS63, with none finer, and PCGS has graded 2 in MS64 (as of 8/2021). Even though PCGS graded 13 and NGC graded 2, PCGS writes that there are "8 to 10 known." As with other issues, there must have been some resubmitting going on by collectors and investors. Lee 14B; D 334A.


Mining on the American River near Sacramento, circa 1852, during the Gold Rush. This coin was struck with gold from the California Gold Rush.

As with the BG-403, this issue was struck by Frontier, Deviercy, and Co. of San Francisco. Overall, it is quite similar to the BG-403. The exception is that the reverse has a different wreath design. The obverse of this round gold piece presents the derivative large Liberty design inspired by the U.S. gold coins of the early 1850s. Liberty is encircled by 13 stars with the 'FD' (Frontier, Deviercy) mintmark under the hair on lady Liberty's neck. Upon the reverse is found an open wreath with berries, tied with a bow at the bottom. Within the wreath is written, "1/2 DOLLAR 1854." Writes Heritage Auctions, "The horizontal die line to the right of the date is diagnostic for BG-404." This rare piece is perfect for the specialist in California Fractional Gold coinage, for it is counted among the great rarities of the entire vast series.



1854 Gold 50C Liberty Head Round, initials FD on obverse. Low Rarity-7.

  • Period One - circulating issues between 1852 and 1856.
  • RedBook variety - Large Liberty Head initials FD / Value & Date in Wreath, 1854-1855.
  • 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. Same as BG-403.

Reverse: 1 2 DOLLAR 1854 within wreath. The 1854 is moved to the left so that the 1 is under the DO and the 8 is under the OL of DOLLAR; a dash follows the date. The wreath has a double bow in the shape of two hearts.

Lee 14B; D 334A.

More Information
PCGS # 10440
BG Number 404
Grading Service NGC
Year of Issue 1854
Grade MS63
Denom Type California Fractional Gold
Numeric Denomination Gold 50C
Mint Location Private Issue
Designation NONE
Circ/UnCirc Uncirculated
Strike Type Business
Holder Variety BG-404
Grade Add On NONE
Holder Type N/A
Is on Sale No

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