1853 Round California Fractional Half Dollar Gold Coin (PCGS MS61)

  • Lot number 5392676
  • Total bids 23
  • Winning bid $550.00
  • Buyer's premium $93.50
  • Total $643.50

Please see the images for further details on the condition of the coin.

Throughout the early years of the California gold rush there was a constant need for coinage to satisfy the commercial needs of a booming community being based on gold dust. While many firms issued coins from $2 1/2 to $50 denominations, there was still a need for coins of smaller denominations.

Foreign silver coins were imported and passed as change in the West. But this trade-with so many varieties of coins-was confusing, and many of these pieces were intrinsically worth less than their trading value. When the United States branch mint in San Francisco finally was established in 1854, only 15,000 gold $1 pieces were coined, with no $1 denominations being issued the following year. During 1855, only $150,000 in United States small denomination silver coins were issued in California, with most being hoarded or exported. The need for smaller fractional denominations of gold coins may have been met by hundreds of varieties of small gold pieces in quarter, half, and dollar sizes.

Over 450 varieties are known to exist, some undated but most bearing dates between 1852 and 1882. Most are anonymous or identified only by initials, but research over the years has made it possible to attribute the majority of the issues to manufacturing jewelers in San Francisco, California and Leavenworth, Kansas; some may have been made in New York and New Orleans.

Due to the uniqueness of each item, please refer to the photos provided in this auction. We offer high resolution images of each item rather than a written description of condition.

This item is being shipped from the Pristine Auction warehouse.