Coin Resource Center Includes Listing On Three Different Varieties of Augustus Humbert $50 Octagonal Slugs

Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ Coin Resource Center includes entries covering a wide range of U.S. numismatic topics. In a previous blog, we discussed entries on territorial gold, privately-issued coins struck in the regions around major gold strikes. In this blog we’ll be taking a look at three specific, very famous territorial gold issues, octagonal $50 coins produced by Augustus Humbert in San Francisco in the early 1850s. At time of writing, the CRC has entries on three varieties of Humbert octagonal “slugs.”

With gold flowing out of the northern California fields, Congress authorized a contract with a reputable assaying firm. Moffat & Co. received the first contract and Augustus Humbert, a New York-based watch case maker, was appointed United States Assayer in San Francisco. Octagonal $50 pieces bearing his name were issued shortly after he arrived in the city in early 1851. These early gold coins are eagerly sought after by collectors interested in the history of the California gold rush.

Three varieties included in the CRC are currently K-5, K-7, and K-11. All have the “target reverse,” two have the fineness .887, while one is .880, and two are dated 1851 and one 1852.

The CRC includes a general history of the Augustus Humbert octagonal slugs and breakdowns of the rarity and collectability of the three listed varieties. The CRC is an evolving database and information on a wider range of territorial gold pieces is forthcoming. We also invite knowledgeable readers to submit appropriate edits.

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