1851 $50 RE Humbert, 887 Thous. PCGS Unc Details — Shield moderately engraved. K-6, R.4. There are a few artistically applied tiny marks on the obverse on the shield and base, although most surviving Humbert slugs have problems of one kind or another. Gold Rush participants cared little about preserving such historic pieces, which were contemporarily prized solely for their generous bullion content. A very affordable example of one of the most popular numismatic collectibles today!
The $50 octagonal “slug,” was a golden bastion of California commerce during the first years of statehood. Such pieces were used in large transactions, being the coin of choice, since the locals were repulsed by “paper” money. (Paper money was made illegal in the state under the Constitution of 1850.) The octagonal $50 slugs were last made in 1852, after which the Assay Office closed; but the slugs themselves continued in use for many years thereafter. Often, they found their way to the various federal mints, where they were melted into bullion, then refashioned into federal denominations.