1849 $5 Moffat & Company, PCGS AU58. Getting pioneer gold in near-uncirculated condition at under five-figures is always a challenge – and even then, the coins generally do not come nicely preserved. We find an exception with the present specimen. It’s is very well struck and doesn’t show the die destruction of later die states. There is some evidence of die rust within the higher points of the gold’s surface, but not as noticeable on many of the other coins we handle – and we really like buying and selling these issues. We note a few minor contact marks on the reverse above the eagle’s head for future identifying purposes.
Moffat & Co. was one of the most highly respected assay firms in California during the Gold Rush era. They were known for their ingots of uniform size including the famous and rare $16.00 ingots, as well as small-denomination Territorial gold pieces that resembled federal coinage of the time. In fact, the coinage was so highly regarded among the contemporary public that Moffat & Co. eventually received the federal contract to serve as the United States Assay Office, itself a predecessor to the San Francisco Mint which opened in 1854. In 1849, Moffat & Co. produced both five dollar and ten dollar gold pieces, most of which saw extensive circulation in the gold camps of the West, thus most known examples are well worn and / or damaged in some way.