1855 $10 Wass, Molitor & Company PCGS XF40. K-6, R.5. A very rare Territorial gold issue, this variety was probably struck from dies that were previously dated 1852. The final digit in the date was drilled out of the die and replaced with a 5 so that the dies could be used in 1855. The S.M.V. on the reverse stands for “Standard Mint Value,” a design similar to that first used by Dubosq & Co., whose coins were soon to be discredited in the James King of William-Augustus Humbert hubbub. As such, all coins struck from this obverse die have the appearance of being plugged at the final digit in the date.
This piece has a pleasing appearance to both sides. The surfaces exhibit warm, even, reddish-gold color and a relatively smooth, somewhat satiny texture. In fact, there is very little to report in the way of wispy abrasions–an uncommon attribute for any Territorial gold coin, but particularly for a California Gold Rush example that saw 20 points of circulation. The strike is characteristically uneven, but the only significant lack of detail is confined to the obverse periphery where the stars are quite weak. The date is readily discernible and Liberty’s portrait is suitably bold. On the reverse, the eagle is quite well detailed in the context of the assigned grade and the legend and denomination, while a bit soft at a few letters, are both fully readable. All-in-all, this is one of the nicest Wass, Molitor & Co. Tens in EF that we have handled in quite some time.