1855 $10 Wass Molitor PCGS AU53 CAC Ex. S.S.Central America. There is treasure, and then there is TREASURE-!! A brief explanation: would you rather spend the same amount for a MS66 1857-S of which there are 185 certified by PCGS to-date, all of which most likely came from the same source, OR is it more prudent to acquire a true pioneer gold coin with a PCGS population of 10, and with a CAC endorsement of ONLY ONE COIN – three total in ALL GRADES?? Seems to us for the same amount of money give us this deal over and over again.
All right, enough of the logic. The present specimen displays bright yellow gold with much retained luster, particularly on the reverse. Scattered marks are present though no single blemish deserves our written attention. This is the variety from an earlier die with 2 of date removed and plugged in the die and a 5 punched on the plugged area. The gold foil tells us it’s straight from the wreck of the S.S. Central America. Few hands have actually touched this coin.
The principals of the firm of Wass, Molitor & Co., immigrants S.C. Wass and A.P. Molitor, left their homeland after the Hungarian War of Independence to pursue their fortunes in the California gold fields. The firm operated in San Francisco beginning in 1851, and quickly made a solid reputation for gold coins worth face value, one of the few operating firms of the era to gain the complete confidence of the public. Indeed, in January 1852, after the first of the firm’s $5 and $10 gold coins appeared in circulation, the local news reported that, though just .880 fine, the weight of their half eagles made the coins worth $5.04 face value! No coins dated 1853 or 1854 were struck, the firm taking a hiatus from coining endeavors after the opening of the U.S. Assay Office of Gold. Between the closing of the Assay Office in late December 1853 and the final ability of the new U.S. Mint to obtain parting acids and improve its technology sometime in 1855, a shortage of gold coins of small denominations occurred. In March 1855, local banks petitioned Wass, Molitor & Co. to return to the coining business. The firm released $10 and $20 gold pieces dated 1855 in March of that year, followed by $50 “slugs” in May. Today, all varieties of their coins are rare, some moderately so, others, as here, of high rarity.
Housed in a special S.S. Central America gold label PCGS holder.