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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 41, October 8, 2006, Article 11

CAL QUARTER EAGLES NOT STRUCK FROM FIRST CALIFORNIA GOLD DEPOSIT

Courtesy of Dave Bowers I've had the pleasure of reading a draft of
John Kralevich's catalog description for the Zachary Taylor
Congressional Gold Medal.  One of the "rewrite the textbooks" items
concerns the 1848 "CAL." Quarter eagles:

"By numismatic tradition, the first gold pieces ever coined from
metal discovered in California were the 1848 CAL. $2.50 quarter
eagles. Exactly 1,389 pieces were coined from metal transmitted
from the military governor of California to the United States Mint
as part of a 228 ounce deposit. That deposit, however, arrived at
the Mint on December 9, 1848. Only one day earlier, the very first
deposit of California Gold Rush gold arrived at the Mint in
Philadelphia, a substantial hoard of 1,804 ounces of gold that one
David Carter had personally brought from the American River near
Sutter's Mill.

Original documents suggest that the newly discovered Taylor medal,
as well as the Winfield Scott medal now at the Smithsonian, was
actually produced from the Carter deposit. Since the products of
the Carter deposit were not identified with a mark (like the CAL
stamp on the 1848 CAL quarter eagles), this medal is the only
product of that first ever deposit from the California Gold Rush
that remains identifiable and in private hands!

A single line in a letter from Mint Director Robert Maskell Patterson
makes this point crystal-clear, as Patterson describes the CAL
quarter eagles but notes "the California gold reserved for the medals
is from another deposit." This letter, dated January 5, 1849, is
cited on page 117 of Dave Bowers' "California Gold Rush History."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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