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The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 48, November 19, 2000, Article 2


One of the star rarities of American numismatic literature traded hands on Thursday, November 16. An 1850 first edition of "New Varieties of Gold and Silver Coins, Counterfeit Coins, and Bullion, with Mint Values," by U.S. Mint Assayers Jacob R. Eckfeldt and William E. DuBois, sold for $9,500 to an anonymous buyer at an auction by Pacific Book Auction Galleries of San Francisco.

The first edition of this cambist contained "actual samples of California gold underneath two small formica disks mounted on p.45", plus "a leaf printed in gold on blue paper showing varieties of California and Mormon coins."

From the catalog description, in which other bibliographers are quoted: "Rare first edition of one of the most sought-after and most fragile books on gold coinage at the time of the California Gold Rush. The second edition of the following year, with slightly expanded text, did not contain the original samples of California gold which add to the unique character of the work. Streeter calls the slender volume "An important reference book for the beginning of gold mining in California," and Wheat remarks that "Actual samples of California `grain' and `bar' gold, and reproductions of privately minted 1849 gold coins of California and of the Mormons in Utah render this little book an extraordinary and colorful contemporary souvenir of the Gold Rush." Pages 21 to 31 describe four varieties of California gold coins issued from the following mints: "N.G. & N." of San Francisco, Oregon Exchange Company, Miners' Bank of San Francisco, and Moffat & Company of San Francisco; chapter IV is entitled "Gold from California."

Wayne Homren, Editor

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