Regarding last's week's identification of Jules Fonrobert as the "Roberts" bidder in the 1875 Mendes I. Cohen sale, Bob Leonard writes:
What a fine piece of detective work! I would be interested to know whether the Mendes I. Cohen collection included any small California gold (not mentioned in Adams), and if so, whether any was purchased by "Roberts," but I don't have an email address for Dave Stone. I'd like to know the lot numbers (and descriptions, if possible).
I spent a couple of days in the American Numismatic Society library around 2001-2002 when I was researching the 2nd ed. of California Pioneer Fractional Gold, tracing early sales of these pieces in named catalogs, but did not get around to the Cohen sale.
The Arms of California half dollar is slightly controversial because its dies are not shared with any other issue, and its first known appearance is 1877. While this puts it squarely within the correct time period, which extends to 1883, Mike Locke suspected that it may be dated earlier than its issue, and I wondered whether it might not be a fantasy gotten up to sell to the wealthy Fonrobert. I am still anxiously looking for an earlier appearance than 1877.
Interesting possibility. Can anyone report a listing of the piece before 1877? For illustration, Bob sent me a link to an 1853-dated example in Heritage's 2007 ANA sale #444, lot 2173.
Famous Arms of California BG-435 Round Half MS63
1853 50C Arms of California 50 Cents, BG-435, Low R.5, MS63 PCGS. One of the most famous varieties within the entire California small denomination gold series. The obverse depicts the California state arms, and the reverse emulates loosely emulates the eagle, ribbon, and shield motif used on the Assay Office slugs then in local circulation. Such interesting types would soon belong to the past, since the majority of the Breen-Gillio varieties feature a parade of Liberty, Indian, and wreath types vaguely reminiscent of the Federal gold dollar.
To view the complete lot description, see:
1853 50C Arms of California 50 Cents, BG-435, Low R.5
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
MORE ON JULES FONROBERT
Wayne Homren, Editor
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