A great item of numismatic history in the December Holabird sale is this
1851 letter relating to pioneer gold.
Exceptionally important letter signed by Dunbar & Co., March 31, 1851 noting the receipt of 192 9/16 ounces of gold dust at $17.125 per ounce to be paid in Dunbar & Co.'s (gold) coin on demand, "or if said coin will not pay at par at the time of such demand, the amount shall be redeemed at the office of Dodge & Co. in current silver at the hands of Henry D. Cogswell, and for the time of this deposit, namely from this date there shall be allotted to Henry D, Cogswell the depositor of said dust an interest of three percent per month on said deposit until the same shall be paid him", signed Dunbar & Co. by George J. Howell (?). The reverse of the note is as important as the obverse, as Cogswell notes when and how much he was paid in Dunbar coin. Interestingly, one of the payments is for $22.50, indicating the possibility of four $5 gold coins and one $2.50 for which none are known. On May 8, 1851, Cogswell presented the note to Dodge & Co. who refused payment. Then as of May 12, 1851, Cogswell had been paid $247.50 of $3,297.63. This note was used in suit against Dunbar, where Dunbar settled the judgement for $1650 on Jan 16, 1852. In short, Cogswell settled for half of the gold he deposited after he was paid an initial $247.50.
Five days prior to this note, and just a few days after newspaper publication, James King of William went on the warpath against Dunbar, Baldwin and Schultz & Co. He had submitted gold coins to Humbert at the USAO San Francisco, and the coins were not as represented, all short of value. King sent the copy of the letter to all the San Francisco newspapers causing a sensational stir, not only in San Francisco, but around the country. Numismatic author Edgar Adams stated that Humbert had received 111 Dunbar gold pieces, and they averaged $4.98 each, a difference of only 4/1000. (Adams, E., in Private Gold Coinage in American Journal of Numismatics, January, 1912, p3). This important letter is the direct result of King's published letter, and further follows the failure of Dunbar & Co. after the fact.
To read the complete lot description, see:
Spectacular Dunbar & Co. Mint Letter of Gold Deposit for Return in Dunbar Gold Coin, 1851 
THE BOOK BAZARRE
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