Exciting Colorado Gold Rush $10 to be offered in the 2018 June Baltimore Auction

In 1857, gold was discovered in Colorado sparking a
new gold rush in the West. In Leavenworth, Kansas, brothers Austin and Milton
Clark and merchant Emmanuel Gruber each started out provisioning Colorado-bound
miners. Hearing tales from returning prospectors about the difficulties in
conducting trade with gold dust, they realized that there was profit to be made
providing banking and assay services in the gold fields. In early 1860 they
formed Clark, Gruber & Company as a bank, assay office and mint. While Milton
Clark obtained dies and equipment in Philadelphia and New York, his partners
headed to Denver to establish their office and mint. On July 5, they began
striking coins in $2.50, $5, $10, and $20 denominations made from gold dust of
high purity.

The Rocky Mountain News noted this on
August 29th:


Clark Gruber & Co. melted and coined about $18,000
in $10, $5, and $2.50 pieces. As specimens of coinage these pieces are far
superior to any of the private mint drops issued in San Francisco, and are
nearly as perfect as the regular United States Mint issues.
The faces of the $5s and $2.50s are a good
imitation of the government coinage — the stars, with the name of "Clark
& Co." occupying the head tiara. The reverse is occupied, of course,
with ‘our noble bird’ encircled by the words ‘Pikes Peak Gold, Denver 2-1/2.’
Altogether it is a creditable piece of work, and we hope to see hosts of it in
circulation before the snow flies.
The fineness of this coin is 828-1/2
and the excess of weight over U.S. coin is 23 grains in a $10 piece. The value
in gold is the same as government coin of like denomination, with an additional
value in silver alloy equal to near 1%. Deduct the cost of coining at the U.S.
mint, about 1/2 %, and the actual worth of Clark & Co.’s coin is 1/2% more
than any other coinage.


The coins were quickly accepted by the miners and soon
Clark, Gruber & Co. became the most prolific of the Colorado coiners. The
gold alloy initially used proved to be soft and prone to wear. In 1861, they
added a higher concentration of silver to the alloy, all the while ensuring
that the total gold content was roughly 1% higher than the federal equivalents.
All told, Clark, Gruber & Co. coined just under $600,000 face value by the
time they ceased their minting operation in 1862. In April 1863, the partners
sold their facility and equipment to the government who then used it as an
assay office for the next 43 years, a full-fledged U.S. branch mint was built that
opened in 1906. Clark, Gruber & Co. gold coins are generally scarce and are
usually found in lower circulated grades, especially the softer alloy
1860-dated coins.


classic Western territorial coin is remarkably well produced and preserved and
is graded AU-58+ by PCGS. Striking detail is generally sharp, with much of the
definition to Liberty’s portrait, the stars and the eagle’s plumage fully
struck. The surfaces are smooth with a pleasing satiny texture and display a
blend of medium gold and pale rose patina.
A high
grade example such as this would be an important addition to a superior
territorial gold cabinet. In fact, only three examples are graded finer (all MS-61)
and a strong case could be made that this slightly circulated but less
blemished piece is more visually appealing example than those graded
technically finer.


This coin will be sold as part of
our Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Summer Expo in
Baltimore in June. Visit us at to see our other scheduled
auctions. Also, download our mobile app to participate on your
Android or Apple device. Call 1-800-566-2580
or email info@StacksBowers for more information or to consign your collection
to one of our future events!

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