NGC and Stacks Bowers Galleries Identify New California Fractional Gold Variety

Author: Stack's Bowers Galleries / September 14, 2016

SANTA ANA, CA. (September 13, 2016 )— Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) and Stack’s Bowers Galleries have identified a new variety of California Fractional Gold. The 1854 Octagonal California Gold Dollar was recently submitted to NGC for attribution and grading.

California Fractional Gold Pieces were struck by private mints in California in order to fill a need for smaller denominations in commerce. The coins were issued beginning in 1852 in 25 cent, 50 cent and one dollar denominations. All California Gold Pieces are attributed by NGC at no additional charge according to "BG" numbers, from the last names of Walter Breen ("B") and Ronald J. Gillio, authors of the reference book for the series, California Pioneer Fractional Gold. 

NGC graders attempted to attribute the 1854 Octagonal California Gold Dollar according to the BG catalog numbers but determined that it did not match any of the known varieties listed in the reference book. The coin was clearly struck from the same reverse die as BG-529, identified by the two stars between GOLD and DERI, but the obverse was quite different. There were notable dissimilarities in the placement of both the head and stars. 

NGC brought the coin to the World’s Fair of Money show in Anaheim, California, to show it to Gillio, who serves as Executive Director of Consignments / Numismatics Acquisitions Coordinator for Stack’s Bowers Galleries. Gillio, along with John M. Pack, also Executive Director of Consignments for Stack’s Bowers Galleries, and numismatic researcher Robert D. Leonard, Jr., confirmed that this piece was a new variety, which they listed as BG-529a.

New California Fractional Gold varieties are seldom identified with a new discovery made only once every four or five years. This significant find is now graded NGC AU 55 and encapsulated with a label bearing its BG-529a attribution.

About Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®)

NGC, the world’s largest and most respected third-party coin grading service, was founded in 1987. From the beginning, NGC has committed itself to developing an impartial, trusted standard of consistent and accurate grading. To uphold this commitment, NGC’s full-time grading professionals are no longer active in the commercial coin marketplace, and are prohibited from buying or selling coins to ensure impartiality. As NGC has grown to become the leader in third-party grading services, we have maintained a steadfast and uncompromising commitment to this standard. Learn more at

About Stack’s Bowers Galleries

Stack’s Bowers Galleries conducts live, Internet and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company’s 80-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The D. Brent Pogue Collection, The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, The Guia Collection, The Thos. H. Law Collection, and The Robert O. Ebert Collection.

Topping off this amazing numismatic history is the inclusion of the world record for the highest price ever realized at auction for a rare coin, the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar graded Specimen-66 (PCGS) that realized over $10 million, part of their sale of the famed Cardinal Collection. The company is headquartered in Santa Ana, California, with offices in New York, Wolfeboro, Hong Kong, and Paris. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is an Official Auctioneer for several important numismatic conventions, including American Numismatic Association events, the New York International Numismatic Convention, the Professional Numismatists Guild New York Invitational, the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring, Summer and Winter Expos, and its April, August and December Hong Kong Auctions.


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