1860 Clark Gruber & Co. $20. Genuine, Tooled, Repaired & Cleaned PCGS.
Lot 196
1860 Clark Gruber & Co. $20. Genuine, Tooled, Repaired & Cleaned PCGS.
US$ 90,000 - 110,000
£ 70,000 - 85,000

Coins and Medals

28 Jan 2019, 10:00 PST

Los Angeles

Lot Details
1860 Clark Gruber & Co. $20. Genuine, Tooled, Repaired & Cleaned PCGS.
1860 Clark Gruber & Co. $20. Genuine, Tooled, Repaired & Cleaned PCGS.
K-4, High R.6. Light green-golden color on this rare Territorial gold piece with uniformly bold definition on the major design elements. Peripheral lettering is sharp as is the word DENVER on the obverse and the date, 1860 on the reverse. Unfortunately, the fields have been tooled and smoothed in an attempt to remove some marks on each side, and the surfaces were subsequently cleaned. Each side now presents a somewhat muted finish with considerable evidence of smoothing to help explain the stated qualifiers; several small marks in the upper left obverse field and are also mentioned for accuracy.

It has been well said that the history of the beginning of commerce in Colorado Territory is the history of the firm, Clark, Gruber & Co. Its partners were Austin M. Clark, his brother Milton Edward Clark, and Emanuel H. Gruber. According to Breen from his extensive researches, "In December 1859, Milton Clark traveled to Philadelphia to buy dies and presses, and to New York to buy other minting equipment; on Jan. 18, 1860, the firm bought three lots in Denver City on which they built their mint; and on March 30, one L. L. Todd arrived to help set up the "Assay and Coinage Office." This was a two-story brick building on the corner of McGaa and G Sts. (the present 16th and Market Streets). Trial strikings of the four denominations ($2.50, $5, $10, and $20) were ready on July 11, one day after the building actually opened, and on July 20 the firm invited local VIPs and newspaper people in to witness the first coinage of $10s, about 100 pieces (Rocky Mountain News, 7/20/1860). Clark, Gruber & Co. began advertising in the same paper on Aug. 8, and in the Western Mountaineer on Aug. 9, specifying that "The native gold is coined as it is found alloyed with silver. The weight will be greater, but the value the same as the United States coin of like denominations. "

Coinage totaled some $120,000 between July and October 1860, continuing into the winter until heavy snows made further prospecting impractical, and resuming at the spring thaw. The firm discovered quickly that its issues of 1860 were too soft to wear well. Accordingly, its redesigned issues dated 1861 (coined through 1862) contained a little extra alloy in the interest of durability, but their gold content remained at 1% over the federal standard so that nobody could accuse the firm of debasement or other dishonesty. They were Colorado Territory's exact counterpart of California's Moffat & Co., even to a federal takeover for conversion into a branch mint. The phrase PIKES PEAK GOLD DENVER (on the obverse) has to do more with mint location than with bullion sources; though the whole area of Jefferson Colorado was also known as the "Pike's Peak District." (PCGS 10138)
Very Fine to Extremely Fine
Activities
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