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Mike Byers Mint Error News – Unique 1863 California Fractional Gold 25¢ Overstruck on 1860/50

Mike Byers Mint Error News - Unique 1863 California Fractional Gold 25¢ Overstruck on 1860/50

1863 Round Liberty Gold 25¢

California Fractional Gold BG-820

Overstruck on 1860/50 BG-819

NGC MS 61

UNIQUE DISCOVERY COIN

 

By Mike Byers for Mint Error News ……
This is a unique 1863 California Fractional Gold 25¢ overstruck on a previously struck 1860/50 Gold 25¢. In fact, it is the only known overstruck California Fractional gold coin on any of the 25¢, 50¢, or $1 denominations.

Struck by Robert B. Gray & Co, a San Francisco manufacturing jeweler during the gold rush era, this major gold mint error stands alone as a unique piece of California history.
There was a severe shortage of coins in the smaller denominations so the United States Branch Mint opened in 1854 in San Francisco to strike coins for circulation. The 1854 and 1855 gold and silver coins struck at the San Francisco Mint were hoarded or exported. The extreme demand for coins was met by San Francisco jewelers who struck fractional denominations of gold coins in the 25¢, 50¢ and $1 sizes.

There are over 450 varieties known to exist, most dated between 1852 and 1882. Almost all of the fractional gold coins were produced by the hammer method, which was striking the gold planchet between the bottom die that was stationary and the top die by a sledgehammer.

Unique 1863 California Fractional Gold 25¢ Overstruck on 1860/50

In researching major mint errors on California fractional gold pieces, it appears that there are approximately 12 double struck, five that are uniface (either struck with only the obverse or only the reverse die), and three that are brockages (struck by a coin that was already struck). This is the only known California fractional gold coin that was struck over an earlier dated gold coin.

Authenticated and certified by NGC as MS 61 and a mint error, it is classified as being overstruck on a previously struck gold coin and is a dual date (1863 over an 1860/50).

In 1864, one year after this overstruck California Fractional gold piece was produced, the U.S. Government passed the Private Coinage Law of 1864. This new legislation prohibited the manufacture of all private gold coins intended for use as money to circulate side by side with officially struck U.S. coins. This law was mostly ignored by the producers of fractional gold pieces, who continued to strike them in the smaller denominations through 1882.

Designated as a BG-820 (Breen-Gillio Reference Book) overstruck on an 1860/50 (overdate) BG-819, it is amazing that this unique gold mint error exists and survived during the California gold rush era.

The portrait of the understrike is clearly visible:

1863 overstrike California fractional gold 25 cents on 1860/50 California fractional gold 25 cents - understrike portrait. Image courtesy Mike Byers

The 1860/50 date of the understrike is also clearly visible:

1863 overstrike California fractional gold 25 cents on 1860/50 California fractional gold 25 cents - understrike date. Image courtesy Mike Byers

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World’s Greatest Mint Errors

The book World’s Greatest Mint Errors is an enjoyable numismatic resource packed full of some of the rarest, most dramatic and extraordinary errors and die trials ever assembled in one publication. It combines stunning imagery with the most accurate information available to provide anyone interested in mint errors with the latest data on mint error coins from the United States and around the world. Hundreds of spectacular errors are pictured. Each error coin photo is presented in full color and enlarged to enhance the smallest details.

Some of the error coins featured in this book have never been seen by the public before, and each is described in great detail as to the type of error, the assigned grade, rarity, and estimated value. The release of World’s Greatest Mint Errors has only helped to further interest in the field in non-collectors and advanced collectors alike. This book is a must-have for every numismatic library.

 

Mike Byers
Mike Byershttps://minterrornews.com/
Mike Byers is the Owner, Publisher and Editor of Mint Error News Magazine and the Mint Error News website that was founded in 2003. In 2009, Mike Byers published his first book, World's Greatest Mint Errors, which received the NLG Award for Best World Coin Book.

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