1851 DUNBAR & CO. $5

1851 DUNBAR & CO. $5 VERY FINE We quote from Edgar H. Adams, Private Gold Coinage of California, originally printed in the American Journal of Numismatics in 1912:

“From what can be learned, the gold-pieces bearing the above stamp were issued by Edward E. Dunbar, who conducted the California Bank in San Francisco. Mr. Dunbar afterwards came East and organized the well- known Continental Bank Note Company. An advertisement appeared in one of the California papers stating that ‘The banking office of Edward E. Dunbar would redeem the coin of Baldwin & Co.’

This was at the time when the issues of Baldwin & Co. were discredited in San Francisco because they were below the value stamped upon their face, and businessmen in general had refused to take them. As Baldwin & Co. ceased to strike coins about this time, it is not unlikely that their machinery was taken over by Dunbar & Co., and used for making the coins bearing the latter stamp. Only one denomination was struck by the firm, that of Five Dollars,…

…A lot of 111 pieces were assayed at the Mint in 1851, which showed an average weight of 131 grains, a fineness of .883 and an intrinsic value of $4.98. Not more than three of these pieces are now known to be in existence. “

Today there are still only 3 known specimens of this excessively rare coin. The following is a list of the known specimens:

1.Smithsonian Institute from the Lily collection, sold to Lily by Stack’s purchased from Smith & Son of Wheaton, III. Originally from the Virgil Brand Collection.

2.Amon Carter Jr. collection. Purchased from B. Max Mehl’s Walters sale for $1,175.00 in 1951. Originally from the Bell Sale (1944).

3.The present coin purchased from Jack Klausen who purchased the piece from Leo Young in 1971.

The fact that this coin is one of the greatest United States rarities is undisputable. The only coins of comparable rarity on the market today are the 1913 Liberty nickel (5 known) and the 1885 Trade Dollar ( 5 known). Both of these coins are currently being advertised at $300,000 each. Coins that have sold in a comparable price bracket include the EXTREMELY HIGH RELIEF $20 (about a dozen known—1974 auction sale of $200,000), the 1804 SILVER DOLLAR (13 known—1974 private sale of $225,000), and the 1875 $3 Gold Piece (about 30 known—20 originals and 10 restrikes—1974 auction sale $150,000).

For those that say that territorial gold coins are not really worth as much as regularly issued coins we can only say that the EXTREMELY HIGH RELIEF $20 is not a coin but a pattern, the 1804 Silver Dollar is a fantasy coin (not struck in 1804 but some time later), the 1913 Liberty nickel has been called a die trial, a fantasy coin and a caprice—all agree that it was not struck for circulation.

There is even doubt about the origins of the 1885 Trade dollar (Scott’s Catalogue lists it as a “Simulated Series” coin). Territorial gold coins were real coins, they circulated freely and, in fact, were the only means of exchange in certain areas. They are just as important, if not more so, than the fantasy coins, simulated series coins, patterns and restrikes not to mention regular mint issues.

Rare territorial coinage has sold for significant figures at public auction. In Stack’s Gibson sale last year an 1855 Kellogg $50 slug sold tor $110,.In the Beck sale this year another Kellogg $50 sold for $120,000. There are 13 known Kellogg Fifties.This coin is not a rare variety, it is not an odd denomination, it is not a pattern or trial piece, it is the only coin struck by Dunbar & Co. It is a necessary coin for any territorial gold type set, any California gold type set, or any United States gold type set. It is even listed by Robert Fried berg in his “Gold Coins of the World,” the standard reference for world gold (Friedberg No. 140).

There are only 3 known specimens of this major rarity. One of the other known pieces is permanently impounded in the Smithsonian, the other piece is in the collection of Amon Carter, J r. of Ft. Worth, Texas. Our piece is the only available specimen.

A Dunbar & Co. $5 was missing in even the largest collections; Eliasberg, Clifford, Gibson, and Beck. Mr. Louis Eliasberg has what is believed to be the only complete collection of United States coins. Mr. Eliasberg does not have a Dunbar.

The recently sold Clifford collection was a virtually complete collection of territorial gold coins including some true numismatic classics. The Clifford collection did not have a Dunbar. Stack’s Gibson sale (last year) contained many of the true territorial rarities including a Kellogg $50, a Pacific & Co. $5, a Baldwin $10 Horseman, a Mormon $10, a Conway $21/2 and many unique Mining Ingots. The Gibson sale did not have a Dunbar. The recently auctioned (Feb. 1975) John Beck collection had been laying in a Pittsburg Bank vault for over 50 years. The Beck collection was one of the largest territorial hoards ever assembled and included over 35 $50 gold slugs, 6 Wass Molitor $50 slugs, a Baldwin $10 Horseman, and a Kellogg $50. The Beck sale did not have a Dunbar.

The presently offered Dunbar & Co. $5 gold piece is one of the very rarest territorial gold coins, it is a major U.S. rarity, and it is the rarest gold coin on the market today. The proverbial “one-in- a-lifetime opportunity” has never been more ap¬propriate. We offer this piece of the Old West, the rarest gold coin on the market, for the considera¬tion of the advanced collector-investor at what history may prove to be the bargain price of 200,000.

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