1852 Wass, Molitor & Co. $10
Long Neck, Large Date
From former Dubosq die!
First catalogue publication of research
Post Lot Text
Die notes: Obverse is stylistically similar to the federal issues and most other private California issues of the era; Liberty Head with 13 stars surrounding, date below. In the present instance, W.M. & Co. on coronet. Date 1852 below. From the 1850 Dubosq $10 die, now changed to read W.M. & Co. and dated 1852, as described above.. o Reverse with federal-style perched eagle at center, S.M.V. [STANDARD MINT VALUE] CALIFORNIA GOLD above, TEN D. below. Reeded edge. o This identical reverse die was used earlier to coin the 1850 Dubosq & Co. $10 (see earlier offering). Die state: Perfect dies. PCGS Data: This is the single finest of 9 examples from the S.S. Central America treasure certified by PCGS.Wass, Molitor & Co. Among the private issuers of gold coins in San Francisco Wass, Molitor & Co. was one of the most important, although their initial coin production did not begin until relatively late, in 1852, as an expansion of the assaying and refining business established in autumn 1851. The principals of the firm, Count S.C. Wass and A.P. Molitor, Hungarians, earlier were engaged in refining and assaying in the same city. The Daily Alta California of January 8, 1852 noted: "The day before yesterday we were shown a piece of the denomination $5 which Messrs. Wass, Molitor & Co. are preparing to issue from their assay office, Naglee's Building, in Merchant St. It has the head and stars like the American coin, with the letters WM & CO. in the place occupied by the word LIBERTY on our National currency. Below is the date, 1852. On the reverse is the eagle, with the words 'In California Gold-Five Dollars' around it. The coin has the pale yellow appearance which is peculiar to the private coinage of the State, and which is caused by the silver alloy natural to the gold, whereas the issues from the United States Mint are slightly alloyed with copper." On the same date another newspaper, the San Francisco Herald, commented, here quoted in part: "The very serious inconveniences to which the people of California have been subjected through the want of a mint, and the stream of unwieldy slugs that have issued from the United States Assay Office have imperatively called for an increase of small coins. The well known and highly respectable firm of Wass, Molitor & Co. have come forward in this emergency, and are now issuing a coin of the value of $5 to supply the necessities of trade. Their coining establishment, located in Naglee's fireproof brick building in Merchant St., is now complete, being provided with the most powerful and improved machinery for such purposes. "The high reputation for honor and integrity enjoyed by Count Wass and his associates in this enterprise is additional guaranty that every representation made by them will be strictly complied with. The public will be glad to have a coin in which they can feel confidence, and which can't depreciate in their hands. The leading bankers, too, sustained and encouraged this issue, and will receive it on deposit. Among others are the heavy houses of Adams & Co., Burgoyne & Co., and Page, Bacon & Co. "Messrs. Wass, Molitor & Co. coining establishment, which is entirely disconnected from the smelting and assaying office, now in active operation, is capable of turning out from $7,000 to $8,000 in five dollar pieces per day." This appeared in the San Francisco Herald on January 17, 1852: "We gave a detailed description a few days ago of the new five dollar piece issued by this enterprising firm. Since then they have prepared a die for coining Ten Dollar pieces, some of which we have seen struck off. They are superior in mechanical execution to the five dollar pieces, and will compare favorably with any coin now on the market. They are similar to the smaller coin, with the exception of being stamped on one side, 'SMV (standard mint value) Ten Dollars.' A quantity of their coin has been sent on to the Mint, by the bankers who receive it, so that by an official assay the public may be entirely satisfied that it is worth all that it purports to be."