14 December 2000
Highly Important Wass, Molitor $10
W.W. Light Counterstamp
1852 Wass Molitor & Co. $10 gold. With counterstamp on reverse of W.W. LIGHT DENTIST 1852. K-4. EF-40. Early obverse die state with no visible cracks. Even light yellow gold retains some original lustre. Boldly counterstamped across central reverse device with W.W. LIGHT DENTIST from a single puncheon.
Certain of the comments given for the preceding lot apply to this also. W.W. Light advertised extensively and seems to have been one of the most prominent citizens of Sacramento-being noted in newspapers, directories, and elsewhere. This piece combines multiple elements of numismatic desirability including that of a California "store card," that of a rare Wass, Molitor $10, that of the S.S. Central America pedigree.
William W. Light was born in Ohio and traveled to California in 1849. He arrived in Sacramento in the fall of that year and soon began directing the annealing and striking operations at the coining establishment of J.S. Ormsby & Company, the first private mint in California.
After his time working in the Ormsby Mint and as an independent miner, he resumed his practice in dentistry, in Sacramento and later in San Francisco. His countermark advertising his dentist's office is known on a variety of U.S. and foreign coins, as well as on half eagles produced at the mints of Moffat & Company and Wass, Molitor & Company.
This present piece is of unparalleled historical importance, a memento not only of the wreck of the S.S. Central America but of one of the more interesting characters to engage in the minting of California private gold.
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