1854 Kellogg & Co. $20
Post Lot Text
Die notes: Obverse and reverse dies a copy of the federal issue, but in much higher relief (especially the portrait) and with the coronet inscribed KELLOGG & CO, with no period after the O (CO). Portrait of Liberty probably made from a punch, but different in many details from that used on the following 1855 coin. Date from single punches; italic 5; 4 is too high. o Reverse with 2nd arrowhead lacking a shaft, with the arrowhead tiny and squeezed between arrows 1 and 3. Die state: Perfect dies. PCGS Data: Tied with one other for finest of three examples from the S.S. Central America treasure certified by PCGS.Kellogg & Co.The latest major entry in the field of California private coinage was Kellogg & Co. of San Francisco, which produced its first coins in 1854. John Glover Kellogg, of Auburn, New York, came to San Francisco on October 12, 1849. He secured a position with Moffat & Co. and remained with them during the operations of the United States Assay Office of Gold. When the latter institution discontinued business on December 14, 1853, and began the changeover of facilities that would lead to the opening of the San Francisco Mint, Kellogg formed a new partnership with G.F. Richter, who earlier had worked with the United States Assay Office as an assayer. On December 19, 1853, the San Francisco Herald carried this advertisement: "ASSAY OFFICE. The undersigned, who have been connected with the United States Assay Office from its commencement, have opened an office for melting and assaying gold in the basement of J.P. Haven's Building, No. 106 Montgomery St., one door of Lucas, Turner & Co.'s banking house and nearly opposite Adams & Co. Kellogg & Richter." (The affairs of Lucas, Turner & Co. were managed by William Tecumseh Sherman, who would later achieve fame as a Civil War general on the Union side.) On January 14, 1854, a number of leading banking houses of San Francisco and Sacramento addressed a petition to Kellogg & Richter imploring them to produce coins, in the period after which the United States Assay Office of Gold had ceased operations and before the United States Mint at San Francisco had begun. The merchants indicated their willingness to receive any coins that would be produced. Kellogg & Richter jumped at the opportunity, and on February 9, 1854, the first Kellogg $20 coin was issued. Following the opening of the San Francisco Mint production at the government facility was quite limited. Kellogg & Co. therefore did a large business by continuing their private coinage. Toward the end of 1854 the firm of Kellogg & Richter was dissolved and a new firm, Kellogg & Humbert, took its place, with Augustus Humbert, formerly the United States assayer connected with Moffat, joining. This partnership continued until 1860, although the last coins were struck in 1855. Certain gold ingots of the Kellogg & Humbert firm are among the S.S. Central America items in the present sale-such pieces being virtually unknown of to numismatists before the discovery. Edgar H. Adams wrote that Kellogg & Co. was credited with having produced $6 million worth of $20 gold pieces during its time, and that a large number of these were lost "by the sinking of a steamer in the Pacific on its way from San Francisco to New York." This account has been repeated in other numismatic texts. However, it seems that the S.S. Pacific was not outbound from San Francisco with treasure, but, instead, was lost at sea without a trace after departing from Liverpool, headed toward New York City. Likely, it had little if any California gold aboard. Thus, Adams seems to have confused his information. The Kellogg $20 coins were seen in circulation long after 1854-5. In the second half of the 20th century a few pieces, well worn, turned up in Swiss bank holdings!