Clark Gruber Gold - Clark Gruber Gold Coins - Clark Gruber & Company
With the discovery of gold in Colorado in
1858, prospecting began near the South Platte River. In
October a town named Auraria was founded at the junction
of the Cherry Creek and the South Platte River. Another
town was settled nearby called Denver City, after the governor
of the territory, John W. Denver. Eventually, because of
the discovery of a large quantity of gold near Central City,
Denver City grew and absorbed Auraria.
In 1859, because there was no effective
government, people of the area set up their own government
and territory, which they called the Territory of Jefferson.
It was renamed Colorado in 1861.
nuggets and gold dust were used for commerce because there
was no other medium of exchange. Gold dust brokers paid
twelve to sixteen dollars an ounce, and there were many
abuses. It was impossibly difficult to transport gold to
Philadelphia and equally impossible to transport coins from
Philadelphia back to Colorado because of the danger and
likelihood of stagecoach robbery. To ameliorate these conditions,
the Clark brothers and Emanuel H. Gruber became bankers,
brokers, assayers, and minters. The Clark brothers were
Austin and Milton, the firm’s attorney. Milton went
to Philadelphia to buy dies and other equipment, and in
1860 the firm struck four denominations on July 11th. In
their advertisement in the Western Mountaineer they said
that “The native gold is coined as it is found alloyed
with silver. The weight will be greater, but the value the
same as the United States coin of like denominations.”
In the summer and fall of 1860,
they coined $120,000. However, they found that this first
coinage was too soft and didn’t wear well. To remedy
this situation, they add a small amount of alloy but kept
their gold content one percent above the federal standard.
No one could accuse them of debasing their product.
The coins are inscribed PIKES
PEAK GOLD DENVER. This inscription refers to the location
of the mint rather than the source of the gold. Most of
the gold came from the Central City area and towns west,
not from Pikes Peak despite the use of it as a motif on
some of the coins.
In 1862 the company switched
from making coins to making gold bars or ingots. These were
accepted at the value stamped nationwide and in Europe.
The next year the federal government bought out the firm
and opened a federal assay office. It became a branch Mint
In 1860 four denominations
were issued. All had the same reverse motif, a heraldic
eagle facing left with the denomination below. The quarter
and half eagles were inscribed PIKES PEAK GOLD DENVER. The
eagle and double eagles were inscribed CLARK GRUBER &
CO. There were two obverse motifs used. The lower denominations
had a Liberty Head Coronet facing left. On the coronet was
the company name. The eagle and double eagle had a Pikes
Peak motif with the inscription PIKES PEAK GOLD with the
denomination below. The word DENVER was below the mountain.
In 1861 the three lower denominations used the coronet motif
combined with the heraldic eagle reverse. The inscriptions
were the same as the previous issue. The double eagle, however,
also used the coronet motif and an adaptation of the reverse
of the federal issue double eagle, which included the double
banner, oval of stars above, and rays behind the oval.
All Clark, Gruber & Co.
gold is rare. In its population report PCGS has a total
of 124 quarter eagles for both years in all grades, 145
half eagles, 224 eagles, and 31 double eagles. NGC has 84
quarter eagles, 103 half eagles, 143 eagles, and 12 double
eagles. These numbers do not account for resubmissions and