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Clark Gruber Gold - Clark Gruber Gold Coins - Clark Gruber & Company
Clark Gruber Gold Coin

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.

Clark Gruber & CompanyGold 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 1906.

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 crossovers.

Clark Gruber Gold - Clark Gruber Gold Coins - Clark Gruber & Company

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