Kellogg Gold - Kellogg Gold Coins - Kellogg & Company
gold mining operation needs refining capacity. Certainly
this capacity was limited in the 1840’s and 50’s
in California. The main problem was the lack of parting
acids necessary to refine the oar. Most California oar had
a high gold content, and it was struck without alloy. However,
the fineness varied from 850 to 925 thousandths.
Gold produced at the U.S. Mint had to be
.900 fine by law. Because the acids were not available,
government coining did not begin until 1854. When the acid
supply diminished, minting operations were suspended. However,
the coining needs continued especially because most low
denomination gold coins had been melted. Kellogg & Co.
was one of the firms that was able to fulfill this need.
John Kellogg, originally from Auburn, New
York, who had been a cashier for Moffat & Co., was asked
by local bankers to mint coins. In its two years of operation,
Kellogg & Co. minted more than six million dollars in
gold. Today the Kellogg twenties are available largely because
of a hoard of 58 coins found in Nebraska in 1907. The story
is that two ranchers hid the coins in 1867 while they were
being pursued by Indians. The coins were found by two boys
who were playing forty years later in the woods near Alexandria,
The 1854 and 1855 Kellogg & Co. twenty
dollar gold pieces resembled the Federal issue coronet motif
design by James Longacre. However Liberty’s coronet
is inscribed KELLOGG & CO. The reverse is inscribed
SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA with the denomination TWENTY D.
In 1855 a round fifty-dollar gold coin was
made, but its mintage was limited to presentation pieces.
It had a Liberty Coronet head facing left surrounded by
thirteen stars with the date below. The reverse showed an
eagle looking up and to the right with its wings raised,
holding a modified federal shield. It is inscribed SAN FRANCISCO
CALIFORNIA. with the denomination FIFTY DOLLS. below. Above
the eagle is a ribbon inscribed 1309 GRS and 887 THOUS.
Only 10 to 12 of these pieces are known today.
However, in 2001 a “commemorative
strike” was made using transfer dies that were prepared
from the originals. The coins were made from gold bars from
Kellogg and Humbert that was recovered from the wreckage
of the S.S. Central America. To differentiate these pieces
from the originals the ribbon in the eagle’s beak
is inscribed S.S. CENTRAL AMERICA GOLD and C.H.S. for the
California Historical Society, the sponsoring agency. The
mintage of the new strikes was 5,000.
Specifications: Edge: Reeded Weight: 33.3 – 33.42 grams (513.9—515.7
grains) Diameter: same as federal coins except
$50.00 - 42.9 millimeters Composition: $20, gold 900 Fine; $50, gold