1851 $50 Humbert 887 (1851 Humbert $50) PCGS Genuine. This genuine and rare fifty dollar buttery slug with a reeded edge has lightly tooled surfaces. A scratch is noted extending from the I in UNITED almost to the L in LIBERTY. The strike is full and sharp with every detail readily apparent.
The obverse, designed by Charles C. Wright, shows an eagle with wings spread partially behind a rock and shield. Behind one wing and in front of the other is a serpent, which is inscribed LIBERTY. Above the eagle is a banner with the legend 887 THOUS, which is the fineness of the gold. The design is encircled with the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with FIFTY DOLLARS below. A circle of beads surrounds this inscription. On the outside of the beads is another inscription AUGUSTUS HUMBERT UNITED STATES ASSAYER OF GOLD CALIFORNIA with the date below. The slug, also called a quintuple eagle and a five-eagle piece, had a target reverse designed by Augustus Humbert.
After the discovery of gold in California, the lack of a standard for assaying and converting oar and dust into coinage led the government to allow Humbert to operate an official assay office in San Francisco. In effect it was a provisional branch mint. Its existence was opposed by bankers who could no longer buy gold dust for six to eight dollars per ounce because Humbert paid sixteen dollars per ounce with a small deduction for manufacturing charges.
All Humbert $50.00 gold slugs are rare. In its population report, PCGS shows a total of only 146 pieces in all grades.
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