AND TERRITORIAL GOLD
The expression private gold, used with reference to coins
struck outside the United States Mint, is a general term.
In the sense that no state or territory had authority to coin
money, private gold simply refers to those interesting necessity
pieces of various shapes, denominations, and degrees of intrinsic
worth that were circulated in isolated areas of the United
States by individuals, assayers, bankers, and so on. Some
will use the words territorial and sfafe to cover certain
issues because they were coined and circulated in a territory
or state. While the state of California properly sanctioned
the ingots stamped by F.D. Kohler as state assayer, in no
instance were any of the gold pieces struck by authority of
any of the territorial governments.
The stamped fifty-dollar and other gold coins, sometimes called
ingots, but in coin form, were made by Augustus Humbert, the
United States Assayer of Gold, but were not receivable at
face value for government payments, despite the fact that
Humbert was an official agent. However, such pieces circulated
widely in commerce.
Private coins were circulated in most instances because of
a shortage of regular coinage. In the western states particularly,
money became so scarce that the very commodity that the pioneers
had come so far to acquire was converted into a local medium