Moffat & Co. was a prominent gold minter in the California Gold Rush. The federal government also took help from them when San Francisco Mint was being set up, Founder John Little Moffat, had a lot experience in his field.
After issuing impractical gold rectangular ingots, Moffat & Co. joined hands with the engraver of California’s State Seal, George Albrecht Ferdinand Kuner. Moffat & Co. got to play the Assay Office’s duties in 1850 in California. In 1851, Augustus Humbert stamped the Assay Office’s first $50 octagonal coin-ingots which were equal to US gold coins even though they were not officially recognized as coins. Lower-purity $5, $10, and $20 private gold coins became less popular, and people started using gold dust for transactions. Moffat and Humbert started issuing $10 and $20 gold coins again in 1852.
1850 $5 Moffat is popular among collectors. It looks similar to the 1850 U.S. Half Eagle. The Liberty head and the inscription “Moffat & Co.” is used instead of “Liberty” on the obverse. The reverse features an eagle with the text “S.M.V. California Gold” instead of “United States of America.” Collectors trust the quality standards of these coins and invest in them even today. Since many of these coins were melted down, MS 1850 $5 Moffat coins have been declared very rare.
Image Courtesy PCGS Coin Facts