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1800's Gold Rush USA Cali G Interest


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Hi everyone,

I'm sharing some pictures of this tiny octagonal 1859 1/4 California Gold "coin" i picked up.  I was hoping it might be a real privately minted (aka "real fake") fractional gold coin from the time of the gold rush in the US.  But, I've read mixed reviews some stating that a coin like this is likely a more modern repro and maybe not even gold and others stating that it could be the real thing.  I can't quite figure it out.  If you are into these kind of coins maybe you can advise me. 

If it turns out to be real or even a repro but at least gold (.900) then I won't be too disapointed.  I'd still like to pickup a few of the real ones if I find any because the history sounds pretty cool about how these fractional little gold coins were struck because of a shortage of small denomination official $ currency at the time and a plentiful supply of gold to hand to make up your own coinage.

Some pics of "Cali G":




Edited by dangelo
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Hi @dangelo

I don't think it is good news with what you have. As far as I'm aware that is a repro that you've got either gold plated or made out of brass for the tourist market. The two main reasons that give it away are that the genuine Cal gold didn't have a bear on it and also crucially there is no value on the coin, eg dollars or cents. 

I happen to have a graded octagonal from 1871 which is very similar to yours, however you can see that it says 1/4 dollar as opposed to just 1/4.

Hope that helps and if you Google "California gold with bear" there is quite a bit of info out there. I'm certainly no expert and have just lightly researched and read into the history. Fascinating era and times.

More than happy to be challenged if I've got any wrong and hope you didn't pay too much for it 😀





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Thats a cool coin @silversurf!  It has some authentic wear on it and I like the DOLLAR text it looks a bit amaterish which matches with the coins story.  

I think you are right, I guess I just needed some 2nd opinions to be sure since it's totally something I know nothing about.  Luckily I didn't pay much for it since it came along with a bunch of other coins in deal, the others were all genuine I'm glad to report.  Anyway it's got me interested in the real thing so that's the positive outcome!  It looks like the safest way for me to find a genuine coin like this is to find a graded one that's been checked by pros.  I read the same advice about old US $ coins in general because there are so many fakes.  Sadly, buying only graded ones comes at that added cost.  Anyway, I now keep my eyes open for any for sale.  Cheers!

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Thanks @dangelo. I got mine from auction 2-3 years ago, the first and only time I've ever seen them, apart from Ebay. Would definitely go down the graded route which as you say does incur the extra costs but you do definitely know what you're getting and gives you piece if mind. Maybe put a wanted ad on the forum, you never know what people have tucked away and could be looking to move on.

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