1849 Oregon Exchange Co (Oregon) $10 Gold `Beaver`. PCGS graded EF-45. Edge cut on the reverse at 4:00. Mintage of 2,850. Rarity-6 with 13 to 16 known per Breen. Production of gold coins by the Oregon Exchange Company consists of two denominations, both dated 1849: $5 and (the far rarer) $10. Engraved by Victor M. Wallace, the dies for the $10 omitted the errors of their $5 cousin by changing T. O. to O. T (for Oregon Territory) and correcting John Campbell`s initial from G to C at the upper obverse border (But the initials for Abernathy and Wilson were removed because, despite their being co-founders of the Oregon Exchange Company, they did not provide any of the money required to purchase the coinage equipment, according to accounts of the period. Operations at the company ceased on September 1, 1849 after only a few short months. These key pieces, as well as the more often seen $5 issue, were made from `native` gold as deposited from the various gold mining districts in California. As a result, the coins were given a premium of up to 10 percent more than Federal issues of the same denominations. These circulated widely in the region from Canada to California and Nevada district and their high intrinsic value may have led to extensive melting. Only about a dozen or so Oregon Exchange Company Ten Dollar gold coins are know, and this is the first example to appear in one of our auctions in awhile. The surfaces display localized abrasions, but the overall appearance is quite a bit smoother than one would expect for gold coin that saw 25 points of wear (assuming a new one would have graded MS70, which is problematic). Struck from the native silver alloyed gold, and as a result the surfaces have a greenish-yellow shade. The imprint that was left by the Oregon $10 dies lacks a certain clarity, but it is normal for this date, and unevenness is seen on the few known survivors. Although the beaver`s fur is only partially evident, all the devices and lettering are readable. This coin`s great rarity dispels any suggestion that collectors will approach the coin casually; it is one of the finer specimens known, made even rarer because there are a half dozen impounded in museums! Pop 2; 2 in AU-55. Only 6 graded by PCGS. NGC has graded a single coin EF-40. (PCGS # 10291).
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