C Bechtler $5 K-15 Beaded w/150 G MS (PCGS# 10118)

2012 May 30- June 3 US Coins Signature Auction- Long Beach #1171

  • Auctioneer:
    Heritage Auctions
  • Lot Number:
    5402
  • Grade:
    AU55
  • Price:
    $43,125.00
Lot Description
(1831-34) $5 C. Bechtler Five Dollar, 150G. 20C. AU55 NGC. K-15, R.7. Although the lower-denomination Bechtler gold coins, the gold dollars in particular, are a regular occurrence at Heritage, the K-15 five dollar gold pieces are exceedingly rare, as the R.7 rating indicates. The elder Christopher Bechtler, his son August, and nephew (also named Christopher) produced a wide range of coinage from 1831 until roughly 1852. Although the Bechtlers operated their mint in Rutherford County, North Carolina, they marked the source of the gold in their coins in various ways, including N CAROLINA, NORTH CAROLINA, and CAROLINA; RUTHERF. and RUTHERFORD CAROLINA; CAROLINA GOLD; and RUTHERF. and RUTHERFORD GEORGIA GOLD. The Bechtler family also marked the relative weight and fineness on their products, increasing trust in the regional populace and further encouraging the coins to circulate. The present K-15 variety is marked RUTHERFORD COUNTY S C. BECHTLER, ASSAYER on one side, and NORTH CAROLINA GOLD on the other, along with 5 DOLLARS and 150G. 20C. in the middle. A beaded border surrounds each side, as NGC notes on the holder. The Bechtler half eagle content of 150 gn of 20-carat (20/24ths pure) gold works out to 125 gn or 8.1 gm of pure gold; the federal standard for a half eagle of the 1831-34 timeframe was 123.75 gn (8.02 gm). In other words, the Bechtler K-17 five dollar gold coins contained slightly more gold than the contemporary federal Capped Head half eagles, a series legendary for its low survival rates due to almost universal melting. This Choice AU piece shows plenty of luster remaining over yellow-gold surfaces that show almost no abrasions without the aid of a loupe, and even then, the scattered marks and scrapes are undistracting. It seems a near-certainty that this piece was held back from circulation for unknown reasons, thus escaping the dual fates of melting or circulation until it became unrecognizable. Listed on page 373 of the 2012 Guide Book. Census: 1 in
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