California Gold Rush $50 gold ingots, also known as $50 gold slugs, because these large heavy pieces could knock a man out in a fight, or so the legend goes. In 1851, Moffat & Company, under the direction of the official Assayer of the United States Augustus Humbert, was contracted to strike substantial eight-sided octagonal ingots of pure gold as legal tender.
The first fifty-dollar coins were nearly 2.75 troy ounces of gold. Miners and merchants could deposit gold dust at the Assay Office in San Francisco and obtain fair value in the form of a $50 gold slug, which was recognized as legal tender by most banks and merchants. The Assay Office served as a temporary solution to meet public demand while the San Francisco Branch Mint was being built.
The 1851 and 1852 Augustus Humbert $50 Gold Octagonal Ingot “Slugs” are some of the most dramatic rarities recovered from the S.S. Central America shipwreck and the signature coin of the California Gold Rush. When the San Francisco Branch Mint opened in 1854, the slugs were recalled and discontinued. Today, $50 Gold Ingots are highly desired and a centerpiece in any collection.