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Token: US One Half California Gold  1852
Token: US One Half California Gold 1852

The subject of California fractional gold coins and tokens is very complex. Originally, during the famous California gold rush of the mid 1800s, fortune seekers found themselves in then-remote California with a little gold, but no money. Standard US gold coinage denominated as low as 2 1/2 dollars, but that was way too much for small transactions. Private mints started making small 'fractions of a dollar' gold tokens worth (usually) 25 and 50 cents. Original Cal Gold coins and tokens are avidly collected and are worth hundreds or thousands of US dollars today. A good place to learn about them is Mike Locke's page.

The subject token, shown in our picture, is not an original item from 1852. Instead, it was minted much later and back-dated to 'gold rush' times. It is not pure gold, but a low-quality gold alloy. It does not bear the denomination 'one half dollar' as that would violate Federal law. It is very thin, very small, and weighs very little. Typical values for the pictured token run like this:

worn: $10 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $20
well preserved: $35

To further complicate the subject, many Cal Gold fakes and counterfeits were manufactured to sell to tourists and as gifts and souvenirs. These are generally worth $1 or $2.

Coin: 21578 , Genre: Tokens
Requested by: Tania, Tue, 20-Sep-2016 01:41:42 GMT
Answered by: Paul, Wed, 21-Sep-2016 01:55:32 GMT
Requester description: 1852 Front: profile of lady with long curly hair and a tiarra of somekind. 13 stars or flowers around the lady's head.
Back: ONE-HALF CALIFORNIA GOLD is written around the outside of coin, a wreath is in center of the back of coin, 1852 appears in the wreath.
Tags: token one half california gold jetton jets jeton ietton tokens exonumia jet jetons ones au goldish golden goldenen lady woman curly squiggle hair tiarra crown 13 stars star flowers flower head wreath center offcenter femal women female feminine fem womans females womens ladys princess ladies squiggles scribbles curl swoosh squiggly squigle swirl bowed twirly scribble curlicues curve curved curlycue curvy curving swirls curls squiggley sqiggles swirly curves hairdo hairline crowned tiara crowns crowning tiera starrs florets blossom fler fleurs lises petals leis lisse flowerettes flur stems trefoils floral lily petels orchid lis posy bouquet flour orcid bud lilly fleur lei petal bloomed trefoil floret floer stem flowery lilys fluer fleures pedals wreathed rief reif reef wreathe wreat garland wreth wreah wreaths off offset certer centre centers centered

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Sun, 23-Jul-2017 10:45:12 GMT, unknown: 20088201