Coin Specifications

Category: Territorials
Composition: Gold
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1851 SHULTZ & CO. $5 MS obverse 1851 SHULTZ & CO. $5 MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

In the hectic atmosphere of the California Gold Rush, many partnerships were made and broken in a matter of months. Some have been immortalized, as through the discovery of the S.S. Central America treasure, while others remain obscure. Though it is not as mystery-shrouded as, for example, the Cincinnati Mining & Trading Co., the firm of Schultz &. Co. is remarkably enigmatic for a central player in the field of private California gold coinage.

It is little-known, except perhaps among devotees of California gold, that many of the firms who issued private coinage did not make their own dies. While the "Moffat complex" (Moffat, Humbert, U.S. Assay Office, etc.) did so, other firms turned to Schultz & Co., which began in September or October 1850 not as an assaying firm but a brass foundry. As often was the case with partnerships during the California Gold Rush, there was a significant difference in the principals' ages and what they brought to the firm. Judge G.W. Schultz, today the more obscure figure, had the reputation and financial capital to set up the foundry. He tapped William T. Garratt, a youth in his early twenties from Cincinnati who had learned metalworking in family trade, to handle the back end of the business.

Said business proved enormously profitable for Schultz & Co. Garratt later recounted, in a dictated statement published by Edgar Holmes Adams in Private Gold Coinage of California, 1849-55, Its History and Its Issues:

"We made a great many dies for private coining. Albert Küner, who is still in business here, would do the engraving and I the turning - that is, the machine-work on the dies - for which at the time we would get $100 per day per man on that special job.

"After that, Shultz [sic] took a notion to go into coining for Burgoyne & Co. and Argienti & Co. who were bankers here at that time. They would buy the dust and we would do the coining. We ran for a while, and then Shultz and I separated, he taking the coining establishment and I the foundry..."

It is to be noted that spellings of names often were inconsistent at the time, with "Schultz" and "Shultz" given by different sources. The spelling "Shults" on the coinage itself, however, is singular and almost certainly an error on the part of Mr. Küner, a Bavarian by birth whose long career included a brief stint engraving for Charles Lewis Tiffany (of Tiffany & Co. fame) and the first version of California's Great Seal. Garratt himself was not immune to misspellings, being listed as "Garrett" in sundry places.

An assay by Augustus Humbert showed that the Schultz & Co. five dollar coins, far from being "Pure California Gold" as the reverse legend proclaimed, were alloyed with copper (Garratt gave the figure at 10%, "just enough to make the coin hard enough to wear"), and further, underweight; when word spread, the coins' reputation went to tatters, and a more favorable assessment made at the Philadelphia Mint by William E. DuBois in 1851 came too late. Many of the Schultz & Co. coins were destroyed, and Schultz's coining operation was halted by the California Legislature's prohibition on the striking of private gold coinage on April 21, 1851.

As noted above, the Schultz & Co. firm had dissolved the same month, and while Judge Schultz was left with a worthless coining operation, William T. Garratt still had the foundry, his knowledge, and his business connections. Garratt persevered through the Great Fire that swept through San Francisco in early May 1851 and several other business-destroying disasters to establish W.T. Garratt & Co., a foundry whose bells were installed in churches, fire stations, and schools all around California both before and after his death in 1890.

The bells bearing Garratt's name today are far more numerous than the coins bearing Schultz's. None of the rumored ten dollar coins by the same firm ever have shown up, and as for the five dollar pieces, the cataloger for The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, source of the present piece, gave a census of 15, whereas Heritage suggested 10 to 12 pieces in all grades when it offered an NCS AU Details example as part of The Great Western Collection of Territorial Gold in July 2005. NGC has only two entries in its Census Report, an AU53 and an MS62, while the 10 PCGS Population Report coins range from VF20 to this AU53 example at the top end.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 10/18/2019

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1851 $5 SHULTZ & CO. MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - 150000 162500 242500 - 305000 - - - - - - - - - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The prices listed in the various NGC Price and Value Guides are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. Prices provided are averages, not specific prices for individual coins. Further, because these prices are only updated from time to time, they do not reflect short term pricing trends, which are quite common and are often quite dramatic, given the volatile nature of the collectible coin marketplace. This is especially true for rare coins, where there are fewer sales and greater variations in sale prices. For all of these reasons, the prices in these guides are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and factors that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and — when appropriate — expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Guides. By using the NGC Guides, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the Guides.

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 2
Low Grade: 53
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 53

The chart showing 53 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 8/4/2020 1851 $5 SHULTZ & CO. MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base--------2-------------2
-----------------------
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total--------2-------------2
 --------100%------------- 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1851 $5 SHULTZ & CO. MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base3349356616868694501001210515108891112311456116661289414220156393333333
3164754957306894096371017910639109671123411526120751333614693156393333330
0000001017910639109671123411526120751333614693156393333300
0000001034710764110451134511596124841377815166156393333300
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California Gold 5
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NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The auction prices realized listed in the NGC Auction Central are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. The auction data listed by NGC may occasionally contain typographical or input errors that can result in incorrect prices realized appearing on the NGC website. Therefore, the prices realized listed in NGC Auction Central are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and facts that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and – when appropriate – expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Auction Central. By using the NGC Auction Central, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the NGC Auction Central.