Sign In or Create Account

Knowledge Center

Miner’s Bank- San Francisco Gold – 1849

Learn About Miner’s Bank Gold Coins

The Miner’s Bank was one of the first companies to strike private gold coinage for California in 1849. The company was established in 1849 and unlike other California gold minters, the Miner’s Bank also issued several paper banknotes. But the paper was not very well-received in 1849 San Francisco. Gold had been discovered and gold was what was desired!

The Miner’s Bank may have struck coins back East before going to California. In the East, gold was usually alloyed with copper to make them more durable and a number of these Miner’s Bank coins display remnants of copper spots. They also had what we consider normal rims. Later strikes were most likely done in California where Gold was often alloyed with Silver. Harder than Gold, silver worked properly but these coins were struck without a collar holding the coins in place and ensuring uniform rims.  Consequently, these later West Coast coins display raised rims and almost have the appearance of being broad struck.

On the obverse of the coins, there is an American eagle with upraised wings. The eagle very much looks like one of its federal counterparts. There is a shield on the breast and the eagle is holding three arrows in its left talon and an olive branch on its right. Above the eagle is the word “CALIFORNIA” and around the rest of the periphery are thirteen five-pointed stars.

The reverse of this coin has the denomination “TEN. D.” with “MINERS. BANK.” at the top of the periphery and “SAN FRANCISCO” at the bottom of the periphery. 

(An 1849 $10 Gold Coin from the Miner’s Bank of San Francisco, Reverse [left], Obverse [right].)

But problems persisted. The Miner’s Bank $10 Gold Eagles were assayed to only have a fineness of .866 when a minimum of .900 was to be sought – as that was the fineness for all federal gold coinage.  Once the fineness became common knowledge, the gold coins could only trade at as much as a 20% discount. Due to the discount, many of the Miner’s Bank coins went into the melting pot to be refined at a higher and more acceptable fineness.

But now instead of stating that they were coinage of the Miner’s Bank, they were now coins from other minting companies or of the federal government.  Due to this, the Miner’s Bank was dissolved in 1850, only one year after it had been started.

DateTypeMintageVF ValueUnc Value
1849Ten Dollar EagleUnknown$25,000$125,000

Expand your collection today and shop our assortment of rare coins and currency.

Explore More On APMEX



Rare Coins