CALIFORNIA "MODEL" SERIES
PIONEER GOLD COINS
No information is available on these small coins except for their date – 1849. Since they are much smaller than other private issue of the same denominations, they may never have been intended for circulation.
They may also have served as counters in one of the numerous gambling establishments in San Francisco, but this is unlikely as almost all counters were of regular coin size.
Their fabric is similar to the British “model” coins, known to be of mid-19th century origin. The latter come either dated 1844 or undated, and were made by Joseph Moore to represent his proposal for physically more convenient coinage.
--Reprinted with permission of the author
from Donald H. Kagin's, "Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the
United States", copyright 1981, Arco Publishing, Inc. of New