Upon hearing of the discovery of gold in California, 61-year old
John Little Moffat and his partners boarded a ship for San Francisco
with the intention of opening an assaying and gold brokerage business.
Their first offerings (circa 1949) were small, rectangular ingots of various
The central punch used on
Moffat & Co. ingots contained three lines. The top line
contained the words "MOFFAT & CO" with a background of
fine vertical lines. The center line was left blank; later, the
fineness (the purity of the gold expressed in Carats) was stamped in
with individual punches. The bottom line contained a dollar sign
against a background of fine vertical lines; later, the value of the
ingot was stamped in (this appears to have been done with individual
punches). This standardized, central punch allowed Moffat &
Co. to make small ingots in a variety of different values. At
present the $9.43 and $14.25 ingots are unique; the $16.00 ingot is very
$16.00 approximated the
value of one ounce of gold circa 1849.
Each of the $16 ingots was
made by pouring molten gold into a small mold of standard size.
Once cooled, the mold was opened and the raised sprue (the round stem
formed by the hole through which the gold was poured) was cut off.
Breen noted: "All show a stem spot on blank r. edge."
This statement is incorrect, as the ingot illustrated above features a
stem spot on the left edge.
The ingots saw limited
circulation because of the often odd denominations, but they served to
prevent much of the cheating typical of transactions involving gold
The finest example graded by PCGS
is a single AU-58.
Story of the Moffat & Company Gold Coins
PCGS AU-55 (illustrated
above). Ex - Humbert - Kellegg - Zabriskie - Chapman, June 1909,
lot 345 - Farouk - Sotheby's "Farouk" Sale, lot 355, unsold -
various intermediaries - U.S. collector
Sources and/or recommended
Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins" by
Walter Breen (purchase a copy by clicking on the title)
"Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States" by
Donald H. Kagin
"The PCGS Population Report,
April 2002" by The
Professional Coin Grading Service