1848 Liberty Head Quarter Eagle. CAL. AU-53 (PCGS).A beautiful, minimally circulated survivor of this classic issue with direct links to the California Gold Rush. Vivid golden-rose patina blankets both sides, the surfaces of which retain plenty of original satin to semi-reflective luster. A bit lightly struck on the high points of the eagle, typical of the issue, yet with much of the wing plumage bold and the obverse sharply detailed throughout. Attractive in all regards, this historic coin would serve as a highlight in the finest gold cabinet.<p>In 1848 some 230 or so ounces of gold bullion from the recently discovered California gold fields was sent to Secretary of War William L. Marcy by Colonel R.B. Mason, acting military governor of California. Marcy turned the bullion over to the Mint, where it was used to strike 1,389 quarter eagles. In order to denote the origin of the gold used for this special limited mintage, the letters CAL. were punched into the upper reverse field above the eagles head on all the specimens struck. This distinguishing feature marks the 1848 CAL. quarter eagle as our nations first commemorative issue, produced 44 years prior to the 1892 Columbian Exposition half dollar.<p>Given the popularity of the California Gold Rush era with numismatists and other collectors, the 1848 CAL. has long enjoyed strong demand. Indeed, the acquisition of an 1848 CAL. quarter eagle is a defining moment in the formation of any collection. Survivors are scarce, and appearances on the open market are rare, so much so that even the offering of a lower grade example represents an important opportunity. As a superior quality AU with strong eye appeal, the present coin is sure to see spirited bidding at auction. Ranked #54 in the influential reference <em>100 Greatest U.S. Coins</em> by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth.From the E. Horatio Morgan Collection. Earlier from our (Stacks) session of Auction 87, July-August 1987, lot 877.