Greetings, fellow numismatists! Today, let’s delve into the fascinating world of California Fractional gold coins. These tiny but valuable pieces of history were minted during the California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century, and they continue to captivate collectors and enthusiasts to this day.

But first, let’s go back in time to the Gold Rush era. In 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in California, setting off a frenzy of gold fever that drew thousands of fortune-seekers to the region. These hopeful prospectors needed a way to easily trade and exchange their newly found gold, and thus the California Fractional Gold Coins were born.

These coins were typically minted in denominations of 25 cents, 50 cents, and one dollar, and were made of 90% pure gold. They were small enough to fit in a pocket, making them ideal for everyday use, and were widely accepted as currency throughout California.

One of the most notable producers of California Fractional gold coins was the firm of Augustus Humbert and his partner, John G. Kellogg. These two gentlemen created a variety of coins, including the famous “slug,” which weighed in at 50 dollars and was used primarily for large transactions between banks.

Despite their popularity, the production of these coins was short-lived, lasting only from 1852 to 1882. The US government eventually stepped in and put a stop to their production, citing concerns over counterfeit coins flooding the market.

Today, California Fractional gold coins remain highly sought after by collectors and investors alike. Due to their limited mintage and historical significance, they can fetch high prices at auctions and coin shows.

So, if you’re looking for a piece of Gold Rush history to add to your collection, keep an eye out for these tiny but valuable coins. And if you happen to come across one with a good joke or pun inscribed on it, well, that’s just a bonus.


Bowers, Q. David. A Guide Book of California Fractional Gold Coins. Whitman Publishing, 2019.
Kagin, Donald H. Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States. Arco Publishing Company, 1981.
The California Historical Society. “Gold Rush: The California Gold Rush.”
Taxay, D. (1983). The U.S. Mint and Coinage (revised edition). Arco Publishing Company, Inc.