The Horseman, or Vaquero issue – 1850 Baldwin & Co. $10 California Gold Eagle Territorial Coin
With the large number of prospectors, gamblers, storekeepers and settlers pouring into California during the early years of the Gold Rush, coins were in scarce supply. A small number of firms began striking private issue Gold coins to solve the problem. Of course, some of those coins didn’t contain the amount of gold they were supposed to, but that’s another story.
The firm of Baldwin & Co. was founded in San Francisco on March 15th, 1850. They were initially watchmakers and jewelers, but soon advertised themselves as assayers, refiners and coiners. The company produced a significant amount of $5, $10 and $20 territorial gold coins during those early years of the Gold Rush, as such denominations were desperately in need to carry on day-to-day transactions in San Francisco and the mining camps.
Baldwin & Co. struck one of my favorite designs of territorial California Gold Rush coins, the $10 Gold Horseman. It features a Spanish Vaquero (cowboy) on the front, and an eagle on the reverse that was similar in design to the official U.S. gold coins.
Not many of these original coins remain today, and those that do are prized by collectors. For more information and history, click HERE.