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Unusual California "Gold" Tokens posted by Cal Gold "Token" Guy

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  • Member: Seasoned Veteran

An olympic runner on a California gold token, or how about a dragon...?


Howdy Once Again:


There are a number of California "gold" tokens (most of the ones I am chatting about today are really gilt pieces) which are a bit different from what you might expect. The most common tokens seen on ebay, for example, are of the Indian Head or Liberty Head design, a few Arms of California design, and a few Miner with Pick design.


However, an interesting group of tokens produced around 1932-1936, or thereabouts, reflect special events. The most common of these tokens were those produced for the 1932 Olympic games in Los Angeles. There are two general types, a sprinter and a discus thrower. But there are others. In 1935 such a token was produced for the San Diego California Exposition, and in 1936 a token was produced for the San Francisco-Bay Bridge event that year. There is even an undated token identified as the San Francisco Chinatown token which carries the design of a dragon on the obverse.


Each of these tokens has the same general reverse (a bear, "1/2" and "California Gold"). All are fairly scarce and difficult to find, usually costing over $100.00 and up to $400+ for a really nice example. If you happen to see one, they are always a pretty good investment as they keep going up in value. I purchased a Bay Bridge token in 2003 for $15.00 and now they are selling for, as I said before, $100.00 and up. This $15.00 token came back from NGC as an MS-64 if I remember correctly !!


Mike Locke's California Gold website gives a good description of each of these types of tokens. He has a really good section on the Olympic tokens (who made them, who commissioned them, why they were given away free, etc.).


Thanks for reading and take a look at these tokens in my signature set entitled "California and Related Special Events Gold Tokens." Later. CGTG


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