||Darwin, CA - Defiance Mining Company pay at their Office in Darwin, Inyo County, Cal. $20 No Date (ca. 1876). Remainder. PCGS Choice About New 55. This is a very rare and handsomely printed piece of mining scrip. We consider the approximate date to be accurate due to our experience cataloging four issued notes (three from the same old time collection). This was printed locally, lithographed on one side of bond paper, with the imprint of Coso Mining News Print. Simply styled with black typeset, green undertint vignettes and a central protector. There is a dog's head at left and cow's head at the right, both in ovals. In the center is a distinctive undertint with a large "$20.00." The title curves across the top with the denomination in the center. The obligation at bottom center has the text "...by check for United States Gold Coin on San Francisco." Founded by Darwin French, an early explorer of the region, Darwin was better known to non-Californians as "Death Valley." In 1874, large deposits of lead and silver were discovered and Darwin boomed overnight. The Defiance Mine became the principal mine of the district, and by the end of 1875 the town had two smelters, twenty working mines, 200 frame houses, and seventy-eight listed businesses. All that with a population of only 700. The water had to be shipped in from the nearby Coso Mountains, where other mines were located. Of course, the mines began to be depleted in 1876 (when known issued notes are observed from this location), with the Defiance smelting furnace shutting down. New strikes in Bodie and Mammoth City, around 1878, prompted the remaining miners to abandon Darwin. Any last chance of mining fizzled out by 1907, and Darwin is a ghost town today. This is only the second $20 remainder observed. The other was sold in the October 2007 Ford XX Sale, Lot 3026, for $3,450. There also four issued notes, including a damaged $20 example (which realized $1,762.50 at our 2013 CSNS sale). The issued notes in nicer condition were sold at our 2010 Memphis sale for prices ranging from $4,600 to $5,060. That is the confirmed population for this interesting and historic mining currency type. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
Realized $1,880.00. Newman VI (Heritage Auctions, 4/2015), lot 19437. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.