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ADAMS & CO.'s EXPRESS & BANKING HOUSE OF SAN FRANCISCO

Adams & Co.’s Express, an express and forwarding agency, opened in San Francisco in October 1849, on the east side of Montgomery Street, north of California Street, with D. H. Haskell in charge.  In 1850, this company entered the banking business.  Some time between October and December 1851, they contracted with Wass, Molitor & Co. to have the latter stamp ingots for them.  There are two known pieces in $5 and $54.33 denominations

From time to time, Adams & Co. absorbed other express companies in California and during 1851 penetrated into the more remote mining districts.  Adams & Co. was the largest and most respected express agency in San Francisco and the West until its failure on February 23, 1855.  It engaged in virtually every type of financial business, from forwarding gold to cashing checks. Unfortunately, the firm was engulfed in the financial panic caused by the alleged bankruptcy of the banking house of Page, Bacon & Company.  Although Page was solvent, the scare resulted in a run on Adams & Co. and the closing of the latter’s doors and those of all its branches in California.

--Reprinted with permission of the author from Donald H. Kagin's, "Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States", copyright 1981, Arco Publishing, Inc. of New York