SCHULTZ & COMPANY
PIONEER GOLD COINS
The firm of Schultz & Co., owned by Judge G. W. Schultz and William Thompson Garrett, originally operated a foundry, located on Clay Street in back of Baldwin’s San Francisco coining establishment. Garrett was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, and moved to Baltimore and Cincinnati, before ambitiously leaving at the age of twenty for the West Coast gold fields. He traveled down the Mississippi and sailed the water route to the Isthmus of Panama, which he crossed to take passage on the whaler Norman.
The young adventurer landed in San Francisco on July 20, 1850, and immediately proceeded to the gold fields where he spent two weeks placer mining on the Big Bear Creek near Nevada City. However, the long trip from Cincinnati had adversely affected his health and he was compelled to abandon the rigorous life of a miner. Garrett eventually drifted to Sacramento where he obtained employment with Messrs. Wamer & Farrell, brick manufacturers and old friends of his family.
Judge Schultz, of whom very little is known, had knowledge of Mr. Garrett’s past experience as a foundry worker in Cincinnati, and asked Garrett to join him as the working partner in a foundry business in San Francisco. Some time in September or October the two formed the partnership of Schultz & Co., a metalworking shop and foundry. While Schultz provided the capital, Garrett set up the machinery to forge the dies for most of the private coiners in San Francisco except Moffat & Co. Albert Kuner did the engraving for these dies while Garrett did the turning of the hubs, for which he received $100.00 a day.
Not long after, Schultz decided to go into the coining business in conjunction with the banking houses of Burgoyne & Co. and Argenti & Co. There are no known coins bearing either of these two banks’ names, though a rectangular ingot exists with the stamped value of $38 and dated 1851, reading “F. ARGENTI & CO” on the obverse and “SHULTS & CO” inscribed on the reverse. It is possible that only ingots (i.e., not coins) were cast for these two companies. Being bankers, they were interested in having their purchased dust formed into ingots to facilitate commercial transactions and eventual transport to a United States mint.
Schultz & Co. then began minting its purchased dust into gold coins bearing the “Shultz & Co.” inscription. More than one biographer claims that Schultz & Co. made both $5 and $10 pieces, although we know only of the existence of a $5 gold piece, which was issued from January to April 1851.
Garrett, in a dictated statement to Edgar Adams, claimed that only 10 percent copper alloy was used for his gold coins and that that did not reduce the value of the coins. The coins of Schultz & Co., however, were not worth the $5 which he claimed, according to the assay tests of Eckfeldt and DuBois which found them to be worth only $4.87.
All coins and the ingot from this company bear the inscription “Shults & Co.” due to Kuner’s incorrect spelling of Judge Schultz’s name on the die. Adams spelled his name both Shultz and Schultz, and two biographers of Garrett spell his partner’s name “Schultz,” while a third spells it “Shultz.” Most scholars today agree that the name should be spelled Schultz.
After a short time together (until April) the partnership of Schultz & Co. dissolved, with the former partners moving from Clay Street to Leidesdorff Street, near Sacramento Street, where Schultz concentrated on the coining end of business while Garrett operated a foundry. The Judge started minting again only a short time before the California Legislature passed an act regulating the coining of money by individuals on April 21, 1851.
Schultz eventually left for the mountains and became associated with the Gold Mountain Quartz Mining Company. Garrett’s foundry burned to the ground along with the majority of the city in the great fire of May 3-4, 1851. He was to have two more establishments burn before he finally established one of the most successful brass and bell foundries in California. On January 14, 1890, Garrett died of a heart attack.
--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