Robert B. writes: I’m looking for information on a commemorative coin my Grandmother had. The coins is 8 sided, one side has a Eagle with wings open, the wording on it is Thompson’s Restaurant California 1856 to 1906. On the other side it states that the coin is of the same size and waight as the 1851 $50 gold piece, that were of $300 value at the time, I’m guessing 1906. The coin looks to be made of Gold, but we have not had it tested.
Advertising tokens made up to resemble $50 gold pieces from the U.S. assay office in San Francisco were and are fairly common, especially in the western United States. Exonumia collectors enjoy collecting these tokens as they are historically interesting. It is doubtful that this token was struck in gold as advertising tokens were made to give away. $50 in gold (slightly less than 2 1/2 troy ounces) in 1906, would have represented about 8 weeks salary for an average worker.
You can check for gold content by performing a specific gravity test. This is non destructive and, if minted in gold, will allow you to determine the actual fineness.