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The Southern U.S. Mint at Dahlonega Georgia
Some of the most historic and fascinating coins we offer at Austin Rare Coins, Inc. were produced at the little-known Dahlonega Mint - the Southern U.S. Mint in Georgia.
In the early 1800’s Gold was found in the Southern States. By 1828, Gold was found on the Cherokee Indian land near a city known today as Dahlonega, Georgia. A decade later, Gold mining was a big business in the area. Mining interests lobbied the U.S. Congress to build a nearby mint to cut the costs of moving heavy Gold across a mountainous terrain.
Why Build A U.S. Mint in Dahlonega Georgia?
It was a dangerous journey to the distant Philadelphia Mint or down to the New Orleans Mint. The Southern frontier had few roads and many rivers to cross. Along the way, bandits, highwaymen and Indians were all eager to steal your Gold.
The purpose of a mint facility was to take raw Gold, nuggets, or Gold dust brought in by the miners and convert them 90% fine Gold. Then, to make official Gold coins, liquid Gold was flattened out on rolling mills, made into Gold blanks which were then formed into Gold blanks.
Each coin blank was struck on a mint press using official United States dies and a Gold Coin was created that could easily be traded and was instantly accepted anywhere as real money. A miner would deposit his raw Gold and return a few weeks later to pick up his finished new Gold Coins.
The U.S Mint at Dahlonega opened in 1838. Its mission was to produce Gold Coins for circulation in what was then the Southern Frontier of the United States. The mint was supplied with state-of-the-art steam driven, toggle joint coin presses.
High Quality Coins, Low Mintages
In 1838, the Dahlonega Mint produced it’s first $5 Liberty Gold coin. The Dahlonega Mint struck limited mintages of U.S. Gold Coins only from 1838 to 1861. The “D” Mint Mark distinguishes all coins minted there. Over the span of only 24 years, the Dahlonega Mint struck Gold Dollars, quarter eagles, and half eagles– no larger size Gold Coins were produced due to limitations of the small presses.
Some coins were minted in Dahlonega for one year only like the 1854 three-dollar Gold piece, as shown below. By comparison, the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia produced coins from 1792 to 1933 and many issues of Gold Coins were struck every year and many dates were struck by the millions.
Less Than 1% of the "D" Mint Coins Survive Today
There are several factors that make the Dahlonega Gold Coins popular with collectors today. First is their Southern heritage and the fact that all coins were minted before the Civil War. The extremely low original mintages of Gold Coins make them hard to find today and collectors love anything that's difficult to obtain and that others can't possess. Less than 1% of the original low mintages are believed to have survived in any condition.
For that reason, Gold Coins from the Dahlonega Mint are considered quite rare to collectors today. And there’s the matter of quality. Over 140 years later, the pride and craftsmanship of the mint officials at Dahlonega is apparent in many of the examples from this mint. The area of collecting Southern Mint, Pre-Civil War Gold is highly specialized. Very few coin companies even have a single example available for you to see.
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