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The Mint at Charlotte North Carolina

In 1788 young Conrad Reed found a shiny 17-pound rock in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. His family used the rock for years as an interesting doorstop. That is, until they discovered it was Gold. This Gold find triggered America’s first Gold rush in the early days of the republic while George Washington was President.

From this discovery, Gold mining spread into nearby Carolina counties and southern states. During its peak years, Gold mining employment was second only to farming in the South. Over a million dollars a year was mined in Gold in the early 1800’s. In fact, North Carolina led the nation in Gold production until 1848 when it was eclipsed by the California Gold Rush.  This situation prompted the mint in Charlotte.

No Roads, No Bridges to Philadelphia
Gold mining in the South reached a fever pitch by the 1820’s. But, Gold miners had it tough. Right from the start miners had problems converting their raw, unrefined Gold into coinage they could use to trade for goods. The Philadelphia Mint was weeks away, across Cherokee Indian Territory. In those days, the roads were little more than widened game trails.

3 dollar Gold piece If you sent your raw Gold to Philadelphia, you paid transportation costs and risked loss at the hands of bandits and Indians. If the raw Gold did arrive, it took months before the mint converted them to Gold Coins and returned them over the same dangerous trails.  The miners other option was to sell Gold production to local banks or merchants who generally scalped the Gold miners with a 6% to 10% fee.

Private Mint Strikes Coins in 1831
To solve the problem, the Bechtler family began operation of a private Gold Coin mint in the Carolinas from 1831 to 1857. Gold mines and prospectors supplied the Gold and Bechtler’s minted the Gold Coins. Back then, the Gold Coins were widely accepted in trade. Today, they’re quite rare and highly prized by coin collectors.

Miners Lobby Congress for Southern Mints
President Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans, signed the bill authorizing the opening of an official branch of the Mint of the United States in 1835. On March 28, 1838, the Charlotte Mint struck the first Gold Coins bearing the now famous “C” mint mark as seen below.

2 1/2 D The milling machines, rolling mills, and coin presses were state of the art. The historic $5  Liberty Gold pieces were the first coins minted on the new presses. Later that year, the mint struck $2½ Gold pieces. No coins larger than a $5 coin was ever minted in Charlotte. The first smaller-sized Gold Dollar Coin was struck in 1849 at Charlotte. Smaller sized Gold Coins were preferred by the mining communities of this day. Most coins were exchanged immediately at banks, merchants and frontier trading posts. On the Southern Frontier, green back paper money was frowned upon and Gold was the preferred medium of exchange.

All Surviving Charlotte Mint Coins Are Rare
The record for production was set in 1847 when 84,151 five-dollar Gold pieces were coined. In 1861 only 6,879 half eagles were minted, the final year of operation. From an historic viewpoint, the Gold Coin totals issued by the Mint at Charlotte were quite low. Fewer still have survived from the Pre-Civil War Days till now. In fact, some dates are so rare that only a handful are certified and known to exist. As a result, these are some of the most highly sought after coins in the numismatic world today.

Sadly, most Gold Coins were put into circulation immediately where their Gold surfaces were worn down in the pocket of miners, riding on stagecoaches or being hauled around in wagons. Today, high quality, mint condition Gold pieces from The Mint at Charlotte are extremely rare and hoarded away quickly by investors. Most collectors lock away pieces in Extra Fine to Uncirculated grades, when they can find one.

Abraham Lincoln The Long-Closed, Almost Forgotten Charlotte Mint
After Abraham Lincoln was elected President, North Carolina seceded from the Union in May of 1861. Interestingly enough, minting continued at the Charlotte Mint until it was halted forever in October of 1861. During the Civil War the building was turned into a Confederate headquarters and hospital. When the war was over, the Mint at Charlotte was never reopened as a United States Mint facility.

Today, numismatists agree that all Charlotte Mint surviving coins are very scarce. Many dates are extremely rare and valuable. Because of their combination of early dates from 1838 to 1861 combined with their early American history, Charlotte Mint Gold Coins are highly desirable as long-term investment pieces.

Collectors Love Rare, Charlotte Mint Gold
Charlotte Mint Gold Coins are sought after today by coin collectors, coin investors and museums alike. Most surviving pieces are locked away in collections seldom seen by the public. On those rare occasions when we acquire a Charlotte Mint Gold piece we have a base of Southern Mint collectors who eagerly acquire them for their collections

Charlotte Gold Coins Type Set - 8 Designs
  • Type One Gold Dollar (1849-1853)
  • Type Two Gold Dollar (1855 only)
  • Type Three Gold Dollar (1857 and 1859)
  • Classic Head Quarter Eagle (1838 and 1839)
  • Liberty Head Quarter Eagle (1840-1860)
  • Classic Head Half Eagle (1838 only)
  • Liberty Head Half Eagle, Obverse Mintmark (1839 only)
  • Liberty Head Half Eagle, Reverse Mintmark (1840-1861)

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This site is a "Guide to United States Mint History" and is privately owned for the education and entertainment of coin collectors.  We are not affiliated directly nor indirectly with the United States Mint or any government agency.

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