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NumisMedia Monthly Article Archive

Our monthly articles detailing specific areas of numismatics for dealers, collectors, and investors of United States Rare Coins

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NumisMedia Monthly

May 2018

Charlotte and Dahlonega Mints:
Often Overlooked but Not Forgotten

       In 1838, both the Charlotte Mint in North Carolina and the Dahlonega Mint in Georgia produced their first coins; both minted Classic $5 Gold coins, while Charlotte began to produce the Classic $2½ Gold coins as well. Both of these mints were built to produce Gold coins from mining in the southern states. The building of these mints was necessary because of the hardships miners faced in converting gold nuggets or dust into cash for commerce. Shipping raw gold to the Philadelphia Mint took weeks and there were many risks involved including potential robberies. Today, most coins from these two mints are so rare that dealers and collectors usually limit their pursuits to a type set of the different denominations.

1838 D $5 Gold AU55 NGC

1838 D $5 Gold AU55 NGC sold for $13,800 at the Heritage Auctions CSNS U.S. Coins Signature Auction in Schaumburg, Illinois, April 25-29, 2018

       Charlotte Mint

       The Charlotte Mint produced just over $5 million face value in Gold coins during its lifetime, commencing in 1838 and closing with their last $5 Gold minted in 1861. A little over 1.2 million coins were minted in total, but the number of survivors is far less making this one of the rarest set of coins from any of the mints.

       The population reports indicates that the number of coins certified is miniscule compared to the original mintage. For example, the 1839 C $2½ Gold had a mintage of 18,140, but today the number of coins certified by PCGS and NGC combined is 406 in all circulated grades and just 19 in Mint State with an NGC MS63 the highest. The current FMV for the MS63 is $63,050, but this is older information, and if the single coin came on the market it would likely command a strong premium.

       Below is a list of the most common dates that would make up a type set of Charlotte Gold for the $1, $2½, and $5 Gold in MS60, including the latest FMV, population for the grade and the population for all the higher grades.

Date/DenominationCurrent FMVPop in MS60Pop-Higher Grades
1851 C $1 Gold TI MS60$3,1902729
1855 C $1 Gold TII MS60$25,310516
1859 C $1 Gold TIII MS60$8,060534
1839 C $2½ Gold Classic MS60$19,060217
1847 C $2½ Gold Liberty MS60$5,630766
1838 C $5 Gold Classic MS60$44,38023
1852 C $5 Gold No Motto MS60$5,310859

       The total FMV for this type set is $110,940, and of these 7 coins there are only a total of 56 coins available in the MS60 grade and with just 2 available for the 1839 C $2½ Gold Classic and the 1838 C $5 Gold Classic. That means there are only a total of 2 sets available in MS60. This almost impossible challenge makes it likely that a collector would have to accept a mixture of grades to complete this type set.

       Dahlonega Mint

       The Dahlonega Mint produced over $5.5 million face value in Gold coins in its lifetime and nearly 1.4 million coins were minted from 1838 to 1861. Again, the survival rate is quite low and one of the reasons is that all of these coins were minted prior to the Civil War and were used principally in the South; what happened to the majority of these coins is mostly unknown.

       Putting together an MS60 set of Dahlonega Gold coins by type can be as challenging as completing a set of Charlotte coins. However, there is one additional hurdle: Dahlonega's one year production of $3 Gold, the 1854 D, making the type set extremely difficult and expensive. There were only 1,120 coins minted of this $3 Gold date and the majority of the surviving coins that have been certified fall into the circulated grades of Good through AU58; there are a total of 215 combined by PCGS and NGC and only 13 coins certified in Mint State with MS62 the highest grade. The assembling of the Dahlonega type set begins and ends with this rare $3 Gold. The current FMV in MS62 is $195,000 and has remained steady at this level for several years.

       The following list contains the most common dated coins for each of the denominations including the $3 Gold in MS60, including population figures for MS60 and all higher grades.

Date/DenominationCurrent FMVPop in MS60Pop-Higher Grades
1849 D $1 Gold TI MS60$4,78011168
1855 D $1 Gold TII MS60$47,190110
1859 D $1 Gold TIII MS60$8,060357
1839 D $2½ Gold Classic MS60$24,690324
1843 D $2½ Gold Liberty MS60$6,690628
1854 D $3 Gold MS60$76,88049
1838 D $5 Gold Classic MS60$30,310119
1853 D $5 Gold No Motto MS60$7,5001062

       The total FMV for the Dahlonega type set in MS60 is $206,100; there are 8 coins in this set with the 1854 D $3 Gold making up over 35% of the total value. There may be 39 coins certified in MS60 for these dates, but there are two dates with only 1 coin certified so only one complete set is available making it likely that collectors would have to mix and match grades to complete a Mint State type set of Dahlonega Gold.

       While demand for coins from these two Mints may not be as widespread as, for example, the popular Carson City Mint coins, there are several dealers who specialize in the Charlotte and Dahlonega Mints and maintain inventories that make an adequate supply of these dates in various grades available to collectors. However, the majority of coins in inventories are in the circulated grades where populations are more plentiful. Completing a set from either of these two mints could take some time, effort, and above all, some creativity.

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