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Gold Rush!

Gold Rush!

Rago’s Samuel Grillo on Gold U.S. Coins in Rago’s December Auctions

15 November 2017

by Rago Coins and Currency Cataloger, Samuel Grillo

The majority of coins produced in the United States today are minted in three main cities: Denver, San Francisco and Philadelphia. This was not always the case. Throughout American history, there have been mints in many U.S. cities. Several noteworthy coins in Rago’s December auction come from the now defunct Charlotte and Dahlonega Mints.

In the period before the civil war, the mints at Charlotte and Dahlonega were used exclusively for the production of gold coins. Given its proximity to the first gold mine in the United States, the Charlotte Mint was a natural choice. From 1835 until its capture by the Confederacy in 1873, it produced approximately $5 million in gold coins. While the Confederacy attempted to maintain production at the mint, they were forced to halt as the Southern economy faltered under war-time stress.

Examples of gold coins struck in Charlotte feature a ‘C’ mint mark and can be found mostly in denominations of one, two and a half, and five dollars. These are quite desirable in today’s market and often fetch high prices due to their extremely low mintage.

U.S. 1857-C TYPE 3 $1 GOLD COIN
Est. $3,000 – 5,000

Lot 851, a Type 3 1857-C $1.00, is a perfect example from Charlotte. Only 13,280 were minted and most were struck poorly. 1857-C’s are extremely difficult to find in high grade and are rarely seen exchanging hands. This one, even graded AU55, shows a weak strike.

Lot 827 - U.S. 1846-C $2.5 GOLD COIN

Est. $4,000 – 6,000

Another fine example from the Charlotte Mint is lot 827, an 1846-C $2.50 gold coin. A rarity at any grade with a mintage of less than 5,000, lot 827 is NGC graded AU53. Examples of the 1846-C $2.50 do not often come up for sale in today’s market.

Georgia’s Dahlonega Mint also opened around 1835, coincident with the Georgia Gold Rush. Coins minted at Dahlonega feature a ‘D’ mint mark, much like coins produced today in Denver. Dahlonega only produced gold coins in four denominations; one, two and a half, three, and five dollars. The mint produced coins until 1861 before, like Charlotte, it too was overtaken by the Confederacy. Dahlonega minted coins are quite prized in the modern market due to their extremely low mintages.

Lot 824 - U.S. 1839-D $2.5 GOLD COIN

Est. $4,000 – 6,000

Though not a problem free coin, Lot 824 is an excellent example of a Dahlonega $2.50 gold coin. One of approximately 13,675 minted, it is very difficult to obtain in high grade. It is also the only capped-bust quarter eagle struck at Dahlonega that also has the mint mark located on the obverse.

Lot 852 - U.S. 1858-D TYPE 3 $1 GOLD COIN

Est. $1,600 – 1,800

With a mintage of only approximately 3,477, Lot 852 features a Type 3 1858-D $1.00 gold coin, an excellent example for the collector attempting the daunting and expensive task of assembling a set of C and D gold coins.

Discover more rare numismatic delights in the online catalog for our December 2 Coins and Currency Auction.