Charlotte Mint Gold Coins

By | March 5, 2017
Charlotte Gold $2 1/2 Coin

Charlotte Gold $2 1/2 Coin

Many scarce coins, of great interest to collectors and investors, have been produced by several of the minor mints in the US. Most of these mints are no longer producing coinage. The Charlotte, North Carolina mint is one of these. It produced legal tender US gold coinage from 1838 until 1861. Coins struck at this mint have been and continue to be excellent investments.

 

The Charlotte Mint

Sketch of the Charlotte Mint

Sketch of the Charlotte Mint

In the early 1800’s, gold was discovered in North Carolina, almost a half century before the more famous finds in California.  By 1830, mining sites had become very numerous. Miners soon desired a nearby central facility to monetize the finds of their labors. They were particularly concerned about the high costs and theft risks of sending their gold to the Philadelphia Mint.

A now mint was built in North Carolina. In March of 1838 the Charlotte Mint produced its first coins, as half eagle $5 gold pieces. Other denominations soon followed and include gold dollars and gold quarter eagles.

The Charlotte mintmark is “C”. The mintmark appears on the reverse, except for the quarter eagles and half eagles of 1838 and 1839, on which the mintmark appears next to the date on the obverse of the coin.

Charlotte Mint gold coins were produced by the US from 1838 until 1861. In May of 1861, because of the US Civil War, the Confederacy took over the Mint. The last coins were stuck at the mint in 1861.

During its brief history leading up to the Civil War, the Charlotte mint produced slightly over 1.2 million gold coins. No silver coins were struck.

 

Charlotte Coins

1848 US Gold Coin

1848 US Gold Coin

Because of their beauty, scarcity and historical significance, all coins minted by the Charlotte mint are in high demand. They are much sought after by coin collectors, museums and investors. The relative scarcity of many of these coins means that they can command high prices.

Charlotte Mint coins have several peculiarities, which add to their intrigue, investment potential and numismatic attractiveness. Many of the coins were struck with inferior dies and planchets, so some of these coins were minted with poor strikes or other imperfections. For investors and collectors, this only adds to their intrigue.

Additionally, many Charlotte gold coins have a greenish tone to their golden color. This is caused by relatively high silver content in the gold produced from the North Carolina mines.

  • Gold Dollars were struck from 1849 to 1853, 1855, 1857 and 1859. The rarest of these are the 1849-C closed wreath (4 estimated to exist), the 1859-C (75 to 85 known) and the 1850-C (90 to 100 in existence).
  • Gold Quarter Eagles were minted from 1838 to 1844, 1846 to 1852, 1854 to 1856, 1858 and 1860. Most of these are very scarce and some quite rare. Only 50 to 60 specimens of the 1855-C and the 1843-C Small Date are known in existence today.
  • Gold Half Eagles were produced from 1838 to 1861 minus the year 1845. As in the case of the dollars and quarter eagles, many of these dates only have a few tens of coins still in existence, with the most rare being the 1842-C Small Date, the 1840-C, the 1844-C and the 1846-C. No more than 85 of any of these dates are presently known.

 

Tips on Buying Charlotte Mint Gold Coins

Closeup of the Charlotte Mintmark

Closeup of the Charlotte Mintmark

Because they are often hard to find at a good price, the “thrill of the hunt” can be an important motivating factor for many investors. A number of regional coin shops in the southeast United States specialize in Charlotte Mint gold. As is often the case, both eBay and Amazon are excellent sources for these coins, usually selling at or just below market prices by motivated sellers.

 

Resources and Credits

   A variety of sources were used to research this article. Golden Mike would like to acknowledge charlottegold.net and an important source for some of this information. An excellent book on Charlotte Mint Coins, entitled Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint: 1838-1861, by Doulas Winter, is a superb resource and can be purchased here.

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7 thoughts on “Charlotte Mint Gold Coins

  1. David Snodgrass

    I like the way you explained about the mints and why they are no longer in use

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Thank you David. Yes, these minor United States mints are very interesting. And they provide investors and collectors with some really good coins. In addition to the mint at Charlotte, other minor mints include Carson City, Nevada; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Dahlonega, Georgia. In addition to the investment value provided by these coins, the historical significance of these mints is very interesting as well. The United States even had a branch mint in Manila, Philippines during the early part of the last century.

      Reply
  2. Richard H

    Hi,

    When looking to invest in gold are coins the most common method of investment or is it mostly for collectors? I’m thinking that not only do you have the value of the gold itself but the historical value as well.

    I’m always looking for something to invest in, but gold is something I don’t know much about. Like the difference between buying gold stock or real gold. So buying gold coins would fall into the real gold category?

    It’s interesting that the Charlotte Mint gold coins where only produced for small period of time, I could see how the rarity of it would be worth a fortune!

    -Richard

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Richard,

      Thanks very much for commenting here. You ask some very good questions.

      First regarding gold, you can collect gold coins for their numismatic and aesthetic value. You can also invest in gold by purchasing gold coins, gold bars or gold bullion when you feel the price is low (as it probably is now) and then sell later when you can realize a profit. Gold coins are one of the best items that can do both: they form the basis of an interesting hobby and retain the attributes of a good investment.

      Regarding the Charlotte Mint. Indeed, this mint operated only for a short period of US history. Many of these coins are indeed quite rare and much sought after by some collectors. If you can obtain one for a good price, it may reward you with a tidy profit.

      Reply
  3. Tony

    Hi Mike,

    Great informative post on Charlotte Mint Gold Coins!

    I think coin collecting is quite interesting. I have always appreciated items with history because they hold a story and interesting facts. Coins do just that.

    It surprises me that you can find these rare gold coins on Amazon! Not so surprised about eBay as you’d expect that kind of thing on there.

    Given that coins are collectables, do they all carry their own value or is there a standard valuation for all of them?

    Cheers, Tony.

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Hello Tony,

      Thanks for visiting and adding your comments. Gold and silver coins do not have a “standard” value. Their price fluctuates over time based on the supply and demand in the coin market as well as the price of gold and silver. There was a time when gold and silver coins had a static value, but no longer. They are valuable collectibles now and can form the basis of a very good investment.

      Reply
      1. Tony

        Hi Mike,

        No problem, thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Might just have to start getting into coin collecting as an investment… There’s money in it haha. 🙂

        Cheers, Tony.

        Reply

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