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
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.
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
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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