1851-C Gold Dollar - 1851-C G$1 NGC MS61. This Mint State, Southern branch mint 1851-C Gold Dollar has a strong strike and significant amounts of remaining, bright mint luster. There are full details on Liberty’s hair below the coronet, on the two central numerals of the date, and on the wreath. No wear is present on the coin, in keeping with the grade. The surfaces are original, and clean for the grade. There is a light abrasion mark on Liberty’s cheek, but it does not detract significantly from the overall appeal of this attractive piece.
In the 1790’s gold was accidentally discovered in North Carolina. The first United States Gold Rush took place in the early 1800’s in North Carolina and Georgia. In the area around Charlotte, North Carolina almost 100 gold mines were in operation. Second only to farming, prospecting for gold became the main source of employment in North Carolina. The most gold produced in the United States came from North Carolina until 1848, when it was discovered in California.
The gold that was produced at Charlotte had to be refined and standardized so it would have commercial value. Private mints like the Bechtler’s and Templeton Reid’s opened to assay the new gold and convert it to coinage. In order to standardize this coinage and because transportation to Philadelphia was so poor as a result of bandits, unfriendly Indians, and poor roads, a branch mint in Charlotte was opened in 1836.
Two years later the first half eagle was struck. Quarter eagles were minted later in 1838 and gold dollars in 1849. However, no coins were made in 1845 because there was a fire, and the entire structure burned to the ground. Its last coinage was in 1861, twenty-four years after it opened. During the Civil War, the Charlotte Mint continued coining gold; however, in October of 1861 the building was converted to a Confederate army hospital and headquarters. During Reconstruction, the building was used for offices by federal troops. In 1867 the Mint became an assay office, which remained in operation until 1913. During World War I it was used by the Charlotte’s Woman’s Club and as a Red Cross station. In 1936 the site was relocated south of downtown and became the Mint Museum of Art, which was the first art museum in North Carolina.
All Charlotte Mint coins have the C mintmark on the reverse except for the first two years’ quarter and half eagles, which had them on the obverse between the truncation and the date.
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