Dahlonega Mint

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Students at North Georgia College practice military drill in front of the former Dahlonega Mint in 1877 or 1878. The college used the building from 1873 until it burned down in 1878. Dahlonega-Mint-1877.jpg
Students at North Georgia College practice military drill in front of the former Dahlonega Mint in 1877 or 1878. The college used the building from 1873 until it burned down in 1878.

Coordinates: 34°31′48″N83°59′14″W / 34.5299°N 83.9871°W / 34.5299; -83.9871 The Dahlonega Mint was a former branch of the United States Mint built during the Georgia Gold Rush to help the miners get their gold assayed and minted, without having to travel to the Philadelphia Mint. [1] :80–81,105 It was located at (34°31.8′N 83°59.2′W ) in Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia. Coins produced at the Dahlonega Mint bear the "D" mint mark. That mint mark is used today by the Denver Mint, which opened many years after the Dahlonega Mint closed. All coins from the Dahlonega Mint are gold, in the $1, $2.50, $3, and $5 denominations, and bear dates in the range 1838–1861.

Contents

Creation

The Mint Act of 1835, established by the United States Congress on 3 March, established "one branch at the city of New Orleans for the coinage of gold and silver; one branch at the town of Charlotte...for the coinage of gold only; and one branch at or near Dahlonega, in Lumpkin County, in the state of Georgia, also for the coinage of gold only." [1] :107

Ignatius Alphonso Few, appointed commissioner, bought ten acres south of Dahlonega for $1,050 (equal to $26,023 today) in August 1835, and hired the architect Benjamin Towns, the lowest bidder at $33,450 (equal to $829,020 today), to construct the mint within eighteen months. Mint machinery was installed in 1837, which included "cutting presses, a fly wheel, a drawing frame, a crank shaft, a coining press, and eighteen annealing pans." The coining press could make "fifty to sixty gold coins per minute." [1] :107–108

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Singleton, opened the mint in February 1838. About a thousand ounces of gold were deposited in the first week, and the first coins consisting of eighty five-dollar gold pieces, were minted on 17 April. [1] :108

Production

Reverse of an 1843 half eagle struck at the Dahlonega Mint 1843-D half eagle reverse.jpg
Reverse of an 1843 half eagle struck at the Dahlonega Mint

The mint produced coins every year from 1838 through 1861. Denominations produced included $1.00; $2.50 (quarter eagles); $3.00 (1854 only); and $5.00 (half eagles).

The Civil War

When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, the Dahlonega Mint was seized by the Confederates. It is believed that after the Confederates took over the mint in 1861, that some gold dollars and half eagles were minted under the authority of the Confederate States Government. The exact number of 1861-D gold dollars produced is unknown, while approximately 1,597 1861-D half eagles were struck. Because of their relatively low mintage, all Dahlonega-minted gold coins are rare. It is generally accepted that gold coins estimated to exceed $6 million were minted here.

Post Civil War

After the end of the Civil War, The United States Government decided against reopening the mint. The building was unused until the founding of North Georgia College in 1873. The mint building was used as the main academic and administrative building for the college until a fire destroyed the original building in December 1878. A new building for the college was erected on the foundations of the old mint building. This building is now named Price Memorial Hall after William P. Price, the founder of the college, and is still used by the college today.

Gold leaf from this area also covers the exterior of the domed roof over the rotunda of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. Local media often refer to the state legislature's activities as what's going on "under the gold dome". After the capitol building was gold leafed citizens of Dahlonega began a campaign to gold leaf Price Memorial Hall after the same fashion as the capitol.

For other United States Mint facilities, see Historical United States mints .

Superintendents

Six men acted as Superintendent of the Dahlonega Mint. [2]

See also

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The Free Jim Mine was a Georgia Gold Rush gold mine located in the town of Dahlonega in Lumpkin County, Georgia, USA. The mine was started by a free African American named James Boisclair, who arrived in the area in the 1830s from Augusta, Georgia. Apparently, Boisclair discovered gold on a tract of land but, under state law, could not purchase the land since he was black, except through a guardian. A local resident, Joseph J. Singleton became his guardian, thus allowing Boisclair to purchase the land and start what would become known as the Free Jim Mine. The mine was operated by Bosclair for many years. Today, the Free Jim Mine lies underneath the present-day Pine Tree Mfg. plant and other nearby businesses within the city limits of Dahlonega.

James Fairlie Cooper was an American minter and soldier.

Joseph Singleton was the first superintendent of the Dahlonega Mint. He became superintendent in 1838 and remained in the position until 1841.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Williams, David (1993). The Georgia Gold Rush: Twenty-Niners, Cherokees, and Gold Fever. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN   1570030529.
  2. Lester, Carl N. "An Illustrated History of the Georgia Gold Rush and the United States Branch Mint at Dahlonega, Georgia". Gold Rush Gallery Inc. Retrieved January 2, 2014.

Further reading

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