Collecting Confederate Gold Coins from the Dahlonega Mint

Read the fascinating history of Civil War Confederate gold coins from the Dahlonega Mint in Georgia, and see rare Confederate coin values.

While many people today are interested in Civil War history, not everyone knows about the financial background of this time in American History and its deep connection with the striking and use of coins. The Civil War period has rich numismatic history, including the coins of the so-called “Southern Mints” and Civil War Tokens.

Dahlonega Mint 1861 D One Dollar Gold Coin for Sale

Heritage will be offering an 1861-D $1 gold piece minted by the Confederacy in the February 2021 Long Beach Auction #1327. Graded a lofty AU55, this coin has survived in far better condition than is usually seen. These coins tended to circulate heavily or become damaged, so a nice AU example is a scarce collector’s piece! Expect to see bids around $50,000 or so when this piece crosses the auction block.

Background of Confederate Gold Coins

A little-known fact about the American South is that it had its own gold rush in the 1800s. California was not the only state with major gold deposits. In fact, the Southern gold rush happened before gold was discovered in the West! There were enough gold deposits in Georgia found in the 1830s that it was decided to open a branch mint there to turn this raw gold into coins. By 1838, the first “D” mint coins from Dahlonega, Georgia were being produced.

When Did the Dahlonega Mint Make Confederate Gold Coins?

A couple of decades later, the Dahlonega Mint went through significant turmoil. During the Civil War, the Confederate forces seized the Dahlonega Mint and took over operations in 1861. The Southern forces minted gold coins that are very rare and popular with collectors today, eventually ceasing to produce coins when the bullion supplies on hand were used up. Only a small quantity of coins was produced, and the fascinating story of these coins’ Confederate provenance only adds to their appeal.

Coins from Dahlonega would have already been popular given their intriguing history, but the fact that the mint was a short-lived operation that produced many rarities further heightens collector interest. The mint building burned down in a fire in 1878 and was never rebuilt. This brought the legacy of minting in Georgia to a screeching halt. A bit of the gold that was recovered from the fire was later used to decorate the Georgia State Capitol building as gold leaf, and there is a museum devoted to the Dahlonega mint today, but it never resumed coinage.

How Many Confederate Gold Coins Did the Dahlonega Mint produce?

Surviving mint records reveal that at least 1,250 $1 gold coins and 1,597 $5 gold pieces were minted at Dahlonega in 1861 before the Confederate forces took over. However, the additional strikings by the Confederate forces after the mint was seized were not detailed in surviving records, so the exact mintages are unknown. While the specific quantities struck may not be clear, very few Dahlonega coins dated 1861 remain for collectors today.

What Denominations of Gold Confederate Coins Were Minted, and How Much are They Worth?

Both $1 and $5 gold pieces were struck at the Dahlonega Mint by the Confederate forces. The values vary depending on condition, but all sell for thousands of dollars given their rarity and popularity.

How to get started collecting Confederate gold coins of the Dahlonega Mint

Bidding at auction is a great way to begin collecting coins of the Dahlonega Mint. You can watch for both the 1861-D pieces struck by the Confederacy and those of 1838 and onward struck under federal authority.

Where to Sell Confederate Gold Coins at Auction

If you have any 1861-D gold coins or rare date gold coins to sell, Heritage Auctions can help you to achieve the best possible results by offering your coins on the most popular numismatic website on the Internet. Contact us at coins@ha.com to discuss further!

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Posted by Sarah Miller

Director of Numismatics, New York

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