The Charlotte Branch Mint
Charlotte, North Carolina: 1838-1861
Shortly after gold had been discovered in North Carolina, miners in the area began calling for a facility which would make disposal of the yellow metal more convenient, economical and safe. By 1830, mining localities had become very numerous.
Miners had good reasons for petitioning that a United States facility be built in their midst. Before 1830, anyone wishing to dispose of unrefined gold was faced with rather unfavorable options:
If sent to the Philadelphia Mint he must pay transportation costs as well as risk theft in route. If the metals did arrive it would be months before they received their money.
One could take it via stagecoach. This was expensive ($0.05-$0.10 per mile) and time consuming. There was also a greater risk of personal safety.
- The miner could sell his production to banks or local merchants at a discount. Miners were generally not disposed to selling their gold for a 6% or more discount.
Other than Templeton Reid’s short lived minting of gold coins in Gainesville, Georgia in early 1830, the Bechtler’s came to the miners rescue in 1831. The Bechtlers began operating their private mint and assay office in Rutherford County North Carolina. Many claim they operated their mint until 1857.
On Wednesday, March 28, 1838 the Charlotte Branch Mint commenced coinage operations by striking “a well executed half-eagle ($5.00 gold piece).” The minting of quarter eagles began later in the year. The first gold dollar was struck in 1849. Charlotte Branch Mint coins have a C on their reverses, except for the quarter and half eagles of 1838 and 1839, when the mintmark appeared between Miss Liberty and the date on the front of the coin. Coins were minted in Charlotte on a continuous basis until the North Carolina seceded from the Union on May 21, 1861 and the Confederacy took over the Mint. The confederacy minted coins in 1861.
All Charlotte coinage is at least scarce; much is rare, some of it extremely so; and because of its beauty, historical significance and good investment potential, it is much sought after by coin collectors, numismatists, museums and investors.