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    1849-D $5 GOLD HALF EAGLE FROM THE DAHLONEGA, GEORGIA MINT. The Georgia Gold Rush which started in the late 1820s was the first such significant rush in the United States. People flocked from all over the country to Georgia expecting to find gold just lying on the ground (some actually did!). The focal point of all the madness was Lumpkin County where a town named Dahlonega sprang up. It is said that the name was taken from the Cherokee word for "yellow money." During the boom, the town was home to 15,000 miners. With all the gold being mined in the area, there arose a problem as to how the miners could convert their gold to a more negotiable format. On March 3, 1835, under pressure from southern congressmen from the gold region, the U.S. Congress passed an act that "branch mints of the United States shall be established as follows: One branch at the city of New Orleans for the coinage of gold and silver; one branch at the town of Charlotte, in Mecklenburg county in the state of North Carolina, 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." Much of the land being mined actually belonged to the Cherokee Nation leading to much tension. The opening in 1838 of the Dahlonega mint coincided with the removal of the Cherokee from the area, a forced migration known as the "Trail of Tears." Even though most of the gold rush was over by the time it opened for business, the Dahlonega mint operated for 23 years, producing approximately $6.1 million in gold coinage. When Georgia seceded from the Union in January 1861, the state took over the mint's building and machinery. The Confederates closed the mint in June and a private assayer lived there for the rest of the war. It would never produce coinage again. The building was donated to the state and used by the North Georgia Agricultural College from 1873 until a fire destroyed it in 1878.

    The mid nineteenth century was a period when coinage didn't circulate widely. Most of the output of the Dahlonega mint (that didn't get traded overseas) would have certainly stayed in the Deep South. It's easy to imagine that this very coin could certainly have been used for trade in the Confederate States during the Civil War. Dahlonega gold coins are widely collected because of the interesting history of the mint and for their particular beauty. An example of this southern mint is a "must have" for any Civil War collection. Original mintage: 39,036. Grade: VF with a gouge in Liberty's cheek.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,632

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