Sunday, March 30, 2014
My blog for 3/30/2014 Dahlonega Gold Coins
Above you can see what a Dahlonega Gold coin that was minted in 1855 looks like. " By law, gold coinage during the operation of the Dahlonega Mint (1838-1861) was 0.900 fine, meaning 900 parts per thousand (by weight) pure gold. The remaining 100 parts constituted the alloy (pure gold being too soft and malleable to prodce coins that would stand up to the rigors of circulation). By law for that time period, the alloy for gold coins was copper and silver, provided that the silver did not exceed one-half the alloy. Thus, the silver content could be up to 50 parts per thousand. It was therefore lawfully possible to have coins with varying concentrations of silver, about which we can today make observations relative to the coloration differences.
Generally speaking, a gold coin with 100 parts per thousand copper alloy is distinctly orange in color. Gold coins with silver and copper tend to be less orange, and if the silver content is high enough, the coins do not look orange at all, possessing a light "green gold" color. As a consequence of this imprecise specification for the alloy, the mints at Dahlonega and Charlotte had the flexibility to have a higher silver content than the parent institution, the Philadelphia Mint." Carl N. Lester, GOLD RUSH GALLERY, INC.
Remember that when gold was discovered in Auraria, Georgia, in 1829 the subsequent gold miners had no place to put their accrued gold in a safe place. There were no nearby banks. No way to create their gold into coins. If the miner traveled to a bank, then he might return to find someone else working his plot of land, i.e. stealing his gold. Land with possible gold could only be obtained by lottery. No choices of land parcels were available. It was pretty critical that a mint be established in Dahlonega, about eight miles from Auraria. The owner of a parcel won in a lottery could sell his parcel, often for an exorbitant price. The owner would have to hide his gold, or possibly have it stolen or himself killed for it. Auraria is actually quite small and there were some 5000 miners working to strike it rich at the peak of the gold rush in this area.