CreationThe Dahlonega Mint was chartered by the United States Congress and erected in 1837, in the mining town of Dahlonega, Georgia, during the first North American gold rush known as the Georgia Gold Rush. The purpose of the Mint was to tap the newly discovered source of gold for coins and to provide a place for miners to have their gold assayed and sold.
ProductionThe first coins produced at the mint were gold $ 5.00 half eagles in April 1838. 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 WarWhen 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 WarAfter the end of the Civil War, The United States Government decided against reopening the mint for its purposes. 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.
Gold domeThe gold dome of the Price Memorial building was completed in the early 1970s by a roofer named Doug Quinn, from Boston, Mass., who stayed at the local Cherokee Motel and Restaurant during construction.
Historical ContextIt is worth noting that Dahlonega is the Cherokee word for Gold. This mine was seized from the Cherokee on their own territory. The date of this mint is one year before the Trail of Tears.
External LinksCalifornia gold coinage
Georgia Historical Marker
United States Mint
Georgia State Capitol
William P. Price
North Georgia College
American Civil War