Gold Dollar

Gold Dollar

What Makes the U.S. Gold Dollar So Special?

The U.S. Gold Dollar (Gold One-Dollar Piece) is a gold coin that was a result of The Alaskan and California Gold Rush and was struck as a regular issue by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1849 to 1889. Over $600 million dollars of gold was discovered within the first ten years of the California Gold rush which caused California's the population to go from 25,000 to more than half a million transforming the Golden State into the 31st state. While the majority of America was on the verge of civil war, Californians were preoccupied with finding wealth and fortune and staking their claims to it. The California gold rush changed the face of United States coinage. The massive amounts of gold that emerged from California prompted Congress to authorize three new denomination gold coins: A gold dollar, a three-dollar gold piece and a double eagle ($20) gold piece. These gold coins were created to help convert the metal into a more usable form for the public. Instead of paying for goods with a bag of gold dust, a coin was a much better option.

The gold dollar coin had three types over its lifetime and were all designed by Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre.

Type 1 (1849-1854) is the smallest coin in U.S. history (much smaller than a dime) and owes its existence to two of the biggest gold rushes in American History, but mostly California. The size however caused problems because the coin was easily misplaced and lost. At a time when a dollar was worth an entire days pay for the average person, this was way too much to lose. Even though this coin is very tiny it is a GIANT in terms of history, rarity and value. These coins are highly valuable and collectible because they are scarce.

Type 2 (1854-1856) was about 15% larger in diameter, making Type 2 gold dollar easier to keep track of and less likely to get lost. Unfortunately, it had a major shortcoming of its own: Longacre made the relief on the obverse too high on this coin and the majority of the coins were half struck as a result. Very few examples exhibit sharp details in the hair, the word DOLLAR and the date. During its short rain 1.6 million Type 2 examples were produced, with the Philadelphia issues of 1854 and 1855 accounting for the vast majority. Because of its high relief problems and its small total population, the Type 2 is extremely rare in mint condition.

Type 3 (1856-1889) After the failure of the Type 2, Longacre applied the same principle to the obverse design, but he was able to make the portrait larger and flatter reducing its depth. He also moved UNITED STATES OF AMERICA closer to border of the obverse. Though the size and configuration of the portrait differ, the Type 2 and Type 3 gold dollars basically have the same design. Type 3 gold dollars (pieces) are far more plentiful in choice mint condition than the two earlier types. Gem examples of 1862, 1874 and many dates in the 1880's are generally available.

Gold Dollar G$1 Details:

Value: 1 United States dollar

Mass: 1.672 grams

Diameter: Type 1: 12.7 mm, Types 2 and 3: 14.3 mm

Edge: Reeded

Composition: 90% gold, 10% copper

Gold Content: .04837 Troy ounce

Years of minting: 1849–1889

Mint marks:

Charlotte Mint "C" (Minted every year except 1854).

The Charlotte Mint was the first United States branch mint. It was located in Charlotte, North Carolina and specialized in gold coinage. Before the Charlotte Mint, minors had to send their gold to Philadelphia to be melted and coined. This was not only difficult and dangerous, but very slow and expensive which lead to the creation of private coining operations. In the spring of 1831, merchants and minors of North Carolina petitioned the United States Congress for a branch in the Charlotte region. Four years later in 1835, the United States Congress approved an Act to establish several branch mints.

Dahlonega "D" (Minted all years)

New Orleans "O" (Minted every year except 1854)

San Francisco "S" (Minted only in 1854)

Philadelphia Mint "P". (Minted all years) *Gold pieces from the Philadelphia Mint, lack the mint-mark.

Buy U.S. Gold Dollars from LCR Coin

LCR Coin carries a large inventory of early American Gold Dollars certified and graded by PCGS and NGC. A link to each coin’s certification by its grading service is on each coin’s product page. These highly valuable and collectible coins come with an unconditional return policy. We also carry CAC Certified Gold Dollars which add additional value to the already graded coin. Whether you are new to collecting, a novice collector, building a legacy collection or an investor, LCR Coin is the right place for your numismatic needs. LCR Coin has been in business over 30 years and we take pride in our inventory and our customer relationships. Please visit our online catalog often as our inventory changes daily. If you have any questions or requests feel free to contact us at or 800-830-5578.


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