I would like to know the history of the Bechtler gold dollars — how
many there might be and their value.
Providing a complete history of the Bechtler gold coinage would
require much more space than is possible here.
In brief, Bechtler gold coinage consists of gold coins struck by
private minter Christopher Bechtler of Rutherford County, N.C., and
denominated as $1, $2.50 and $5. He was assisted by his son, August,
and nephew, Christopher.
The coins, often termed “Carolina Gold,” were struck in the
mid-1830s up to the early 1850s using gold found in the Piedmont
region of Georgia and North Carolina. Most of the Bechtler issues bear
the designated weight and fineness of the gold they contain and were
popular with public. Existing examples are very popular with
The gold in the region and the success of the Bechtler pieces
prompted the U.S. government to establish two federal Branch Mints in
the region — Dahlonega, Ga., and Charlotte, N.C. The two facilities
were seized by Southern authorities in 1861 at the start of the Civil
War and never again struck U.S. coins.
For more comprehensive information, Mr. Hairfield and others may
find certain print and online resources useful.
One printed work that discusses Bechtler gold coins is Donald H.
Kagin’s Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States.
Another is Gold & Glory: North Carolina & the Bechtler
Heritage, by Robin Spencer Lattimore. Both books are available
for sale at www.amazon.com. A
collector seeking these titles might also consider contacting a
numismatic bookseller (many of whom advertise their services in the
pages of Coin World). If a member of the American Numismatic
Association (www.money.org), he
would be eligible to borrow books from the ANA’s library.
He may also wish to contact the Southern Gold Society at www.southerngoldsociety.org.
The SGS website states one of its goals is to “... facilitate the
enjoyment and study of the gold coins and related history of the
Southern branch mints (Dahlonega, Charlotte, and New Orleans) and
private Southern minters (Templeton Reid and the Bechtlers).”
The Professional Coin Grading Service Population Report and the
Numismatic Guaranty Corp. Census are resources that may be used to
discover the current population of Bechtler coins graded and
encapsulated by these third-party grading services.
Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins
or other items for examination without prior permission from staff
member Erik Martin. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety
coins. Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be
returned unexamined. Please address all Readers Ask inquiries to email@example.com or call
(800) 673-8311, Ext. 274. ■