US Coins

Info on Bechtler gold coins?

Gold coins struck by private minter Christopher Bechtler were well received in their own time and are popular with today’s collectors. Shown is a Bechtler $1 gold piece bearing its weight (27 grams) and its gold fineness (21 carat).

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I would like to know the history of the Bechtler gold dollars — how many there might be and their value.

Theodore Hairfield

Cary, N.C.

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 collectors today.

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 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 (, he would be eligible to borrow books from the ANA’s library.

He may also wish to contact the Southern Gold Society at 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 or call (800) 673-8311, Ext. 274. ¦

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