Mr. Monetary's Blog

26 Jun 2021

Private and Territorial Gold

| Mr. Monetary

For this blog, I will be talking about Private Gold. I will not be talking about Private Tokens, which were made a few decades earlier, but still just as interesting.

Private gold Refers to coins of various denominations circulated within isolated areas of the U.S. by individuals, assayers, bankers, and others. These gold pieces were never struck by the authority of a state or territorial government but by other entities and were usually minted due to a shortage of regular coinage. Private gold pieces were made and circulated from the 1830’s to around the 1880’s; ironically, in the west, miners turned the very gold they had come so far to attain into currency to supply themselves.

The first known private gold was minted in July of 1830 by a jeweler/gunsmith in Milledgeville, Georgia. Although his weights were accurate, his assays were not, which led to his coins being short of their stated value. This consequently caused the newspapers to attack him and therefore losing public confidence. He closed his mint around October, 1830 with only 1,600 coins made. The denominations were $2.50, $5, and $10

The U.S. Assay Office was introduced to the west in 1850’s due to the dissatisfaction towards the local State Assay Office. August Humbert, a watch case maker, was appointed United States assayer. He placed his name and government stamp on pieces(Ingots) made by Moffat and Co. This system was intended to be a temporary solution to the minting needs of the west. In 1852 the United States Assay Office of Gold took over the contract.

The beginning of the end of privately minted coins was marked by the Coinage Act of April 22, 1864, which made it illegal to privately make coins; Although it was not fully enforced until 1882. To avoid the law, all gold minted by companies before 1881(and after the Coinage Act), were backdated to the 1850’s and 60’s. Minting private coins ended in 1882 when the law was finally enforced.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read and I hope you have a great day.


It's Mokie

Level 6

Some beautiful designs for sure. Someday, maybe Someday ................


Level 6

Great area of collecting. I wish I could get a few pieces. Interesting blog and information. ; )

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Thanks, for an interesting article!


Level 6

One of my favorite areas. My poor wife was burned by an unscrupulous dealer on a piece of CA territorial gold. Bugger. She is so sweet for trying. Oh well. He's dead now. NO I did not. He was old then and it was years ago. Even at the only ANA Money Show we have attended. Be careful of OLD AZ sellers. So that being said I still love the area of collecting. I like the Moffat & Co. but they all are so interesting. Thanks.


Level 7

Thanks for the information. Good blog!


Level 5

This was a very informative post ! After watching MANY westerns on television, I did know about the local assayer's office. Lately I've noticed quite a few commercials about investing in gold. It's a little out of my price range, so for now I'll have to stick with the silver. Thanks for posting !


Level 5

Very interesting history on gold pieces. Thanks

I've always looked at Territorial Gold as being about the last area of U.S. related coinage I would ever collect, if I ever were able to, of course. So much of it is made up of rarities and high prices (but well worth it). It's amazing how affordable such things were 100 years ago. Always a good reason to buy a lottery ticket I guess.

Long Beard

Level 5

An excellent topic, a numismatic type which has drawn my interest for many years despite having yet to acquire an example. My person favorite being the Hershfield & Mitchell fractionals of Leavenworth, Kansas.

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