Unique, "EB on Breast"
1787 Brasher Doubloon from
The Gold Rush Collection
On February 12, 1838, the mint officially opened for the receipt and assay of gold bullion. Almost a thousand ounces of gold were deposited the first two weeks that the mint was open. An attempt to produce coinage was made on February 28, but was abandoned due to insufficient steam power. The first coins, eighty half eagles, were struck on April 21, 1838, including one which was later sent to Philadelphia for the annual assay. Superintendent Singleton wrote, "I believe our coin equal to any made in the world, both for its beauty and accuracy in its legal parts." He went on to say the mint's coins met "a most cordial reception wherever carried." Because of a high silver content, these first coins had a slightly different color (often described as green gold), when compared to the ones minted at Philadelphia, but were nonetheless of good quality. The first Dahlonega coins to be assayed in February 1839 met the legal requirements. That month also saw the coinage of the first quarter eagle denomination at the Dahlonega Mint.
Superintendent Singleton seemed to be hardly up to the task to which he had been appointed. He did not keep accurate records and was taken to task by Robert Patterson, the Director of the Philadelphia Mint, "I had hoped that during your stay here in Philadelphia you had made yourself master of the system of keeping Mint accounts. As this seems, however, not to be the case, I will make out a set of specific instructions on the subject, and send them to you as soon as possible." At one point, Singleton asked Patterson to allow the Dahlonega Mint to use a screw-driven press. The Mint Director responded, "I pray you not to think of using the screw press. This is not the age nor the country for going backwards."
Preface | The Georgia Gold Rush | The Branch Mint Legislation | The Mint Construction | The First "Shiners" | The Minting Process | The 1840s | The 1850s | The 1860s | The North Georgia Agricultural College | Epilogue