Territorial Gold covers a wide range of gold coins issued by private minters where gold was discovered, and the U.S. Mint could not process raw gold ore into gold coins effectively. These Private Minters flourished until the U.S. Government made private coinage illegal, where they quickly vanished from circulation.
The first private Territorial coins were minted as early as the 1830s, in Georgia and North Carolina with the first private gold dollars ranging from $1 to $10. During the California Gold Rush in the 1850s, an influx of raw gold created a demand for gold coins for local commerce. A variety of local assayers, jewelers, and entrepreneurs produced private gold coins of varying purity, from large Monetary Gold Ingot bars to various dollar denominations and small fractional gold pieces.
The Government quickly opened an official U.S. assay office in San Francisco under Assayer, Augustus Humbert, driving all the “specious” gold coins out of circulation, where they were quickly melted and re-minted into “real” U.S. gold coins. Additional Territorial gold coins were minted in Utah, by the Mormons, Beaver gold coins in Oregon, and Colorado gold pieces. Territorial gold coins are very rare with a rich history, and stories to tell.