Guide to Territorial Values
Templeton Reid's Georgia Gold coins are highly prized and hard to find. These were the first private Gold issue of the 19th century. Read More
The Bechtler family emigrated from Germany and settled in North Carolina and Georgia. Their mint made the first Gold dollars in the United States. Read More
Small Gold coins were commonly circulated in California. These were minted locally and used to supplement short supplies of U.S. coins. Read More
The Oregon legislature authorized private Gold in the state for 1849. This issue was rapidly shut down when it became a state. Read More
Private mining concerns in Colorado created their own Gold pieces for circulation to fill in the gaps in U.S. circulating coinage. Read More
United States coinage wasn’t just struck by the U.S. Mint. There were territorial and state coins as well. Though regular coins existed, private coins circulated in areas where there were shortages of official U.S. coinage. Ephraim Brasher’s 1787 New York doubloon was a well-known private gold issue from the early days of the United States, but many issues were struck later in the western states where Precious Metal coins were highly valued and U.S. coins were scarce.
Territorial and State Coin Types
Templeton Reid’s Gold pieces were struck in 1830 in Georgia in $2.50, $5, $10. Very few were minted and fewer survived, and the assays were not as good as they should have been. Though the weights matched up, the fineness didn’t. Reid took a second stab at it in 1849 with a set of California Gold in $10 and $25, but only a single $10 Gold coin survives. The $25 was stolen in 1858 and has never been recovered.
The Bechtler family ran a private mint in North Carolina from 1831 to 1852, and they were responsible for the first Gold dollar in the United States. These coins have an authorization date on several underweight varieties of $5 coins to avoid trouble with the Mint. They varied widely in weight and size but circulated widely through the Southeast.
California had a variety of private issue Gold coins. Norris, Gregg & Norris created their imprint in 1849 with $5 coins, the first Gold coins minted in California. There were small ingots that were used for money as well, including the Moffat & Co. ingot series that circulated locally around San Francisco. This company’s coining facility later became the San Francisco branch facility of the U.S. Mint. Most of the private issues came around 1849 to 1855. Small Gold coins were passed around in limited acceptance until 1883, when the Coinage Act of 1864 was finally enforced in the western states.
Oregon made its own gold as well, as their legislature approved Gold coins for mint in 1849. The Oregon City mint only made a few coins before Oregon was brought on as a territory and the coin act was declared unconstitutional.
The Mormon Territory, known as the State of Deseret, created its own coins from 1849 to 1860. Their mint was based in Salt Lake City and Brigham Young took charge of operations personally. The 1849 $20 coin from the Mormon Territory was the first $20 coin struck in the United States.
There were a few private mints based in Colorado that struck Gold as well. These were struck in various places from 1860 to 1861.
Hawaii had 5 official coins that were issued in its borders but were not U.S. coinage. These were Silver coins all designed by famous engraver Charles Barber, and each was struck at the San Francisco Mint. When Hawaii became a U.S. territory many of these were withdrawn and melted.
Collecting Territorial and State Coins
Many of these issues are extremely rare, and in some cases the coins that have survived to the present day are the only ones of their kind. In some cases, like the Hawaiian coins, they were brought back and melted.
In larger populations, the high-quality specimens go for a large premium. Most of these are out of range of the casual or even the serious collector unless they have large cash reserves.
The Price Guide
The PCGS Price Guide prices apply only to PCGS-graded coins. The PCGS Price Guide is a guide to assist the coin buying public in determining values for all important United States rare coins. The prices listed in the PCGS Price Guide are average dealer asking prices for PCGS-graded coins. The prices are compiled from various sources including dealer ads in trade papers, dealer fixed price lists and website offerings, significant auctions, and activity at major coin shows.Learn More