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Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint 19th Century

The history of U.S. coinage is intertwined with the City of New Orleans. In 1812, Robert Fulton's steamboat made the first successful trip neworleans_1.jpgdown the Mississippi River to arrive in her namesake city, New Orleans. By 1830, New Orleans was one of the busiest ports in America and Paddle Wheelers were a fixture in the New Orleans Harbor. President Andrew Jackson authorized a mint in New Orleans in 1835 to encourage development of the west. The New Orleans Mint struck its first coins on March 8, 1838. These classic head gold coins were the first to bear the now famousneworleans_2.jpg"O" mark on the reverse By the middle of the 1850s, the New Orleans branch mint was producing such gold coins as double eagles ($20), eagles ($10), neworleans_3.jpghalf eagles ($5), $3 pieces, quarter eagles and dollars. From January 1 to January 31, 1861,

the New Orleans mint was operated by the United States Treasury Department. But on Feb 1, 1861, Louisiana authorities transferred the Mint’s operations to the Confederate Army. It

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was reported that the mint contained $500,000 in gold and silver. An ordinance was drafted averring that, “Louisiana doth hereby cede unto the Confederate States of America the right to use,

possess, and occupy all the forts, arsenals, lighthouses, the mint, customhouse, and other public buildings acquired by the State from the late United States”. The New Orleans Mint was the neworleans_7.jpgonly facility to strike coins under both Union and Confederate authority. Confederate control lasted until 1862, when United States Marines seized New Orleans and raised the U.S. flag at the mint. Later reopened as an assay office in October, 1876, the New Orleans Mint resumed coining in 1879. However, by June 1909, all production was at a standstill. Only the $5.00 Indians were produced in that year. Ultimately, in 1931, the mint building was converted into a federal prison. In 1943, the prison closed. In 1979, the building was opened to the public as a part of the Louisiana State Museum complex. The majority of the coins

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from this mint do not carry the motto: “In God We Trust”. These are among the most sought after American rarities. A full set, in average condition, can still be assembled for less than $50,000. A superb set is worth well over $250,000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Type 1
Liberty
1849-1853


Type 2
Indian
1855


$2.50
Classic
1839


$2.50
Coronet
1840-1857


$3.00
Indian
1854

 

 $5.00
No Motto
1840-1857


$5.00
With Motto
1866-1905


$10.00
No Motto
1840-1860


$10.00
With Motto
1866-1907


$20.00
No Motto
1850-1861