5 Dollars, Christopher Bechtler, United States, 1834

Description (Brief):

One (1) 5 dollar coin

Description (Brief)

United States, 1834

Description (Brief)

Obverse Image: N/A

Description (Brief)

Obverse Text: CAROLINA GOLD. / CARATS. / AUGUST 1. 1834. / 140 / .G. / 20.

Description (Brief)

Reverse Image: Star.

Description (Brief)


Like Templeton Reid, a family of German immigrants named Bechtler established a private mint to coin gold between 1830 and 1852. The head of the clan, Alt Christoph, started out in the Black Forest area where he was apprenticed as a goldsmith, silversmith, and gunsmith.

Already well into middle age, he decided to seek his fortune in America. The early spring of 1830 found him and his family in Rutherfordton, North Carolina, where they set up shop as jewelers and watchmakers. The shortage of coinage in that part of the South, the abundance of gold from the new discoveries, the near-impossibility of getting it safely to the Mint at Philadelphia, and Alt Christoph's experience as a metallurgist, set the conditions for an important event.

When local settlers were unsuccessful in petitioning Congress to establish a branch Mint, Alt Christoph created a private mint. He made his dies, punches, even his presses, himself. His coins were simple affairs, but they were of honest weight and good quality. His first gold coins began making their appearance in the summer of 1831.

Alt Christoph ran the Bechtler mint until 1840. He then retired, and the operation was taken over by his son, August, remaining at work until about 1852, when it finally closed. To the Bechtlers goes the distinction of issuing the first gold dollars. They were doing so as early as 1834; the federal government didn't get around to striking the denomination until 1849!

Date Made: 1834

Mint: BechtlersObverse Designer: Bechtler, Alt ChristophReverse Designer: Bechtler, Alt Christoph

Location: Currently not on view

Place Of Issue: United States: North Carolina

See more items in: Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection, Coins, Numismatics, Coins, Currency and Medals, Legendary Coins


Exhibition Location:

Related Web Publication: http://americanhistory.si.edu/coins/glossary.cfm

Related Publication: Zoomable Image and Details, Glossary of Coins and Currency Terms

Credit Line: United States Mint

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1991.0357.0143Catalog Number: 1991.0357.0143Accession Number: 1991.0357

Object Name: coin

Physical Description: gold (overall metal)0 (overall die axis)0 (overall die axis measurement)struck (overall production method)Measurements: overall: .15 cm x 2.48 cm; 1/16 in x 31/32 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a9-88a2-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1101234

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