In the late 1820s, gold was discovered in the Georgia woods near a mountain town called Dahlonega. Soon after, the Georgia Gold Rush was in full swing as thousands of Americans descended upon the area in search of riches.
The Georgia Gold Rush lasted for over a decade, from 1829 to the early 1840’s. In 1831, it was estimated there were as many as 10,000 miners prospecting between the Etowah and Chestatee Rivers alone.
Some fortunate mining prospectors did strike it rich with millions of dollars of gold found in the area. Yet, the Philadelphia Mint was deemed too far away by some for safe travel and the lack of a nearby U.S. Mint at that time opened the door for entrepreneurs to strike private gold coins.
So, in July 1830, a man named Templeton Reid, who had worked as a blacksmith, gunsmith, silversmith and a jeweler, seized the opportunity and decided to set up his own private mint in Milledgeville, Georgia. Reid produced gold coins in three denominations: $2.50, $5, and $10.
Today, the legendary Templeton Reid $5 gold coin is one of the great early American rarities among private and territorial gold issues. Only six Templeton Reid $5 gold coins are known to survive and two of those are safely ensconced in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
Only four Templeton Reid $5 gold coins are in private hands. These exceedingly rare early American treasures rarely surface for sale.
While the original mintage for the Templeton Reid $5 gold coin was estimated at 300, most of these coins met their fate in the melting pot. The public lost confidence in Reid’s coins after a letter was published in the August 16, 1830 edition of the Georgia Courier stating that one of his $10 coins only contained $9.38 in gold.
It is thought that Reid was an honest man and although his weights were accurate, the assays were not, so his coins were slightly below the intended value. Soon after, however, Reid closed down his mint in October, 1830.
Reid’s total mintage for all three gold coin denominations was estimated at only 1,600. Most of Reid’s coins were melted down and very few survivors are known today. When a Templeton Reid $5 gold coin surfaces for sale it is truly a once in a lifetime event in the numismatic community.
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