(1834-37) Bechtler Five Dollar, MS63
1834 $5 C. Bechtler Five Dollar, Plain Edge MS63 NGC. K-17,
R.5. Large scale mining of gold began in Georgia and North
Carolina around 1828 and, prior to 1849, the region produced most
of the gold found in the United States. The miners faced many
challenges in converting their raw gold into a useful medium of
exchange, however. The Southern Appalachian district where the
mines were located was populated by subsistence farmers and
Cherokee Indians and there were no large towns in the area. The
economy was mostly based on a barter system, with almost no specie
or paper money to facilitate economic transactions. Shipping their
gold ore to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia was a daunting prospect,
both difficult and dangerous.
Rutherford, Plain Edge, K-17
Single Finest Certified
To provide the region with a standard medium of exchange, Christopher Bechtler, a German-born metallurgist, gunsmith, and jeweler, established a private mint in Rutherford County, North Carolina in 1831. Bechtler was scrupulously honest and a competent assayer, die engraver, and coiner. His coins, and those of his son Augustus and nephew Christopher, Jr., were widely accepted in the South as late as the Civil War. He changed the design of his coins frequently, responding to suggestions made by his depositors, and the change in weight standard adopted by the U.S. Mint in 1834. In all, he issued seven different series of five dollar gold coins, with many different die varieties, by 1842.
All of the fourth series Bechtler five dollar gold pieces, K-16 through K-19, were produced with the date AUGUST 1, 1834 in a small circle inside the legend CAROLINA GOLD / CARATS., which rings the rims. The weight 140 / G. / 20. is in the center. On the K-17, the reverse reads C. BECHTLER. AT RUTHERFORD. ★ , and the edge is plain.
The present coin is the finest certified example at either of the leading grading services (2/14). Both obverse and reverse feature well-struck design elements and the pleasing yellow-gold surfaces show only minor signs of contact. Ample mint luster and a few highlights of green color add to the outstanding eye appeal. Listed on page 378 of the 2014 Guide Book. Census: 1 in 63, 0 finer (2/14). (NGC ID# 2B9P, PCGS# 10091)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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