The American Numismatic Association's signature Museum Showcase
will feature spectacular examples of some of America's first coins
and paper money, along with many other rare and historically
significant numismatic treasures.
"In Atlanta, we have a wonderful opportunity to showcase the
numismatic history of Georgia, from its early colonial days through
the Civil War," said Douglas Mudd, curator for the Money Museum.
"And we'll be able to spotlight an era of history that is often
neglected: Georgia's very own gold rush."
Gold! The Coins of Georgia and North Carolina
The gold rushes of the American West have been
well-documented, but the eastern United States experienced its own
gold rushes in the early 1800s. Gold was discovered in North
Carolina at the end of the 18th century, but a more extensive find
in 1828 near Dahlonega displaced the Cherokee and sent thousands of
prospectors into the region. By 1830 local assayers began to
produce gold coins in Georgia and North Carolina in order to
simplify transactions. On March 3, 1835, Congress authorized
new mint facilities at Dahlonega, Charlotte and New Orleans to take
advantage of these finds and reduce transportation costs. To
distinguish their issues from those of the Philadelphia Mint, the
branch mints used mintmarks for the first time on U.S. coinage: O
for New Orleans, C for Charlotte and D for Dahlonega.
"This exhibit features gold from the first gold rush in the
United States, one that has been largely forgotten," Mudd said.
"This was the first circumstance where gold from a local region was
produced into coins within that same region by the U.S. Mint."
Colonial Paper Money of Georgia
The story of paper currency in Georgia begins in
1735 on the British pound sterling standard, soon after the
founding of the colony in 1732 by James Oglethorpe. Georgia
notes were produced thereafter up to and through the American
Revolution. During the Revolution, Georgia used continental
currency denominated in sterling and in Spanish dollars instead of
the Continental dollar at the rate of 1 dollar = 5 shillings.
After the Revolution, continental currency was replaced by the new
U.S. dollar and the Constitution disbanded State-issued
This exceptional selection of Georgia Colonial notes is from the
collection of the late ANA Governor Radford Stearns.
Financing war has always presented problems for
governments - the stress of feeding, paying, equipping, housing and
training soldiers presents challenges well beyond the normal
capacity of authorities to handle. This is especially
true of civil wars. This display features a selection from
the Money Museum exhibit "A House Divided: Money of the Civil War"
in Colorado Springs and highlights some of the difficulties faced
by the Confederacy as it attempted to create a new national
currency and finance a war from scratch.
As a special attraction, the Museum Showcase will also feature
an 1862 Gatling gun, a weapon used by the Union during the Civil
War. The Gatling gun was a precursor to the modern machine gun, and
it was one of the first guns used in wartime that was capable of
producing large amounts of firepower in rapid-fire
The 1792 Half Disme
An estimated 1,500 half disme (an early version of "dime")
silver coins were struck in the basement of a saw-maker's shop in
Philadelphia in 1792 because the U.S. Mint was not yet operational.
The coins - slightly smaller than a modern dime and weighing half
as much - were first authorized by President Washington under the
Mint Act of 1792. According to legend, the silver used to mint the
1792 half dismes came from Martha Washington's personal silverware.
Thomas Jefferson, then serving as secretary of state, personally
received the coins on Washington's behalf. Modern researchers
estimate that about 275 of the 1,500 originally struck survive
today. The coin was donated to the Money Museum by Steven L.
The Bebee 1913 Liberty Head “V” Nickel
This famous coin is one of five 1913 "V" nickels that were
struck in mysterious circumstances at the Philadelphia Mint. The
design for these coins was used from 1883 to 1912. In 1913 they
were replaced by the Buffalo nickel design; however, five
unauthorized "V" nickels were struck with the 1913 date. The
existence of the nickels was unknown until 1919, when an
advertisement in The Numismatistoffered to purchase any example for
$500. The ad was placed by Samuel W. Brown, a former Mint employee.
In 1920 Brown exhibited all five nickels at the ANA convention in
Chicago. The McDermott/Bebee specimen was donated to the ANA by
Aubrey and Adeline Bebee, and it was
recently featured on the Travel Channel program, "Mysteries at
The Idler/Bebee Class III Specimen 1804 Dollar
Known as "The King of U.S. Coins," the 1804 dollar
is extremely rare, with only 15 known examples. Class I 1804-dated
silver dollars were actually struck in the 1830s when the United
States Mint was asked by to produce them for sets of U.S. coins to
be presented to foreign dignitaries. Class III specimens (six
known) were struck during the 1850s for collectors. The Idler/Bebee
specimen was donated to the ANA by Aubrey and Adeline Bebee.