San Francisco Struck $1 and $3 Gold


"More gold dollars were produced than you might expect. . ."

San Francisco remained true to form regularly producing gold coins—and usually large ones. The city has a very interesting track record when it comes to 'odd gold denominations'—gold dollars and $3 gold pieces.

San Francisco produced the gold dollar and $3 on and off for years , but they were cut short by either the Civil War or a lack of commercial use.

The San Francisco facility had taken time to go into operation. That is no surprise. The city was 3,000 miles away from the people making the decision, and they were in no rush to test their luck on those 3,000 miles to take a look at the situation in person being basically content to sit in relative safety rather than brave the elements, the Native American tribes and any number of other threats that marked the journey to San Francisco.

By the time San Francisco actually was ready to start making coins, it was already 1854. This was six years after gold had been discovered by James Marshall and five years after the $1 and $20 denominations had been authorized and a year after the $3 had been approved by Congress.

In the first year of operation SF made a reasonable number of gold dollars. That might suggest some interest in the denomination from the commercial sector at the time as while producing 14,632 gold dollars the first year, the mintage of gold quarter and half eagles would be lower than 300 pieces of each. The focus on larger denominations was clear as both the gold and double eagles had mintages of over 100,000 in 1854; but the fact remains the gold dollar was produced in greater numbers than might have been expected.

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