By 1850, America's supplies of silver had been nearly exhausted as the mother lodes of silver ore discovered out west had been mined dry. The majority of existing American silver dollars were being melted down and sold back to the mint at greatly inflated prices in order to provide it with silver bullion with which it could mint new coins.
Therefore, financial expert Louis Anicharsis Garnett proposed the striking of an American "Trade Dollar" or "Commercial Dollar" in the 1850's. This coin would be used primarily for dealings with international trading, and would not be tied to the gold and silver standard as was the regular American dollars. The idea of a Trade Dollar went over like a lead balloon.
By this time, the silver dollar had largely disappeared from the marketplace, and was replaced by silver coins of much smaller size and weight, with the largest being the silver Half-Dollar. After much discussion, and some argument, the silver dollar was officially abolished. America's Golden Dollar, along with its Golden Eagle, now reigned supreme.
On February 8, 1861, in Montgomery, Alabama, delegates from the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina convened and formed the provisional government of the Confederate States of America. Here they appointed the first Secretary of the Confederate Treasury, Christopher Gustavus Memminger.
Memminger was authorized to print up to one million dollars in Confederate Treasury Notes to be used for the payment of the expenses of the Confederacy. Although these bills were marked "The Southern Banknote Company of New Orleans," they were actually printed in New York City.
America now had two separate national currencies. What Confederate States coins that there were came from the United States Mints located in the South (New Orleans, Charlotte and in Dahlonega, Georgia) that had been seized by the Confederate forces. Unlike the mints in New Orleans and Charlotte, the Dahlonega mint produced gold coins for a very short time.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. Email Roger at rwasrer53 @gmail.com.