The First Gold Coins from the Denver Mint
Many collectors dream of owning first year of issue coins of any type, let alone from the world’s largest producer of coins. The demand and rarity for first year of issue coins are so high, many of them will cost thousands of dollars or more. All 1870 Carson City gold coins are worth tens of thousands of dollars. And the 1854-S $5 San Francisco gold coins are believed to be worth millions. But we were able to secure first year of issue 1906-D $5 and $10 sets from the Denver Mint for you that are wildly affordable and superbly priced.
History of the Denver Mint
When the United States first began producing coins for circulation in 1793, just one mint facility was required. The young country’s population was concentrated in the northeast and within close proximity of the Philadelphia Mint. However, as the country grew and precious metal discoveries were made, a need developed for branch mints.
By the 1830s, the U.S. government had expanded from just one mint to four, by the opening of three new branch mints: Charlotte, NC; Dahlonega, GA and New Orleans, LA.
Two more branch mints were opened later in the century. The much-needed San Francisco location opened in 1854 at the peak of the California Gold Rush. Then, as gold and silver mines popped up in Nevada, a facility was opened in Carson City. A basic theme developed: wherever there was a large population and mining activity, a mint was opened.
However, there was one unusual exception to this rule: the Colorado Gold Rush. Gold was first discovered in Pike’s Peak County in 1858 and extraction continued well into the 1860s. Rather than open an official mint, Congress authorized a Denver-based U.S. Assay Office in 1862. This facility was available to test the purity of gold and silver, but it did not issue coinage. The office simply accepted raw gold and nuggets, melted them down, declared their purity, and returned the metal in the form of ingots.
There is some debate as to why the Federal Government decided to postpone opening a full-fledged mint in Denver. The most likely explanation is the Colorado Gold Rush was expected to fizzle out. For example, in Dahlonega and Charlotte, both mints closed up shop in 1861 after many years of meager output. Even the California Gold Rush was fading by the 1860s. Another theory is the local population did not need coinage and there were no nearby cities to send the currency.
Nonetheless, in 1896, the government decided to convert the Denver Assay Office into a working mint. By this point, the city of Denver had become an established and prosperous city. It was no longer at risk of becoming another ghost town once the gold veins ran dry. It was connected to the transcontinental railroad, became an active transport hub in the west, and had developed a strong manufacturing base.
Rather than use the former Assay Office building, the decision was made to construct a new structure for the Denver Mint. The land was acquired in 1896, but the building was not functional until 1904. After further delays in setting up the minting equipment, the facility became fully operational in 1906. The new mint hit the ground running by releasing dimes, quarters, half dollars, Half Eagles, Eagles and Double Eagles in its first year.
The Denver Mint Today
Today, the Denver Mint is now the single largest producer of coins in the world – producing 8 billion coins a year. Of the four active United States Mints (the others being Philadelphia, West Point and San Francisco), the Denver location produces the greatest quantity of circulating coinage. If you live in the Western half of the United States, there’s an excellent chance your pocket change displays the “D” mintmark indicating its Denver origin.
While modern Denver coinage is extremely common, its first gold coins are quite the opposite. 1906-D gold coins are both extremely scarce and numismatically significant as the first year of issue. Not only are 1906-D gold pieces rare and desirable, but at today’s price levels, they also represent outstanding value.
The 1906-D $5 Half Eagle, according to NGC population data, is over six times scarcer than the most common issue in the series. It is a challenging date to find in all grades and is much rarer than its price point would suggest. This is especially true in Uncirculated grades. Circulated examples are seen from time to time, but Mint State specimens are very difficult to locate.
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Similarly, the 1906-D $10 Eagle is significantly less available than the “generic” date in the series. Based on NGC population data, the 1906-D $10 is almost ten times rarer than the common 1894 issue. Similar to its $5 Half Eagle cousin, the 1906-D $10 is not easy to find. Circulated pieces are encountered from time to time, but locating coins in MS60 or better can be quite a task.
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Despite the rarity and numismatic desirability of these two issues, both currently trade for just 15-20% more than the common date price. For a modest premium over the cost of a generic piece, you can own one of the very first Denver Mint $5 Half Eagles and $10 Eagles in Uncirculated grade. This is an unbeatable combination of rarity, numismatic significance and value.
1906-D $5 and $10 Sets
We have secured 35 of the 1906-D $5 and $10 sets that are graded Uncirculated. Each two-coin set contains a 1906-D $5 Half Eagle and a 1906-D $10 Eagle, both graded MS60 or better by NGC or PCGS.
An excellent argument could be made that these sets should trade for well over $2,000, given their date, rarity and importance as the very first gold coins issued at the Denver Mint. Our pricing represents a miniscule premium over the price of any Uncirculated $5 or $10 Liberty.
It's also worth noting these are the most affordable first year of issue coins from any branch mint. At just $1,499* for two Uncirculated pieces, we cannot think of a better value in American numismatics right now.
Call us now at 800-831-0007 or send us an email to take advantage of these rare sets.
1906-D $5 and $10 sets - Call us for pricing and details! Price includes FREE shipping and insurance
*Prices are subject to change due to market fluctuation and product availability. Price includes free shipping, handling and insurance.