Coins contained this “D” mintmark from 1838 into 1861. The “D” stands for “Dahlonega,” Dahlonega, Georgia, that is.
Do you know how to pronounce Dahlonega? It’s not day-low-nee-guh with the emphasis on “day” as some people say it. It’s Duh-lon-ee-guh with primary emphasis on “lon” and secondary emphasis on “guh.” The “lon” is pronounced like the first syllable of the name “Lonnie.”
Now, with that bit of fun out of the way, have you ever looked at the Library of Congress web site called American Memory? You can find all types of interesting information including when Congress discussed adding the mints in New Orleans, Charlotte and Dahlonega.
Take a look at this first bill “read twice and committed to a Whole Committee” that describes adding three new branches of the mint. One branch would be in New Orleans, one in New York and one “at such place as the the Secretary of the Treasury may direct, within, or convenient to, the gold region of the United States.”
Notice the date on the House Bill: February 12, 1835. By February 20, 1835, the Senate Bill changed the locations of the new mint branches to be “one branch at the city of New Orleans for the coinage of gold and silver; one branch at the town of Charlotte, in Mecklinburg county, in the State of North Carolina, for the coinage of gold only; and one branch at or near Dahlonega, in Lumpkin county, in the State of Georgia, also for the coinage of gold only.”
They allotted $200,000 for the branch in New Orleans and $50,000 each for the branches in Charlotte and Dahlonega.
But, now take a look at the funds allocated for the payment of the mint officers at the three branches:
New Orleans was allotted “one superintendent, one treasurer, one assayer, one melter and refiner, and one coiner” with payments of $2500 to the superintendent and $2000 each to the other four officers.
Charlotte and Dahlonega were allocated fewer officers with one superintendent who was also the treasurer, one assayer who was also responsible for the duties of the melter and refiner and a coiner. And, even though their positions held the combined responsibilities of multiple positions, their salaries were smaller at $2000 for the superintendent and $1500 each to the assayer and coiner.
There are other bills (Senate Bill 357, June 7, 1838) that discussed allowing the Director of the Mint to provide silver coinage of a “quarter dollar or less” at Charlotte and Dahlonega if “he shall believe that the same machinery employed for coining gold can, without injury to it, and without any material expense for alterations, be beneficially employed in said coinage.”
Those are interesting historical documents about Dahlonega and the other old mints. To view others, open the Library of Congress American Memory site and search on “branches of the mint of the United States.”