Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) has graded the Hornets Nest Collection, the first complete set of Charlotte Mint gold coins ever assembled. Notably, the collection includes an NGC VF 20 specimen of the legendary 1849-C Open Wreath Gold Dollar, one of the rarest United States coins.
The seed of the Hornets Nest Collection was planted during Christmas of 1987, when the collector’s wife gifted him his first Charlotte Mint gold piece: an 1856-C Quarter Eagle that she purchased on a special trip to Hyatt Coins in Charlotte. Intrigued by the history and rarity of the gold coins of the Charlotte Mint, the collector embarked on a seemingly impossible journey to build a complete collection of its coins. After a nearly three-decade labor of love, the Hornets Nest Collection was completed with the purchase of an 1842-C Small Date Half Eagle which is now graded NGC AU 58.
Established to convert the gold discovered in the Carolinas into coins, the Charlotte Mint was one of the original three United States Branch Mints opened in 1838. It exclusively struck gold coins until its closure in 1861 as a result of the start of the Civil War. During its 23-year operation, the Charlotte Mint issued a mere 1.2 million coins—the lowest total output of any United States Mint.
A complete collection of Charlotte Gold requires 53 different combinations of denominations and dates with its distinctive “C” mintmark. Several major types are also included, such as the 1849-C Open and Closed Wreath Gold Dollars and the 1842-C Small and Large Date Half Eagles.
Nearly all Charlotte Mint gold coins had minuscule mintages, but there are several standout rarities. The showstopper is the 1849-C Open Wreath Gold Dollar, which features a reverse die that was only used on a tiny fraction of the 11,634 dollars struck by the Charlotte Mint that year. Just four examples of this extraordinary rarity are believed to still exist. The Hornets Nest Collection added its NGC VF 20 example in January 2003.
Another significant coin in the collection is the 1842-C Small Date Half Eagle. This was the coin that completed the collector’s quest to acquire all 53 Charlotte Gold issues. It is now one of just eight examples graded AU 58 by NGC with just five in higher grades.
The 1851-C Gold Dollar graded NGC MS 61+ is also a notable condition rarity. According to the NGC Census, NGC has graded only four finer examples.
After it was completed, the Hornets Nest Collection was submitted to NGC for grading. Each coin was encapsulated with a special Charlotte Mint NGC certification label. This label was specially created for this set using a beautiful painting of the Charlotte Mint.
The coins were then added to the online NGC Registry, where the Hornets Nest Collection now ranks as the number one NGC only Registry Set in the Charlotte Mint category.
Although the collector behind the Hornets Nest Collection wishes to remain anonymous, he would like to acknowledge Hyatt Coins of Charlotte as well as respected gold coin expert Doug Winter for their roles in helping to assemble this phenomenal collection.