Charlotte Mint: See What It’s Like To Tour This Old U.S. Mint Facility (Now Called The Mint Museum Randolph)


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Many coin collectors have heard of the Charlotte Mint — which struck gold coins from 1838 through 1861.

Yes, you can still visit the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina today -- where gold coins were minted from 1838 through 1861!
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Yes, you can still visit the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina today — where gold coins were minted from 1838 through 1861!

But what many folks may not know is that you can still visit the Charlotte Mint in North Carolina today!

It’s not a mint anymore where coins are made…

It’s now a fascinating art museum near downtown Charlotte and is called the Mint Museum Randolph (2730 Randolph Road — Charlotte, North Carolina 28207).

You can still go inside and see:

  • A collection of classic Charlotte Mint gold coins
  • Old assay equipment and other relics from the U.S. mint
  • An outstanding array of beautiful art

Here are some things you should know before you go…

Charlotte Mint History

The Charlotte Mint opened its doors in 1837 and began minting coins in 1838 — which was the first year that the United States Mint began producing official coinage outside of Philadelphia.

The New Orleans Mint and a mint in Dahlonega, Georgia both opened at the same time.

The New Orleans Mint made silver and gold coins, while the mints in Charlotte and Dahlonega made only gold coins.

Gold coins struck at the Charlotte Mint have a “C” mintmark.

This is a collection of gold coins made at the Charlotte Mint, which struck coins with a "C" mintmark from 1838 through 1861. This collection can be found at the Charlotte Mint Museum.
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This is a collection of gold coins made at the Charlotte Mint, which struck coins with a “C” mintmark from 1838 through 1861.

The Charlotte Mint continued striking coins until October 1861 — during the early months of the Civil War and several months after the facility had become occupied by Confederate rebels.

After coin production ended, the building became a hospital and provided office space for military personnel.

After the war ended in 1865, the federal government converted the building into an assay office in 1867 — continuing operations as such until 1913.

The building had a short stint from 1917 through 1919 as the meeting space for the Charlotte Women’s Club and was a Red Cross station during World War I.

In 1931, a post office expansion next door threatened the very existence of the aging building — but local citizens rallied to save it and in 1933 purchased the structure from the U.S. Treasury Department before its planned demolition!

The building was relocated a few miles away, and in 1936 it was established as the Mint Museum of Art. The museum continues operating today.

A larger extension of the Mint Museum is housed in a modern building a few miles northwest in downtown Charlotte — called Mint Museum Uptown.

So, what can you see and do at the Charlotte Mint Museum?

Here’s a virtual tour through my eyes, when I visited for the first time…

A Look Inside The Mint Museum Randolph

I love museums… And coins…. Oh, and classic art, too!

The Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte satisfied all of this and more. (It didn’t hurt that it was also late October, and the fall colors on campus were just absolutely extraordinary!)

The first thing you’ll notice as you walk up to the Charlotte Mint Museum is its picturesque campus.

The main entrance of the Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte.
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This is the main entrance of the Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte.

They host a lot of events here — both inside the museum and outside on the museum grounds.

When you walk in, you’re greeted by a gorgeous 2-story atrium and friendly staff.

This is the atrium inside the Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte.
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The atrium inside the Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte.

One of the first main corridors you enter on the right contains displays that pay homage to the building’s past as the Charlotte Mint.

A complete collection of Charlotte Mint gold coins with their “C” mintmark is housed in an educational display:

This is an educational display with the Charlotte Mint gold coin collection at the Mint Museum.
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An educational display with the Charlotte Mint gold coin collection at the Mint Museum.

Adjacent to the display housing the Charlotte Mint gold coins is a neat collection of relics showcasing the building’s history as an assay office:

Equipment and relics from the time the Charlotte Mint building served as an assay office.
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Equipment and relics from the time the Charlotte Mint building served as an assay office.

Much of the remaining exhibition space is the home of private and traveling collections of art from all around the world!

The current collection features thousands of items — including portraits and paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and much more spanning the entire globe and periods throughout human history.

British works are found in great numbers at the Mint Museum in Charlotte.
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British works are found in great numbers at the Mint Museum in Charlotte.

The museum’s collection of British works is simply outstanding. The items range from antique furniture and tableware to glorious portraits — some seemingly life size!

Consider, for example, the beautiful oil-on-canvas portraits of Great Britain’s Queen Charlotte and King George III.

They were painted by Scotland’s Allan Ramsay (1713-84) circa 1762 and gifted to the Mint Museum Randolph by Frank Ryan Harty around 1970:

These oil paintings of Great Britain's Queen Charlotte and King George III are huge!
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These oil paintings of Great Britain’s Queen Charlotte and King George III are huge!

Also on display are hundreds upon hundreds of exquisite ceramics.

There were so many, I was compelled to capture an entire array of them in this image — of an entire gallery!

I took many dozens of photos like this while I was at the museum — too many to share them all here. Just be sure you don’t take any flash photography, because the sudden, bright lights of the camera illumination can damage the art.

Beautiful ceramics are on display in large numbers at the Mint Museum Charlotte!
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Beautiful ceramics are on display in large numbers at the Mint Museum Charlotte.

The art collection at Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte contains an eclectic collection of art from around the world — including the continents of South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa:

African art is on display at the Charlotte Mint Museum Randolph.
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African art on display at the Charlotte Mint Museum Randolph.

The Charlotte Mint Museum Randolph also has a large reference library with thousands of books and a theater for lectures and other events.

And there’s a Mint Museum gift shop — which sells reprints of famous works of art, books, and other neat souvenirs!

My Tips For Visiting The Charlotte Mint Museum Randolph

You can easily see the museum in just a couple hours or spend the entire day there taking in all the art, displays, and exhibits.

I spent almost 2 hours at the Charlotte Mint Museum Randolph.

If I had more time in Charlotte, I could’ve easily spent many hours at the Mint Museum Randolph! Not to mention spending more time at the nearby Mint Museum Uptown in downtown Charlotte.

I didn’t have a lot of time — because I was also taking a whirlwind tour of the city during a leaf-peeping road trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway a couple hours away.

The Charlotte Mint Museum Randolph offers many wonderful things to see and do.
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The Charlotte Mint Museum Randolph

Be sure to check the website for the Mint Museum Randolph before you arrive — to see what’s on display, hours of operation, and the current cost.

Touring this museum is absolutely worth the nominal admission fee.

There’s something for just about everybody! It has definitely become one of my favorite things to do in Charlotte.

I’m so glad I made the trip to the Charlotte Mint Museum, and I hope you do, too. I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be disappointed — and I’m already planning to return to the Mint Museum Randolph soon.

If you’re a coin collector, you’ll go for the coins and mint relics… you’ll stay for the art, the exhibits, and all the great history!

Let me know what things you enjoyed the most…

Other U.S. Mint Facilities

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