The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 27, Number 7, February 18, 2024, Article 11


Tom Hoke submitted these notes on an interesting mislabeled record book from the New Orleans Mint. Thanks! Nice discovery. -Editor

  Mislabeled History: A Billion Dollar Mistake!

New Orleans Mint Gold Book label One of the flaws in archiving history could be an error, or it could have been done on purpose.

If you want to research what happened at the New Orleans Mint while the mint was still under Federal Control before it was turned over to the state of Louisiana and subsequently to the Confederacy, as the Civil War got underway April 13, 1861, it is easy to learn the remaining records can be found in Ft. Worth, Texas at the National Archives and Records Administration in a large leather-bound book called the "Gold Book" because it contains the details for all jewelry and gold transactions for many years.

Written page by page by hand in a beautiful script style, the "Gold Book" provides an accurate and precise record of the yearly and monthly day by day exchanges of gold and jewelry for the New Orleans mint.

  New Orleans Mint Gold Book New Orleans Mint Gold Book page 2
Cover and Page 2 of the New Orleans Mint Gold Book

The index label on the cover of the book indicates the contents inside are for the period 1850-1860, and this is reflected on the internet in the main link to the National Archives, so anyone wanting to review what happened in the New Orleans mint just before the Civil War began bypasses this beautiful book because they are interested in 1861.

I visited the National Archives Records Administration in Ft. Worth, Texas looking for information in 1861, and I was disappointed to see the label showed the contents only to 1860.

I opened the thick book anyway. The first page showed exchanges for January, 1860. I turned to the second page and it showed exchanges continued in sequence, but the date, carefully written in was for January, 1861. The pages for January, 1861 followed, with all the exchanges in numerical order.

That made me curious. Why would someone create a first page with an incorrect date of 1860, then in a book containing every single hand-written detail which was flawless and beautifully presented, make such an obvious error which failed to show the "Gold Book" really covered January 1, 1861 up to January, 14, 1861?

So far, so good. Roger Burdette notes "This is a relatively common cataloging error made when the materials were collected (1930s) and consolidated at GSA in Washigntion, D.C. NNP has RG104 E-11 Box 40 Nov 18 1859 - Nov 22 1862 (New Orleans Mint)."

In 1994 Tom wrote "The New Orleans Mint Treasure," available on Amazon Kindle. This story prompted his visit to the archives. -Editor

The New Orleans Mint Treasure book cover Did anything happen in January, 1861 that was important? Looking at each page it was easy to realize tens of thousands of British Sovereigns were flooding into the bank in exchange for $20 United States gold double-eagle coins! Someone connected to the banking system which took credit in United States gold was sucking all the gold possible from the mint before the Civil War started.

Interestingly two individuals had worked together at the New Orleans mint on construction projects in 1858 to 1860. Those two friends, Beauregard and Duncan, were important in the Civil War. General Beauregard started the Civil War by firing on Ft. Sumpter, and General Duncan, a Superintendent of Public Works was an officer of the New Orleans mint who exchanged British sovereigns for almost all the gold in the mint, which he buried along Harbor Drive West of Waveland, Mississippi.

I have sent a correction for the labeling to the National Archives.

Yes, January, 1861 does matter!

I'll be curious to hear what readers know about the gold treasure story. -Editor

For more information, or to order Tom's book, see:
The New Orleans Mint Treasure (

NA E-Sylum ad Sale 68 2024-02-18

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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