Gold dollars owe their existence to two major gold rushes in the United States. The first took place in the Carolinas and Georgia in the early 1800s. During that time, a German immigrant Christoph Bechtler began privately minting gold coins including gold dollars that were the first seen in the country. In 1848, the California Gold rush vitalized Congress to expand the use of gold in U.S. coinage. On March 3, 1849 Congress passed legislation authorizing the creation of the country’s smallest gold coin, the gold dollar, as well as the largest gold coin, the $20 double eagle. James Longacre , the U.S. Mint chief engraver was responsible for designing both coins. There are 3 different designs for gold dollars.