322 records found.
U.S. Mint Strikes Bolivian Coins
An 1883 letter from Chief of the Secret Service, James J. Brooks, to Superintendent of the Mint, A. Loudon Snowden, mentions government “operatives” and “inquiries set afoot.” Even though it sounds like an excerpt from a Sherlock Holmes novel, this National Archives correspondence, recently transcribed by the Newman Portal, discusses the possibility of the U.S. Mint striking coins for the country of Bolivia. The Mint was authorized to produce coins for foreign countries as specified by an Act of Congress approved on January 29, 1874. However, the correspondence raises questions about the authenticity of Bolivia’s petition and Brooks requests of Snowden that “no action be taken…as to the preparation of dies for the coining of Bolivian money.”
Sixty years later, the outcome was much different when Bolivia was one of more than 20 countries for which the United States produced coins during World War II. Due to the global economic challenges brought on by this War, many countries were unable to make their own coins and the United States helped them maintain their monetary systems. During the War, these foreign coins were produced at cost and did not yield any profit for the Mint. Between July 1, 1942 and June 30, 1944, they produced 30 million Bolivian coins, evenly divided among the denominations of 10, 20, and 50 centavos.Link to 3 pieces of correspondence regarding Bolivian coins: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/599780
Link to the Mint Report for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1943: https://archive.org/details/annualreportofte1943unit/page/40/mode/2up?q=Bolivia
Link to the Mint Report for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1944: https://archive.org/details/AnnualReportOfTheDirectorOfTheMint1944/page/n55/mode/2up?
Mel Wacks Updates Handbook of Biblical Numismatics
Abraham Sofaer contributed an overview that is featured on the back cover: “This Handbook is just what it sets out to be, and what is needed in the field of Jewish Coinage. Mel Wacks has contributed mightily to this field. And this Handbook - replacing his first version with an entirely new revision - is among his most important gifts. Somehow, Mel has managed to provide a work that is succinct without being superficial; that summarizes all the important material rather than limiting coverage through exclusion; and that simplifies complicated issues without compromising their difficulties.
In pulling off this achievement, Mel has provided a practical, take-along, guide. Every important period is covered, and every significant coin type illustrated. Rather than attempting to supersede other types of books, Mel gives us all - collectors, scholars, and intelligent observers alike - something to use anywhere to identify coin types and context, read inscriptions, and even have some idea of value. Even a novice will be able quickly to learn and appreciate this aspect of Jewish history, and the history of other cultures with whom the Jewish People have interacted. The Handbook is thus a must have for the tutored and beginner alike.”
Link to Handbook of Biblical Numismatics on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/booksbyauthor/518323
Defective Nickels Threaten Small Change
The institutions that returned these flawed five-cent nickels to the Mint were quite candid with their assessment of the coins in their correspondence. For example, the Assistant Cashier of The Citizens Bank of Mount Ayr, Iowa told the Mint that he “would have considered them counterfeit if we had not gotten them directly from you.” Another recipient of the compromised nickels bluntly stated, “tis very evident that if the Nickel will not stand transportation from the Mint to this city [Jacksonville, FL], it will certainly not be equal to the rough usage it will receive from the general public.”
According to this contemporary correspondence, the issue was reported at various times from late 1887 until early 1896. A Mint investigation determined that they were not at fault for the brittle five-cent nickels, but rather that their suppliers provided them with blanks that had not been properly annealed. Even though they were not responsible for the subpar condition of these coins, the Mint promptly sent replacement pieces to those who returned them.
Link to Mount Ayr, IA return letter: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/597553
Link to Jacksonville, FL return letter: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/595763
Link to correspondence regarding brittle five-cent Nickels: https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22U.S.%20Mint%22%20brittle
Garrett Ziss Joins Newman Portal as Summer Intern
Link to Garrett Ziss presentation, “From the War of 1812 to the Civil War: A Chronology of a Numismatic Marriage,” from the March 2021 Newman Numismatic Portal Symposium: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/598038
Collector Seeks 1887 $3 Proof Gold
Set completion is a timeless urge among collectors, as demonstrated by an 1888 letter to the U.S. Mint, recently digitized and transcribed by Newman Portal. The 1888 inquiry to Daniel Fox, Superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint, asks if the 1887 $3 proof gold piece is available, the collection “being one short for ’87.” The 1887 $3 proof is one of the more curious pieces in the U.S. proof gold series. John Dannreuther’s recently published work on U.S. proof gold describes no less than four variants, all struck from the same dies: (1) normal die alignment, (2) medal alignment, (3) normal die alignment struck over medal alignment, and (4) dies rotated with 160 degrees clockwise rotation. An example of (3), vividly depicting the overstrike, is illustrated here courtesy of Heritage Auctions.
Link to request for 1887 $3 proof gold piece: https://archive.org/details/wants1887threedolproof18881211
John Frost Speaks on 20-Cent Pieces
Link to Liberty Seated Collectors Club video content on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/multimediadetail/516987
Link to John Frost and Lane Brunner's Double Dimes website: http://www.doubledimes.com
John S. Dye and His Counterfeit Detectors
Lianna Spurrier performed book design, graphics, and layout of Parkinson’s work under sponsorship of Newman Portal. The result is an elegant presentation, with the visual appeal matched only by the content. Newman Portal welcomes inquiries by prospective authors in need of the same services, and currently has similar projects in production, which will be announced in due course.
Link to John S. Dye and His Counterfeit Detectors on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/599152.
Early Paper Money of America on Newman Portal
One of the most iconic notes in this series is the marbled edge $20 from the Continental currency issue of May 10, 1775. This anti-counterfeiting measure is visually stunning, so much so that it was selected for the front cover of the fifth edition of Early Paper Money of America. The legislation for the May 10 issue, a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 22, 1775, contains an allusion to slavery: “That the propotion or quota of each colony be determined according to the number of inhabitants of all ages, including negroes and mulattos, in each colony.” This stands in opposition to the first article of the Constitution as ratified in 1788, which counted slaves at a rate of 3/5 for the purposes of determining the makeup of the House of Representatives. A broadside of the June 22, 1775 resolution is known (Evans Early American Imprints 42963) and is represented in a number of institutional collections. Owners of the $20 marbled edge notes may wish to keep an eye out for this compelling “go with” item.
Link to Early Paper Money of America on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/imagecollection/513468
Condition Census Pitt Farthing Discovered in UK
A Newman Numismatic Portal (NewmanPortal.org) user from the UK recently reported the discovery of a high-grade Pitt farthing, which researcher Chris McDowell ranks as the fourth finest known. Listed among colonial issues in the Guide Book of United States Coins, the Pitt tokens commemorate William Pitt’s efforts to repeal the 1765 Stamp Tax. The obverse legends read THE RESTORER OF COMMERCE 1766 / NO STAMPS and AMERICA, while on the reverse THANKS TO THE FRIENDS OF LIBERTY AND TRADE encircles the border. Little is known of their origin, which was more likely in Europe than America.
This piece was discovered by a UK dealer, Martin Kent, who operates a coin store in Lincolnshire. Kent located McDowell’s Pitt farthing census, published on Newman Portal, and in turn was connected by Len Augsburger, Newman Portal Project Coordinator, to McDowell. McDowell tells the story of the discovery in his updated census.
“Mr. Kent owns a small coin shop in Alford Lincolnshire, England. His store was closed because of COVID-19 for many months, and he reports that the first week his business was back open in April 2021, a ‘young chap’ brought this spectacular specimen into the store along with a grouping of modern British coins left to him by his grandfather. The hair detail is only matched or surpassed by the three Pitt farthings ahead of it on this census. All ten portholes are visible and it is well-struck with hard surfaces. There is an area above the foremast of the ship on the reverse that needs closer examination as it could be post-strike damage, but it is just as likely to have been present on the flan pre-strike as it has an appearance not unlike that seen on many other Pitt farthings. This specimen could not be observed in-hand because of Covid-19 and other restrictions; however, based on the weight, diameter and known details that have only been observed on authentic specimens , this Pitt farthing is authentic. It is a stunning addition to this census. The fact that it was discovered in England like so many other Pitt farthings, may put the final nail in the coffin of the belief that they were originally produced in America.”
Link to McDowell's Condition Census of all Known Pitt Farthings: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/569217
Glendining Auction Sale Catalogs on Newman Portal
Thanks to John Millensted of Bonham’s (successor to Glendining) for granting permission to scan these catalogs, NNP supporter Eric Hodge for working with Glendining, ANS Librarian David Hill for coordination with Internet Archive, and Lara Jacobs of Internet Archive who performs scanning activities at the ANS library.
Link to Glendining’s 1935 Catalogue of Early American Coins: https://archive.org/details/catalogueofearly00glen/page/n5/mode/2up
Link to Glendining’s auction sale catalogs on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctioncompanydetail/512958