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NNP Blog

Mar 11 2020

U.S. Mint Circulars on Newman Portal

Public statements from the U.S. Mint in the 19th century are few and far between, and most of our knowledge of Mint operations emanates from Mint-internal working documents that were transferred to the National Archives & Records Administration. However, the Mint occasionally issued circulars that effectively served as press releases or public notices. Newman Portal is forming a virtual collection of these ephemeral documents, with two recent additions courtesy of Roger Burdette. 

This pair of 1859 circulars announces the Mint’s intention to purchase or trade for Washington pieces lacking in the Mint Cabinet. James R. Snowden, Mint Director, publicized this in May of that year, and in a subsequent December statement withdrew the offer. Snowden’s program comes within the context of two publications that served as a catalog of the Mint Cabinet. In 1860 Snowden published an overview of the Mint Cabinet (A Description of Ancient and Modern Coins in the Cabinet Collection) and the following year published the Washington pieces (The Medallic Memorials of Washington in the Mint of the United States). These works represented the first extensive study of the Mint Cabinet (the 1846 Pledges of History is also notable), and were no doubt the impetus for Snowden’s solicitation to participate in building what is today the National Numismatic Collection.

Link to U.S. Mint circulars on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/534123
Link to James R. Snowden publications on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/booksbyauthor/1816


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