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NNP Blog

Jul 19 2020

A U.S. Mint Die From 1809

While the National Archives closure has disrupted our scanning activity of U.S. Mint archival materials, primarily correspondence, our focus shifts to transcribing portions of our previously scanned material. Uncovered this week was an 1890 letter discussing a U.S. Mint die from 1809, which somehow escaped the Mint and was returned by A. E. Outerbridge, Jr. A quick Google search indicates that Outerbridge was of a scientific bent and employed as Vice President of the Thomas Devlin Manufacturing Company in Philadelphia, in the field of iron works and tool manufacturing. The letter related that the die was being used as a paperweight by the company stenographer and drew the attention of Outerbridge as a “curiosity.” Presumably the company acquired the die as scrap metal at some point. 

A number of dies from the early U.S. Mint are known, with the largest group at the ANS, these are documented in Secret History of the First U.S. Mint, pp. 72-80. This 1809 die may still exist in the National Numismatic Collection, or within the U.S. Mint itself. Newman Portal acknowledges Roger Burdette and Nicole Fry for developing transcriptions of the National Archives material. 

Link to correspondence related to 1890 die: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/586056
Link to transcribed letters for 1890 on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/archivedetail/515202?Year=1890&take=50
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