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NNP Blog

Jul 29 2020

The Hawaiian Coinage That Wasn’t

While the National Archives remain closed for onsite visits, Newman Portal continues its development of this content with transcription activities. Currently, selected letters from the general correspondence series (Record Group 104, Entry 1) are being transcribed and made available via Newman Portal. An 1890 letter from Mint Director Edward O. Leech to Philadelphia Mint Superintendent Oliver C. Bosbyshell, for example, asks if the hubs for the 1883 Hawaiian coinage are on hand, and further asks for a cost estimate to strike a number of 10-cent and 5-cent pieces. The U.S. government had struck 1883-dated Hawaiian coinage at the San Francisco Mint in 1883 and 1884. No response to Leech is recorded, but an article in the February 1960 Numismatist notes that the Hawaiian obverse dies, then in the Archives of Hawaii, were defaced in 1888. This explains why Leech asked about the hubs and not the dies– whoever initially inquired on behalf of Hawaii likely knew the dies were defaced. In any case, no response to Leech is recorded, and no additional Hawaii coinage beyond the 1883-1884 strikings is known today. Newman Portal acknowledges Roger Burdette and Nicole Fry for assistance with transcriptions of National Archives documents.

Link to National Archives Record Group 104, Entry 1 (U.S. Mint general correspondence) on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/archivedetail/515202
Link to the Numismatist on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/510969
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