A Gold Noel
The holiday season is a reminder of an old tradition of presenting gold coins as a commemoration of Christmas and other significant occasions. Illustrated here is an early 20th century greeting card featuring a cut-out for such a coin. The U.S. Mint correspondence similarly reflects this sentiment, with a disproportionate number of requests for one-dollar pieces coming late in the year. Typical is a December 10, 1889 request from the Central National Bank in New York to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, asking for 50 one-dollar gold pieces “for distribution among the officers of the bank.” Apparently, the rank and file employees failed to meet the cut, even though a one-dollar coin, at the time, would not have been a terribly extravagant holiday bonus. The tradition lives on today, with numerous annual reports of gold coins discovered in Salvation Army donation buckets.
Link to Eclectic Numismatic Treasure Christmas-themed items on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/imagecollection/511173
Link to December 10, 1889 U.S. Mint correspondence from the Central National Bank: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/596140