Eckfeldt, Jacob Reese (1842)
"A treatise on coins," write the authors, "which does not present a picture of them, is but half fitted for its purposes." Yet a decade before the numismatic boom of the 1850s, it was obvious that coin books needed to be picture books. The first chapters of this work concentrate on technical specifications of world gold and silver coinage, a subject near and dear to Eckfeldt and DuBois as assayers of the U. S. Mint. But the real fun starts in chapter six, when Joseph Saxton's steam-powered medal ruling machine is put to work on electrotypes produced from Mint cabinet specimens, most notably an 1804 dollar. The results were remarkable for the time, especially as Saxton's contraption automated the entire process. Sixteen plates are included in all, two with American content. Another prize is the frontispiece, an image of the second United States mint, produced using the daguerreotype, electrotype, and Saxton's medal ruler - a trio of the latest technology. That one of the first American daguerreotypes was executed by Saxton himself, peering out of the same building, in 1839, only heightens the sense of promise of illustrative science that Eckfeldt and DuBois captured for posterity. Voted #79 of the top one hundred items of numismatic literature by the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.