1792 Judd-13 White Metal Quarter, AU58
1792 Quarter Dollar, Judd-13, Pollock-15, High R.7 AU58 NGC.
Just four examples of the Judd-13 white metal pattern are known and
two of those are in museum collections. This example from the
New-York Historical Society has never before been offered for
public sale. New-York Historical retains another similar example
and the American Numismatic Society has an example on an oversized
planchet in their collection, also in New York City.
The Finer of Two Privately Held
Only Two Other Museum Specimens
The Joseph Wright 1792 Judd-13 White Metal Quarter Dollar Pattern
By Zeke Wischer
The rarity and historical importance of Judd-13 transcends physical condition, although the beauty of the design is best appreciated on a high-grade example. The present is by far the finer of the two white metal, Judd-13 pieces available to collectors. There is the slightest friction present on Liberty's cheek and shoulder in the form of grayish patina, while the fields retain almost all of their original satiny luster. Elements of reflectivity in the margins beautifully complement the composition of Wright's design. There are scattered inconsequential marks and faint scratches evident on each side, including several light pock marks below and through STATES and a small tick behind Liberty's neck. The obverse rim is slightly elevated above the field, while the reverse rim is defined primarily by the peripheral stars, which show incomplete sharpness. Central sharpness is excellent. Fine file lines are evident on part of the edge of this piece, but they are intermittent. The overall aesthetics and quality are comparable to the piece that is retained at the New-York Historical Society, and this coin is significantly finer than the Norweb-Partrick XF45 specimen that we handled in our 2015 FUN Signature.
The Most Beloved United States Pattern
By Zeke Wischer
Generations of patterns and circulating coinage are, in the words of Edgar Adams and William Woodin (1913), "the metallic footprints of nations." For the United States, these relics represent not only the different phases of monetary and economic development, but also the ebbs and flows of American sentiment, advancements of artistic achievement, and evolution of national identity. Patterns have long been considered one of the most interesting and beloved segments of United States coinage, embodying many of the rarest and most beautiful pieces the Mint ever produced. Many of these pieces were struck clandestinely in the 1870s and '80s for sale to outside collectors or for expanding the Mint Cabinet. Most others represent the evolution of design changes within specific series or denominations. However, apart from all of those stand the inaugural patterns of 1792 - these embody not just the inception of new designs, but rather the inception of United States coinage itself.
"The device chosen as suitably emblematic of liberty for the first coins issued was a bust of the Goddess of Liberty, though the law permitted the greatest freedom in the composition of a design to express the idea." - Thomas L. Comparette, writing in his Catalogue of the U.S. Mint's numismatic collection, 1914.
Arguably the most coveted of the 1792 patterns is the one attributed to Joseph Wright. Its artistic elegance stands in stark contrast to other 1792 trial designs, which have at times been ridiculed for their artistic failings, or, as Cornelius Vermeule (Numismatic Art in America) called them, "from the artistic point of view, a crude parallel to the Continental paper money that had financed the War of Independence." The Wright pattern, by contrast, renders Liberty in a naturalistic style, youthful, with attractive features and a slender neck. Her hair is simply but ornately gathered in a knot at the back, and the bust is undraped. The field is plain aside from LIBERTY above and the date 1792 below. The legend LIBERTY PARENT OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY that is prominent on the other Mint patterns of this date is omitted here, leaving the field uncluttered and the beauty of the central devices unhindered.
The reverse eagle demonstrates a keen understanding on the part of engraver as to not only the proper proportions of the American bald eagle, but also its proud demeanor. It is perched defiantly atop a globe with wings spreading for flight, its talons large and sharp, its tailfeathers fading into the distance. Surrounding the eagle is the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and an unbroken band of 87 tiny stars. There is no reference to a denomination - another unique characteristic of Wright's design among the patterns of 1792. Modern thinking suggests this issue is a pattern for the quarter dollar, although most contemporary numismatic literature describes the piece as a cent.
Wright's Liberty head and eagle elegantly symbolize, on the obverse, the youth and beauty of the new nation, and on the reverse, her hard-won pride and independence. That symbolism is so beautifully rendered compared to the other trial designs of 1792 that, for many collectors, the Wright pattern is by far the most beloved of the era, and in a way, of the entire pattern series. Indeed, the collector base for this issue is limited only by its profound rarity.
"Only two [copper] specimens are known, one of which was offered at the Bushnell sale and the other is in the Philadelphia Mint. (There is also a specimen of this design in tin..." - Edgar Adams and William Woodin, United States Pattern, Trial, and Experimental Pieces, 1913.
In the catalog of the Charles I. Bushnell Collection in June 1882, the Chapman brothers called the Wright 1792 pattern "one of the greatest gems in this collection, and of the entire United States series." An example of the pattern in copper (Judd-12) was first documented in a private collection in the April 1863 Edward Cogan sale. A white metal piece (Judd-13) first appeared in the George F. Seavey catalog (William Strobridge, 9/1863). By the 1930s, the numismatic community knew of the existence of two Judd-12, copper specimens (one of which was in the Mint Cabinet) and two Judd-13, white metal pieces. In the 1960s, Don Taxay acquired one of the white metal pieces for the Chase Manhattan Bank Money Museum, which later went into the American Numismatic Society museum, forever removed from the public market. By the late 1980s, the sole copper and white metal pieces still available for private ownership went into the collection of Donald G. Partrick.
On June 9, 2003, the front page of Coin World revealed to the numismatic community that two additional white metal specimens of the Wright pattern had been discovered. Authenticated by Anthony Terranova and Michael Hodder, the coins were discovered in the New-York Historical Society during an inventory of their numismatic collection. No record of the donation has been located, but the coins likely entered the Society's collection not long after its founding in 1804. The two pieces represent perhaps one of the greatest stories ever told of lost-and-found numismatic treasure. It is, then, with great honor that we have the privilege of offering here, nearly two decades after its discovery, one of the two coins from the New-York Historical Society collection. This will undoubtedly stand as one of the most significant numismatic auction offerings of our time, presenting arguably the most sought-after United States pattern ever struck.
Figure 1. June 9, 2003 cover of Coin World, announcing the discovery of the Judd-13 patterns at New-York Historical Society.
Early Mint Proposals
By Brian Koller
The earliest Federal attempt to establish a national mint was by the Continental Congress on February 20, 1777, during the midst of the Revolutionary War. A resolution Ordered: "That a Mint be forthwith established for coining money, and that it be referred to the Board of Treasury to prepare and report a proper plan for regulating the same, and a suitable device to be stamped on the coin. "That as much Gold and Silver bullion as can be procured in these States be purchased and paid for in continental currency or loan Certificates payable in Specie with Interest at four per cent per annum at the expiration of three years next after the termination of the present war, and that the bullion so purchased be coined into money, of such value and denominations as shall hereafter be ordered by Congress. "That any persons who will bring gold or silver to the mint may have it coined on their own account. "That a quantity of Copper be purchased and coined into pence and half pence, each penny to weigh half an ounce avoirdupois and be in value equal to one seventy-second part of a Dollar."
Nothing came of that resolution. The Revolutionary War was funded by the issuance of paper money (Continental Currency) and a loan from France. Late in the war, on August 22, 1781, the Continental Congress authorized a Confederation government with various powers, including "erecting a mint." But no action was taken.
The Superintendent of Finance during this period was Robert Morris, a wealthy Pennsylvanian known as the "Financier of the Revolution." Morris was an advocate of a Federal mint. On July 13, 1781 he wrote a letter to Benjamin Franklin suggesting a national bank "as well as the establishment of a Mint which would also be of use." But he lamented, "a considerable Sum of money is necessary, indeed it is indispensably so, for many other purposes."
Morris' principal activity during the 1780s was managing the Bank of North America, the de facto first national bank of the United States. The bank issued paper money, but Morris still sought to found and operate a mint.
On January 15, 1782, in a long missive to Congress, he wrote "The necessary machinery of a Mint can be easily made and there are persons who can perform the whole business. ... If Congress are of opinion with me that it will be proper to coin money I will immediately obey their orders and establish a Mint. And I think I can say with safety that no better moment could be chosen for the purpose than the present."
A few weeks later, on February 21, 1782, the Continental Congress resolved "that Congress approve of the establishment of a mint; and, that the Superintendent of Finance be, and hereby is directed to prepare and report to Congress a plan for establishing and conducting the same."
During the Confederation era, the various states had separate standards of shillings per Spanish dollar. In his January 15 letter, Morris noted that "there is hardly any which can be considered as a general standard unless it be Spanish dollars. These pass in Georgia at five shillings; in North Carolina and New York at eight shillings; in Virginia and the four Eastern states at six shillings; in all the other states except South Carolina at seven shillings and six Pence; and in South Carolina at thirty two shillings and six Pence."
Morris' plan was to introduce silver coin denominations compatible with as many state standards as possible. Along with craftsman Benjamin Dudley, he created the extremely rare Nova Constellatio pattern coins, seven examples of which have survived, and are known to today's collectors as the mark (1000 units), quint (500 units), bit (100 units), and 5 units.
Figure 2. Nova Constellatio 100-unit bit, from the Eric P. Newman Collection (Newman IV, Heritage Auctions, May 2014, lot 30424, realized $705,000).
On April 23, 1783, Morris reported to the Continental Congress. "On the twenty first of February 1782 Congress were pleased to approve of the establishment of a Mint and to direct the Superintendent of Finance to prepare and report a plan for conducting it. This matter has been delayed by various circumstances until the present moment. I now enclose specimens of a coin with a view that if Congress should think proper to appoint a committee on the Subject, I may have the honor of conferring with them, and explaining my ideas of the plan for establishing and conducting a Mint. Such plan when reported by a Committee will more probably meet the Ideas of Congress than any which I might prepare."
A few months later, on August 5, 1783, the Continental Congress resolved "that the Superintendent of Finance be directed to lay before Congress an estimate of the expense which will attend the establishment of a mint including buildings, tools, salaries to officers, &c."
In 1784, future President Thomas Jefferson was a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress with an interest in coinage. On May 12, 1784, Morris' friend Francis Hopkinson wrote to Jefferson informing him that "Mr. Morris ... formed the idea of striking metal coin for the United States. ... We have a machine here already constructed by Mr. [Benjamin] Dudley for the purpose by order of Mr. Morris.
On May 7, Morris sent Jefferson "a set of silver coins ... struck by Benjamin Dudley as specimens of Morris' proposed coinage." Four days later, Jefferson turned over the coins to Charles Thomson, the secretary of the Continental Congress.
In November 1784, Morris resigned his government positions, though he remained active in politics. His resignation opened the door for Thomas Jefferson to become the chief advocate for a Federal Mint.
Jefferson's Coinage Proposal to the Continental Congress
On May 13, 1785, Jefferson wrote a report for Congress that criticized Morris' plan for coinage denominations, and proposed a prescient alternative. "The objections to [the Morris] plan are that it introduces a coin unlike in value to anything now in use. It departs from the national mode of keeping accounts, and tends to preserve inconvenient prejudices. Whence it must prevent national uniformity in accounts; a thing greatly to be desired."
Another plan has been offered, which proposes, that the money unit be one dollar; and the smallest coin is to be of copper, of which 200 shall pass for one dollar. This plan also proposes that the several pieces shall increase in a decimal ratio, and that all accounts be kept in decimals, which is certainly by much the most short and simple mode.
In favor of this plan it is urged that a dollar, the proposed unit, has long been in general use. Its value is familiar. This accords with the national mode of keeping accounts, and may in time produce the happy effect of uniformity in counting money throughout the Union."
On January 19, 1786, James Monroe wrote to Thomas Jefferson that "The subject of the Mint was taken up last summer and determined that the unit should be a dollar. It was afterwards postponed. It will be taken up again so soon as we have nine or ten states [represented at Congress] for at present we have but seven [insufficient for a quorum]."
On April 12, 1786, Jefferson again wrote a report on coinage for Congress. He proposed a dollar of 375 grains "fine silver." Other proposed denominations were the eagle [10 dollars], half eagle, half dollar, double dime [20 cents], dime, cent, and half cent. The gold to silver ratio would be established at 15 to 1, and "two pounds and a quarter avoirdupois weight of copper shall constitute one hundred cents."
On August 8, 1786, the Continental Congress approved Jefferson's proposal and directed "that the board of treasury report a draft of an ordinance for the establishment of a mint."
That ordinance was delivered on September 21, 1786. Gold and silver coinage was to be "eleven parts fine and one part alloy." Mint officers were established as a master coiner and paymaster "whose duty it shall be to receive, and take charge of the coin made under the direction of the Master Coiner and to receipt for the same." The Continental Congress approved the ordinance on October 16, 1786.
If one compares Jefferson's plan with that enacted by the U.S. Mint a decade later, all of Jefferson's denominations were adopted except for the double dime, which would have to wait until 1875. The only U.S. Mint denominations during its early years absent from Jefferson's plan were the quarter dollar and quarter eagle, which he had excluded because they were fractional instead of decimal.
1795 silver dollar was 0.8924 fine instead of Jefferson's 0.9167 fine, and had a silver weight of 359 grains instead of Jefferson's 375 grains. The gold to silver ratio, in 1795, was 14.5 instead of Jefferson's 15. It might have been better had the eventual U.S. Mint adopted Jefferson's numbers instead. The weight of a Federal silver dollar was less than its Spanish-American equivalent, which caused silver dollars to trade at a discount in foreign markets. The lower gold-to-silver ratio led to the export and melting of most Federal gold coins until the ratio was increased in 1834.
After delivering his plan for a Mint to the Continental Congress, Jefferson retained an interest in the subject. In December 1786, when Jefferson was in Paris as the U.S. ambassador to France, he witnessed a demonstration of a coining press designed and operated by Jean Pierre Droz, who was also a skilled die engraver. Jefferson wrote to Francis Hopkinson that "A person here has invented a method of coining the French ecu of 6. livres so as to strike both faces and the edge at one stroke, and makes a coin as beautiful as a medal. No country has ever yet produced such a coin. They are made cheaper too. As yet he has only made a few to show the perfection of his manner. I am endeavoring to procure one to send to Congress as a model for their coinage. They will consider whether, in establishing a new mint, it will not be worthwhile to buy his machines, if he will furnish them."
On January 9, 1787, Jefferson wrote John Jay, at the time the U.S. Secretary of Foreign Affairs. "Observing by the proceedings of Congress that they are about to establish a coinage, I think it my duty to inform them, that a Swiss, of the name of Drost [Jean Pierre Droz], established here, has invented a method of striking the two faces and the edge of a coin at one stroke. By this and other simplifications of the process of coinage he is enabled to coin from 25,000 to 30,000 pieces a day, with the assistance of only two persons, the pieces of metal being first prepared. I send you by Colo. Franks three coins of gold, silver and copper, which you will perceive to be perfect medals: and I can assure you from having seen him coin many, that every piece is as perfect as these. There has certainly never yet been seen any coin, in any country, comparable to this. The best workmen in this way acknowledge that his is like a new art. Coin should always be made in the highest perfection possible because it is a great guard against the danger of false coinage. This man would be willing to furnish his implements to Congress, and if they please, he will go over and instruct a person to carry on the work; nor do I believe he would ask anything unreasonable. It would be very desirable that in the institution of a new coinage, we could set out on so perfect a plan as this, and the more so, as while the work is so exquisitely done, it is done cheaper."
But Jefferson was not the only notable with an interest in securing the services of Droz. Matthew Boulton and James Watt also attended Droz' demonstration. Watt was a leading inventor of the steam engine, in use at Boulton's private Soho Mint. Boulton hired Droz, implemented his ideas, and " thereafter made large quantities of copper coins for the East India Company," per Founders Online at the National Archives website.
On April 14, 1787, Francis Hopkinson wrote Thomas Jefferson that "The Mint is not yet established by Congress. Indeed, their situation is such that they can establish nothing. The states begin to see the necessity of some alterations in the Terms of Confederation, and a respectable delegation from most of the states are to meet here next month to prepare and recommend a new system of Federal Union." This would be the Constitutional Convention, which led to enactment of the U.S. Constitution.
In his 1787 broadside "Vices of the Political System of The United States," James Madison attributed the ineffectiveness of the Continental Congress to its "lack of coercive power." The founding of the U.S. Mint would have to wait until after the Federal Constitution was ratified in 1789.
Fugio Cents and the 1780s State Copper Coinages
In the absence of a Federal Mint, several states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey) and one future state (Vermont) authorized copper coinage. Private New York coiners struck coppers without government sanction. These coppers were approximately equal in value to the future U.S. large cent. There was no silver or gold coinage during the 1780s, with the exception of rare private issues such as the Chalmers shillings and Brasher doubloons.
The Continental Congress did authorize a copper issue: the Fugio "cent." The Continental Congress had "a very large quantity of rough copper" in storage and deemed unusable. In 1781, Benjamin Dudley, the jack-of-all-trades employed by Robert Morris, inspected the copper and determined it to be "the purest copper" and highly malleable. He told Continental agent John Bradford that if Congress wanted "to strike a parcel of coppers for a currency he can make the apparatus and go through the whole process."
Figure 3. 1787 Fugio cent, Newman 1-Z, NGC MS64 Brown CAC, from the Eric P. Newman collection (Heritage Auctions, Newman V, November 2014, lot 3046, realized $55,812,50).
The Continental Congress did not take Dudley up on his offer. Six years later, at a time when state-authorized copper coinage was at its peak, the Continental Congress solicited offers from private firms to coin the Federal copper holding. They received bids from Peter Allaire, Bridgen and Waller, James Jarvis, Mathias Ogden, and Joseph Hopkins. Edward Bridgen was a London merchant and correspondent with Benjamin Franklin. Ogden, a former Colonel in the Revolutionary Army, operated a private mint in Elizabethtown making New Jersey coppers.
On April 9, 1787, Samuel Osgood and Walter Livingston reported to the Continental Congress that they evaluated the bids and concluded that "the propositions of the whole which in the judgment of this Board, deserve the most attentive consideration are those of Mr. James Jarvis, and Mr. Mathias Ogden." They were "in favor of Mr. Jarvis' Plan."
American numismatic folklore has it that Jarvis won the Fugio "cent" contract because of a bribe. In 1988, Walter Breen wrote that "James Jarvis had given Col. William Duer, head of the Board of Treasury, a $10,000 bribe. Duer manipulated matters so that Jarvis got the contract instead [of Ogden]."
There are problems with this tale. $10,000 was a vast amount of money in 1787, equivalent to hundreds of thousands of dollars today. Further, Jarvis' proposition was approved by a committee. He would have had to bribe, or otherwise influence, a majority of members.
In any event, Jarvis won the contract. He was a majority owner of the Company for Coining Coppers, in business since 1785 striking Connecticut state coppers. Jarvis made the mistake of trusting his father-in-law, Samuel Broome, to supervise coinage operations while Jarvis travelled to Europe in the hopes of securing further supplies of copper. Jarvis was unsuccessful, since he could only offer promissory notes.
Broome effectively embezzled the Federal copper and used it to strike Connecticut state coppers, which were lighter in weight than Fugio "cents," and thus more profitable to coin. A small portion of the promised Fugio coppers were delivered to the Continental Congress on May 21, 1788, but there were no subsequent deliveries. The Continental Congress voided Jarvis' contract on September 16, 1788. Broome tried to employ Alexander Hamilton as his attorney, but Hamilton declined. Jarvis, Broome, and coiner Abel Buell fled to Europe to avoid prosecution.
Private Coining Contracts
Despite the scandal of the Fugio coppers, or perhaps because of it, businessmen continued to apply to the Continental Congress for a private coining contract in the absence of a Federal Mint.
Thomas Tudor Tucker was a South Carolina congressman. On March 22, 1790, merchant John H. Mitchell wrote a letter to Tucker. "I have taken in writing to you on the subject of a letter I a few days ago received from a friend in England, the purport of which was to request of me to send the Congress a few specimens of some coins he had made as a specimen for a copper coinage for the British Government, and at the same to request of some person to lay his proposals before Congress for furnishing them with a coinage, should they be disposed to have one, and that he would in a short time send proposals for a gold and silver coinage, on better terms than any person can do.
The Gentleman's name is Mr. Matthew Boulton of Soho (the name of his manufactory) near Birmingham, who is esteemed one of the first mechanical geniuses in the world, who has upwards of 1000 persons at work at his manufactory, and is also a man of considerable property, which enables him to fulfil with greater expedition any engagement of the kind he may enter into; shall therefore esteem it a particular favor if you will be so obliging as to make known his offer as early as possible to Congress, and to let me have as speedy an answer as possible. I have sent you a small case with some of his specimens, which was sent me from England, and which Mr. Boulton also desires may be laid before Congress. He engages to deliver in Bristol, free of all expense packed ready for shipping, any quantity of copper coin, made of pure unalloyed copper, with any device and inscriptions.
It will be necessary to fix on a proper device and inscriptions. I saw a design for an American halfpenny with a sun-dial on one side, with a motto "mind your business," and on the other a chain with 13 links. This device is easily copied by a moderate artist, but if there was on one side either the head of General Washington, or a beautiful female figure, representing by proper attributes the 13 United States, and on the reverse suppose there was a chain of 13 links, with the arms of the 13 States in the thirteen links, it would not only be a handsomer piece of money but more difficult to copy, particularly if an inscription was struck on the edge. As there is no artist in Europe capable of doing that, or of engraving such a figure as the Brittania, which my artist hath nearly finished for the intended British coinage; but the dies being not yet hardened, I cannot send you one at present. However, you will see by those I have sent, our style of workmanship."
Tudor duly delivered the letter to the House of Representatives. On April 8, 1790, the House requested Thomas Jefferson to report on the letter. On April 14, Jefferson did so.
"The Secretary of State, to whom was referred, by the House of Representatives, the letter of John H. Mitchell, reciting certain proposals, for supplying the U.S. with copper coinage, has had the same under consideration, according to instructions, and begs leave to report thereon as follows.
The person who wishes to undertake the supply of a copper coinage sets forth, that the superiority of his apparatus and process for coining, enables him to furnish a coinage, better and cheaper than can be done by any country or person whatever; that his dies are engraved by the first artist in that line in Europe: that his apparatus for striking the edge, at the same blow with the faces, is new and singularly ingenious; that he coins by a press on a new principle, and worked by a fire engine more regularly than can be done by hand: that he will deliver any quantity of coin, of any size and device, of pure unalloyed copper, wrapped in paper, and packed in casks ready for shipping, for fourteen pence sterling the pound.
The Secretary of State has before been apprised, from other sources of information, of the great improvements made by this undertaker [Droz] in sundry arts: he is acquainted with the artist who invented the method of striking the edge and both faces of the coin at one blow: he has seen his process, and coins, and sent to the former [Continental] Congress some specimens of them, with certain offers from him before he entered into the service of the present undertaker, which specimens he takes the liberty of now submitting to the inspection of the house as proofs of the superiority of this method of coinage in gold and silver as well as copper.
He is therefore of opinion that the undertaker, aided by that artist, and by his own excellent machines, is truly in a condition to furnish coin in a state of higher perfection than has ever yet been issued by any nation. That perfection in the engraving is among the greatest safeguards against counterfeits, because engravers of the first class are few, and elevated, by their rank in their art, far above the base and dangerous business of counterfeiting.
That the perfection of coins will indeed disappear, after they are for some time worn among other pieces, and especially where the figures are rather faintly relieved as on those of this artist; yet their high finishing, while new, is not the less a guard against counterfeits; because these, if carried to any extent, must be ushered into circulation new also, and consequently may be compared with genuine coins in the same state: That therefore, whenever the U.S. shall be disposed to have a coin of their own, it will be desirable to aim at this kind of perfection: That this cannot be better effected than by availing themselves, if possible, of the services of the Undertaker and of this artist, whose excellent methods and machines are said to have abridged, as well as perfected the operations of coinage.
These operations however, and their expense, being new and unknown here, he is unable to say whether the price proposed be reasonable or not. He is also uncertain whether, instead of the larger copper coin, the legislature might not prefer a lighter one of Billon, or mixed metal, as is practiced with convenience by several other nations, a specimen of which kind of coinage is submitted to their inspection.
But the propositions under consideration suppose that the work is to be carried on in a foreign country, and that the implements are to remain the property of the undertaker; which conditions, in his opinion, render them inadmissible,
For these reasons. Coinage is peculiarly an attribute of sovereignty. To transfer its exercise into another country, is to submit it to another sovereign.
It's transportation across the Ocean, besides the ordinary dangers of the sea, would expose it to acts of piracy by the crews to whom it would be confided, as well as by others apprised of its passage.
In time of war, it would offer to the enterprises of an enemy what have been emphatically called the sinews of war.
If the war were with the nation within whose territory the coinage is, the first act of war or reprisal might be to arrest this operation, with the implements and materials coined and uncoined, to be used at their discretion.
The reputation and principles of the present Undertaker are safeguards against the abuses of a coinage carried on in a foreign country, where no checks could be provided by the proper sovereign, no regulations established, no police, no guard exercised, in short none of the numerous cautions hitherto thought essential at every mint, but in hands less entitled to confidence these will become dangers. We may be secured indeed, by proper experiments as to the purity of the coin delivered us according to contract, but we cannot be secured against that which, though less pure, shall be struck in the genuine dye, and protected against the vigilance of government till it shall have entered into circulation.
We lose the opportunity of calling in, and recoining the clipped money in circulation, or we double our risks by a double transportation.
We lose in like manner the resource of coining up our household plate in the instant of great distress.
We lose the means of forming artists to continue the works, when the common accidents of mortality shall have deprived us of those who began them.
In fine, the carrying on a coinage in a foreign country, as far as the Secretary knows, is without example. And general example is weighty authority.
He is therefore of opinion on the whole, that a mint, whenever established, should be established at home.
That the superiority, the merit, and means of the Undertaker will suggest him as the proper person to be engaged in the establishment and conduct of a mint, on a scale which, relinquishing nothing in the perfection of the coin, shall be duly proportioned to our purposes.
And in the meanwhile, he is of opinion, the present proposals should be declined."
In his diaries, President George Washington wrote that the "report appeared to me to be sensible & proper." Since the U.S. Constitution, in section 10, forbade state coinages, the founding of a Federal Mint now appeared to be only a matter of time. Alexander Hamilton presented a plan for a Mint on January 24, 1791 that built upon Jefferson's plan of April 12, 1786. One difference between their plans was that Hamilton rejected billon as an alloy for the cent instead of pure copper, since billon could be profitably counterfeited.
Congress Seeks to Build the United States Mint
John Bailey is a name well known to early American numismatists. He operated a private mint in New York City that struck 1788 New Jersey coppers. Bailey participated in the making of the famous Brasher doubloons, and struck the Nova Eborac coppers. He made Excelsior copper patterns as part of an unsuccessful effort to secure a private coinage contract with the state of New York.
On April 17, 1790, John Bailey wrote to George Washington with hopes of becoming chief coiner for a Federal Mint. "I have witnessed an application made to Congress by a person residing in Great Britain [Matthew Boulton] who wishes to undertake the supply of a copper coinage. I shall not call in question the superiority of his apparatus and process for coining, though I must insist that a coinage can be executed as well in America, and cheaper to the United states than if executed abroad. Had the applicant given the result of one hour's work by the steam engine I should have been enabled to have drawn a comparison between his process and my own. I have actually struck, at the rate of 56 coins in a minute, coins in every respect equal to the Specimens which that artist hath transmitted to Congress.
I am acquainted with the whole mystery of Coining in gold in silver in Copper or in Billon. I can make my tools as well as prepare the metals, and can undertake to furnish coin in a state of as high perfection as has yet been issued by any nation. I can not only do this but am disposed to undertake it whenever the general government shall establish a mint, if I am called upon by you for that purpose, and I have at this moment in my possession as complete an apparatus for coining as was as yet ever used in any part of Europe that I am acquainted with.
Sir, you may perhaps do me the honor of recollecting me. During the late war I resided at Fredricksburg and at Fish-kill as a Cutler [sword-maker] and was often favored with your commands."
Bailey's entreaties were ignored. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton attempted to bring coiner Jean Pierre Droz to America. On April 23, 1790, Jefferson wrote to Ferdinand Grand that "You may remember that we were together at the Hotel de la Monnoye, to see M. Drost strike coins in his new manner, and that you were so kind as to speak with him afterwards on the subject of his coming to America. We are now in a condition to establish a mint, and should be desirous of engaging him in it."
Jefferson learned that Droz had left England for France. In April 25, 1791, Jefferson wrote to William Short, the U.S. Ambassador to France, that "we leave to your agency the engaging and sending Mr. Drost [Droz] as soon as possible. ... It is not important that he be here till November or December, but extremely desirable then. He may come as much sooner as he pleases."
On June 6, 1791, Short replied to Jefferson with warnings about Droz from Augustin Dupré, the engraver of the celebrated Libertas Americana medal. "Drost's mode is objected to, and Dupré‚ tells me he is convinced it cannot answer for striking money although proper for medals when few only are wanted. Drost has been here and on the list of the artists in competition for the new [French] coinage projected. Dupré's devices have received the preference, and they are now delivered to the artists to be engraved in competition. It is probable also I think that Dupré‚ will be preferred for this part of the business."
Figure 4. Dupré's Libertas Americana Medal, NGC MS64 Brown, from the Eric P. Newman Collection (Newman XI, Heritage Auctions, 11/2018, lot 15010, realized $36,000).
On June 26, 1791, Short wrote Jefferson that Droz was presently unavailable, but "in the meantime he could send directions for erecting the necessary buildings so that no delay would ensue. He would recommend the having four presses made here, but says two may suffice for the present. They will cost about 22,000 pounds each. I hope you will instruct me with respect to the number you would choose."
On July 20, 1791, Short wrote Jefferson that "Drost has not succeeded in his competition for the place of Engraver General of the [Paris] mint here; it is given to Dupré. I saw Drost two days ago and he seemed now determined to go to America."
In an August 9, 1791 correspondence to Jefferson, Short wrote that Droz "insists on his time counting from his leaving Paris," an indication that he was becoming difficult. But in an August 23 letter to Hamilton, Short was more positive. "You will have learned from the Secretary of State that Drost agrees to go to America to establish the mint agreeably to your wishes. You will find him useful I think in other parts of the subject as well as those which are merely mechanical. He seems to have considered it with a good deal of attention both in its theory and practice."
On August 29, Jefferson instructed Short that "if Drost does not come you have not been authorized to engage another coiner. If he does not come, there will probably be one engaged here [in America]."
An October 9, 1791 letter from Short to Jefferson exhibit growing impatience with Droz. "I have learned lately that Drost and he [Boulton] differed. They speak ill of each other and Boulton particularly of Drost's machine, although Drost says it is used by him (Boulton) in the copper he has struck. Drost assures me he shall be ready to go the next spring. I find him however exceedingly dilatory."
Short's October 14, 1791 letter to Jefferson stated that "Drost called on me yesterday and after some hesitation told me that several circumstances had taken place in his private affairs which rendered it necessary that he should decline going to America. ... Mr. Gautier of the house of Grand had told me that Drost could not be depended on, he feared, for such an undertaking, and that at any rate it would be necessary to deal with him with much caution. He had collected this opinion from Boulton and his friends."
Matthew Boulton, through intermediaries, continued to lobby for a private coinage contract with Thomas Pinckney, the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, instead asked Boulton if he knew of someone qualified for an officer position in the yet-to-be-established U.S. Mint.
But Pinckney wrote to Jefferson on December 13, 1792, "Mr. Bolton states his reasons for the difficulty of obtaining one person capable of undertaking the united offices of chief coiner and engraver; and the salaries separately are not a sufficient inducement to prevail on capital artists to quit their country: at the same time that the propriety of beginning the coinage in a proper style would prevent me from engaging any but a superior artist even without the last injunction of the President on the subject which is itself decisive."
The key positions of coiner and engraver would have to be filled domestically. One applicant who eventually succeeded was Henry Voigt.
Henry Voigt, First Coiner of the United States Mint
On February 26, 1790, Voigt and his partner, John Fitch, both steamship inventors, wrote to President Washington "that being convinced of the necessity of establishing a mint for coining of money in the United States, and the necessity of coining copper cents being so obvious, we doubt not but Congress will Immediately order a mint to be established. Should that take place, we humbly beg leave to represent that each of us have been educated and have followed the business of workers in mettles John Fitch as a gold and silver smith & Henry Voigt as a clock and watch maker; that their fortunes during the [Revolutionary] War were very similar than in easy circumstances in life they both engaged in the gunsmith business although unknown to each other and shared nearly similar the same fate being drove from their abodes by the enemy and almost everything destroyed by them and reduced by that means to penury which by industry since has been in a small degree repaired but by being over anxious to promote useful arts into the world they have now expended nearly four years of the prime of their days to bring one of the greatest improvements into common use vessels to be propelled by the force of steam which they are fully convinced will be of the first magnitude to the United States but they are not so sanguine as to expect immediate profits such as which they now need."
On January 5, 1791, they wrote a second letter to Washington. "These circumstances have emboldened your Petitioners to solicit your excellency's appointment of them as officers of the Mint which they hear is to be soon established in the United States; yet they would not rely on these circumstances so far as to solicit for an appointment in which they could not do justice to their country in the execution.
One of your Petitioners (John Fitch) is a gold-smith by trade and flatters himself that he could render essential service to his country as Assay Master & Superintendent of the workmen in the Mint. The other (Henry Voigt) is perfectly acquainted with the whole process of coining and all the machinery for the business, & can make the instruments himself; having worked in a mint in Germany in his younger years, in which he flatters himself, that he had introduced some valuable improvements."
The partnership of Fitch and Voigt soon foundered. The cause of the rift was Philadelphia landlady Mrs. Mary Krafft. Voigt, who was already married, impregnated Krafft. To save her reputation, or perhaps simply to receive free rent, Fitch married Krafft, who ended her relationship with Voigt, and Voigt in turn ended the partnership with Fitch.
This proved catastrophic for Fitch's steamboat business. It turned out that Voigt was the better inventor. Fitch once said of Voigt that "he is a man most ready of mechanical improvements of any on Earth." Voigt applied again at the U.S. Mint in 1792, shortly after its creation. He became the first Chief Coiner, and retained the position until his death in 1814.
Alexander Hamilton's Report to Congress
By Mark Borckardt
Figure 5. Alexander Hamilton portrait by John Trumbull. New York Historical Society Collection.
Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton was the first to hold that position from 1789 to 1795. Hamilton was born about 1755 at the British Leeward Islands, known today as St. Kitts and Nevis, and he died in New York on July 12, 1804. As a founding father of the United States, he served as a delegate to the Congress of the Confederation in 1788 and 1789. He was responsible for President Washington's economic policies including establishment of the Bank of North America and the First Bank of the United States. The Federalist Party was based on the views of Hamilton, and opposed the views of Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republican Party.
Congress requested that Alexander Hamilton undertake a study on the establishment of a United States Mint. In his detailed report, exceeding 15,000 words, that was submitted to Congress in January 1791, Hamilton studied a variety of related topics. He wrote: "A plan for an establishment of this nature involves a great variety of considerations, intricate, nice, and important." Those specific considerations included:
1. The nature of the money unit of the United States.
2. The proportion between gold and silver, i.e. the gold-to-silver ratio.
3. The proportion and composition of alloy in the gold and silver coins.
4. The handling of the expense of coinage.
5. The number, denominations, sizes, and devices of the coins.
6. The use of foreign coins in domestic commerce.
Hamilton formed his ideas from a variety of sources including European economists, individuals including Robert Morris and Thomas Jefferson, and past resolutions of the Continental Congress. Recommendations included a dollar coin equivalent to the Spanish milled dollar and fractional parts based on a decimal system rather than the Spanish system of one-eighth parts of the dollar. Although he favored a gold standard, he recommended a bimetallic system with a gold to silver ratio of 1 to 15. One ounce of gold had the same value as 15 ounces of silver.
The Mint Act of 1792
By Mark Borckardt
Alexander Hamilton's report on the establishment of a Mint that he communicated to Congress in 1791 formed the basis for the Coinage Act of 1792 that Congress passed on April 2, leading to the creation of a United States Mint in Philadelphia, and ultimately to the 1792 pattern coinage, including the Judd-13 white metal quarter dollar pattern. This remains the most important Congressional Act in the history of the United States Mint. The act essentially outlined the entire operation of that government agency, specifying the location at the seat of government in Philadelphia, naming the officers, their duties and their salaries, identifying the denominations and values of coins, and regulating the design and specifications of those coins. The Mint Act of 1792 also specified that the money of account of the United States would be expressed in dollars and fractions thereof.
An Act Establishing a Mint, and Regulating the Coins of the United States
There were 20 sections of the Coinage Act of 1792, also known as the Mint Act of 1792.
Section 1 established the Mint in "the seat of government of the United States" that, at the time, was Philadelphia. Officers were designated as a Director, an Assayer, a Chief Coiner, an Engraver, and a Treasurer.
Section 2 permitted the Director to employ the necessary clerks, workmen, and servants. David Rittenhouse was soon chosen as the first Director.
Section 3 specified the specific duties of each officer that was named in section 1. The director was the manager of the business. The Assayer received and assayed all deposits of gold and silver. The Chief Coiner caused all of the deposits to be converted into coins. The Engraver prepared all necessary dies for coinage. The Treasurer received all coins from the Chief Coiner and kept the mint's accounts.
Sections 4 and 5 required each officer and clerk to take an oath of office, and each officer to provide a $10,000 bond for their "faithful and diligent performance of duties."
Section 6 specified the annual salaries of officers and the wages of workmen. The Director earned $2,000, the Assayer and Chief Coiner earned $1,500 each, and the Engraver and Treasurer earned $1,200 each. Salaries of clerks would not exceed $500 per year, and workmen earner customary and reasonable wages.
Section 7 stipulated that all accounts were to be settled with the United States Treasury on a quarterly basis and that a yearly report of business would be provided to Congress.
Section 8 provided for the necessary buildings of the Mint.
Section 9, perhaps the most important section of this Act, specified the denominations, weights, and values of the various coins, the eagle, half eagle, quarter eagle, silver dollar, half dollar, quarter dollar, dime, half dime, cent, and half cent. The weights, compositions, and alloy of each denomination were established.
Section 10 identified the designs and lettering for each gold, silver, and copper coin.
Section 11 established the silver-to-gold ratio at 15 to 1.
Section 12 set the standard fineness of gold coins at eleven parts of gold to one part of alloy, and that no more than half the alloy could be silver.
Section 13 established the standard fineness of silver coins and 89.243% silver with copper alloy.
Section 14 outlined the method of receiving deposits and delivering coins. Depositors would have to wait for an unspecified period of time to receive coinage free of expense, or they may pay a one-half percent fee for immediately delivery of coin.
Section 15 states that coins would be delivered to depositors in the order that deposits are made.
Section 16 makes the coinage of section 9 a lawful legal tender at the values stated, or at a proportional value if underweight.
Section 17 states that Mint officers would use their best endeavors to make certain cons comply with the standards of the Act.
Section 18 provided for annual assay procedures and the method of reserving coins for those procedures.
Section 19 outlined penalties for fraudulent debasing of the coins.
Section 20 established the dollar as the money of account for the United States.
Although the Mint Act was passed nearly 230 years ago, several of its sections are as relevant today as they were in the fledgling days of the first Philadelphia Mint.
David Rittenhouse and Associates
By Mark Borckardt
Mint Director David Rittenhouse (1732-1796)
Figure 6. David Rittenhouse portrait by Charles Willson Peale. National Portrait Gallery.
David Rittenhouse was the first Mint director, serving under President Washington from the date of his appointment, April 14, 1792, until his resignation in June 1795. Although he waited until July 9, to accept his appointment due to health concerns, he immediately began making provisions for the new agency.
Rittenhouse was born near Paper Mill Run in Germantown, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Matthias and Elizabeth (Williams) Rittenhouse. His father was a farmer of Germantown. He died in Philadelphia and was buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery. At a memorial eulogy on December 17, 1796, Dr. Benjamin Rush called Rittenhouse "one of the luminaries of the eighteenth century."
Largely self-taught, Rittenhouse mastered Newton's Principia at an early age. His interests revolved around astronomy, mathematics, surveying, and instrument making. He made his first clock and other mechanical devices while still in his teens. His most famous device was his orrery, designed to show solar and lunar eclipses and other astronomical activity for a period of 5,000 years forward or backward. He made two of those devices, and today one is at Princeton, the other at the University of Pennsylvania.
During the Revolutionary War, Rittenhouse served on the Committee of Safety, where he put his scientific skills to use, supervising local cannon production, and suggesting improvements to rifles. As an 18th century scientist, he was considered second only to Benjamin Franklin. Rittenhouse also served as Treasurer of Pennsylvania, and he served the University of Pennsylvania as professor of astronomy, vice-provost, and a member of the board of trustees.
His astronomical and terrestrial observations aided his work as a surveyor, where he established boundaries for several Mid-Atlantic States. As an astronomer, he built an observatory on his father's farm in Norriton, and maintained detailed records of his observations, leading to broad acclaim for his observance of the transit of Venus.
An active member of the American Philosophical Society after being elected to membership in 1768, he served the Society as curator, librarian, secretary, vice-president, and finally as president from 1791 to 1796.
The 1785 Philadelphia directory lists David Rittenhouse, Esq., State treasurer, at the corner of Arch and Seventh Streets. He appeared in the 1791 directory as David Rittenhouse, Esq., 245 Mulberry St. The 1793 directory identifies David Rittenhouse as director of the Mint, and as president of the Democratic Society.
Mint Treasurer Tristram Dalton (1738-1817)
Figure 7. Tristram Dalton portrait. Picture credit JaymzBruggah via commons.wikimedia.org.
Dalton (AKA Tristam Dalton) was commissioned May 4, 1792. Stewart (p. 77) identified Dalton as the Mint Treasurer on October 31, 1792. Dalton was a senator from Massachusetts who was born in Newbury, Massachusetts, died in Boston, and was buried at Saint Paul's Episcopal Churchyard in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Dalton attended Dummer academy in Byfield, and continued his education at Harvard, where he studied law and graduated in 1755. He was a leader of the Whigs of Essex County, while attending to his estate, called Spring Hill, and also engaged in business with his father-in-law, Robert Hooper. Dalton was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1782 to 1785, a member of the Continental Congress in 1783 and 1784, a member of the Massachusetts State Senate from 1785 to 1788, and a member of the United States Senate from 1789 to 1791. Eventual mismanagement by an agent reduced Dalton to poverty. He is interred at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Chief Coiner Henry Voigt (1739-1814)
Voigt was commissioned January 29, 1793. His name appeared on the October 10, 1795 Mint payroll with an annual salary of $1,500. Voigt was in charge of the coining department, including receipt of planchets, striking coins, storing and delivering the finished coins. His name is sometimes spelled Voight. However, the Voigt spelling appears to be correct, and is the spelling that appears on his Presidential commission as Chief Coiner of the Mint. Voigt was a clock and instrument maker from Germany who moved to Philadelphia in 1791 and resided at 149 North Second Street. He was married to Margaretta, and they had five children, Ann, Louisa, Mary, Thomas, and Henry, Jr. His residence address in many Philadelphia directories was always recorded as either 27 North Seventh, or 29 North Seventh, the same address as the Mint. Voigt died in 1814. He was hired as Acting Chief Coiner and Superintendent of the Mint on June 1, 1792, with his employment approved by President Washington on July 9, 1792. Voigt became the first employee of the Mint under Director Rittenhouse. It was felt that he would be a temporary employee of the Mint until a more suited candidate was located, but none ever was, and Voigt continued as Chief Coiner until his death on February 7, 1814. Voigt was a clockmaker by trade, and was selected as chief coiner for his mechanical knowledge. Henry Voigt was a clock and watchmaker in 1785, located on Second Street between Vine and Race Streets.
Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt (1769-1852)
Figure 8. Adam Eckfeldt portrait from George Evans, Illustrated History of the United States Mint.
Adam Eckfeldt was born on June 15, 1769 and died on February 6, 1852. He was paid on account on October 31, 1792 (Stewart, p. 77). Director David Rittenhouse paid Adam Eckfeldt $194.85 for blacksmith work on December 14, 1792. The 1794 Philadelphia directory lists a Blacksmith, Adam Eckfeldt, who resided at 169 Sassafras. Eckfeldt's name appeared on the October 10, 1795 Mint payroll as a die forger and turner at an annual salary of $500. He was commissioned as the assistant coiner on January 1, 1796 with a salary of $800, and he was commissioned as the Chief Coiner on February 15, 1814. He appeared in the Official Register of the United States as the Chief Coiner at an annual salary of $1,500 in each bi-annual edition from 1817 through 1837. Many Philadelphia directories give his address as the West side of Juniper, one door South of Vine; that location is the Vine Street Expressway today. He retired in 1839, although was a frequent visitor after his retirement.
Clerks and Workmen
In addition to these and other Mint officers, clerks and workmen conducted the day-to-day operation of the coinage factory known as the Philadelphia Mint. We know the identity of many of those individuals, but in most cases, we know little about them.
From 1793 through 1833, most Philadelphia Directories are available for free download on the internet at https://guides.temple.edu/c.php?g=525412&p=3591413 . Earlier directories include 1785 and 1791. The series is nearly complete from 1793 through 1833, missing only 1812, 1815, 1826, 1827, and 1832.
Henry Voigt's Daily Ledger. Selected pages reproduced in Moulton, Karl, Henry Voigt and others Involved with America's Early Coinage, Sunnyvale, CA: Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation, 2007.
The "Mint Rules and Regulations" document of January 1, 1793 appears in Stewart, Frank H., History of the First United States Mint, Its People and its Operations, Philadelphia, the author, 1924, pp. 40-1.
The "Workmen who Commenced Work at the Shop" appears in Stewart, Frank H., History of the First United States Mint, Its People and its Operations, Philadelphia, the author, 1924, pp. 24-5.
Isaac Hough was the Director's clerk in the 1790s, at least from late 1792 until late 1795. He was paid on account on October 31, 1792, and his name appeared on the October 10, 1795 Mint payroll at an annual salary of $500.
An individual named Isaac Hough was born at Buck County, Pennsylvania on September 15, 1759, and died in Philadelphia on March 17, 1801. That individual, whom I strongly believe is the same Mint clerk, was the son of Isaac and Edith Hough. He married Elizabeth Houghton in 1781 and they had a son and two daughters. He remarried Elizabeth Eberth in 1793, and they also had a son and two daughters. He resided at 171 North Second Street from 1794 to 1801.
His family was well connected in Pennsylvania. Isaac's father, also Isaac Hough, was a large landowner in Bucks County. Isaac's mother was Edith Hart, granddaughter of Silas Crispin, first cousin of William Penn. Isaac's uncle was Col. Joseph Hart, a member of the Bucks County Committee of Safety and a member of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania.
It seems likely that the Hough family was acquainted with David Rittenhouse, leading to Isaac's position as the Director's clerk.
Back, Frederick signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). He was a pressman in the Chief Coiner's department earning $1.00 daily per the October 10, 1795 Mint payroll, where his name appeared as Frederick Bauck. The 1794 Philadelphia directory records Frederick Back, a cordwainer who resided at 137 North Sixth Street. The 1800 Federal Census lists Frederick Back in Philadelphia's North Mulberry Ward. His household of nine members included one male under 10, one male 10 to 15, one male 16 to 25, one male 26 to 44, two females under 10, two females 26 to 44, and one female 45 or older. The name of Frederick Bauck appears in New York in the Revolution as Colony and State, Vol. II - Extracts, Albany, NY: J.B. Lyon Co., 1904 (www.ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com ).
Bay, Jacob signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). An immigrant named Jacob Bay arrived in Philadelphia on December 1, 1771, aboard the Brig Betsey. There is reference to Jacob Bay of Germantown who made type for a printer, Christopher Sower, who "printed in German the first quarto Bible ever attempted in the United States." The following appears in The Colonial Printer: "In April 1772, Sower employed Jacob Bay, a newly arrived Swiss silk weaver, to assist Justus Fox in the work of casting type for the great Bible. After two years' service, Bay left Fox and set up for himself as a type founder nearby in Germantown. It is recorded by William McCulloch that hereupon Bay 'cast a number of fonts, cutting all the punches, and making all the apparatus pertaining thereto, himself, for Roman Bourgeois, Long Primer, etc.'" Some accounts suggest that Lancaster printer Francis Bailey purchased the type founding equipment of Jacob Bay in 1792. The following record about Jacob Bay appears in the Minutes of the Supreme Executive Council, dated in Philadelphia, Friday, April 21, 1780: "His Excellency Joseph Reed, Esquire, President ... A deed was examined and signed by his Excellency the President, to Jacob Bay, of Germantown, Type founder, conveying a certain stone messuage or tenement and lot or piece of ground thereunto belonging, situate in Germantown, aforesaid; fronting the South-westerly side of the main street, in the inhabited part of the said Germantown, containing in breadth on the said main street six perches two feet and a half, and at the back or South-West end thereof five perches and fourteen feet, and in length thirty three feet; bounded North-eastward by the said Main Street; South-Eastward by a cross street called Bowman's lane, leading towards Schuylkill Falls Ferry; South Westward with Jacob Hood's land; and North Westward with William Clampfer's land; containing one acre and thirty-eight perches; seized as the Estate late of Christopher Saur, forfeited to the use of the State, and sold agreeable to law, on the eighteenth day of September last, to the said Jacob Bay, for the sum of four thousand two hundred pounds, which sum he hath paid into the hands of Thomas Hale, late agent for confiscated Estates in the said county. Deed dated the twentieth day of September last." Jacob Bay appeared in several of Henry Voigt's daily ledger entries from April 2 through August 17, 1793. Most entries have him cutting punches although he also did some coining. On June 5, 1793, Voigt recorded that Jacob was drunk and was to be fined. His usual pay was $5 or $6 every two weeks. On August 10, 1793 he was paid in full in the amount of $1 and his name did not appear on any later ledger entries.
Bitting, John was a workman who was part of the destruction of the Michael Shubert distillery beginning July 19, 1792, per Stewart (p. 23). The 1790 Federal Census lists John Bitting of Northern Liberties. His household included one male under 16, one male over 16, and three females. Records exist of a John Bitting who immigrated to Philadelphia in 1760.
Breining, George signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). The following account appears in the Minutes of the Supreme Executive Council, dated in Philadelphia, May 14, 1790: "The Register and Comptroller General's report upon the following accounts, were read and approved ... Of George Breining, for making a sett of irons for branding casks containing pott and pearl ash, and for cutting the letters and figures thereon, amounting to two pounds five shillings and ten pence, for which sum an order was drawn upon the Treasurer." His name appeared as George Brening on the Mint Payroll for January 1800 as a smith. He may be the same person as George Boeming, listed above. "George Brining" was a blacksmith in the 1790 Census on the East side of Water Street.
Charter, John was a laborer who signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). John Charter of 7 Locksley's Alley appeared in MacPherson's 1785 Philadelphia directory.
Craft, Jacob was a laborer who signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). The 1800 Federal Census indicates that Jacob Craft of the Northern Liberties in Philadelphia was married, that he and his wife were 45 or older, and that they had a son and a daughter, each between 10 and 15 years old. His name again appears in the 1810 and 1820 Federal Census records, but in no later reports, indicating his probable death between 1820 and 1830. A blacksmith named Jacob Craft was located at Callowhill between Third and Race Streets in 1785.
Dawson, Joseph was a laborer who signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). An individual named Joseph Dawson appeared in Pennsylvania tax records living in Philadelphia's North Ward in 1789.
Fantuoling, Michael was a laborer who signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40).
Flude, Thomas commenced work in "the shop" (the coinage building) on September 27, 1792 at $.75 per day, per Stewart (p. 24). He was a laborer who signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). An individual of this name immigrated to America from Leicestershire in 1767. Henry Voigt's daily ledger shows that Flude performed a variety of jobs in the shop, including annealing, rolling, casting, cleaning, cutting, and coining copper. His weekly pay ranged from $5.75 to $7.42 in 1793.
Girard, Daniel (AKA Daniel Gerard) was a laborer who signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). His name appears in the 1788 Pennsylvania Early Census index (www.ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com ). He immigrated to Philadelphia circa 1787. He performed a variety of tasks in the shop, including annealing, boiling, cleaning, rolling casting, cutting, and coining copper. On July 24, he was coining half cents. His weekly pay ranged from $3.60 to $5.70.
Glouse, John Christian was a workman who was part of the destruction of the Michael Shubert distillery beginning July 19, 1792, per Stewart (p. 23). He is identified as a workman who began destruction of a vacant distillery on the Mint property on July 19, 1792. It is unknown if he continued with employment at the Mint.
Guyer, Earnest Frederick signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). However, an entry in Henry Voigt's daily ledger shows that he began his Mint employment on August 13, 1793, suggesting a later date for the Mint Rules and Regulations document: "Guyer, In the Shop, Began ½ day at 100 cents per day."
Healy, William was a laborer who signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). His name was on the monthly payroll for January 1796 as a roller. He prepared planchet strip from metal ingots. Discharged 19 May 1797 and 30 Apr 1799. The name appears in the 1790 Census as a silver-plater and also in the 1794 Philadelphia directory as a silver-plater who resided at the corner of Sixth and Pine Streets. The name of William Healy appears in the 1820 Federal Census. Passenger and immigration lists show that a William Healy arrived in Pennsylvania in 1785. See, also, William Hayley, above.
Jones, David was a laborer who signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). The 1790 Federal Census lists 12 head of households named David Jones living in Pennsylvania, including one who lived in the Northern Liberties of Philadelphia with his wife. The 1800 Census shows 15 people of that name, including three who lived in the Philadelphia area.
Keyser, John was a workman who was part of the destruction of the Michael Shubert distillery beginning July 19, 1792, per Stewart (p. 23). He was a pressman in the Chief Coiner's department earning $1.00 daily per the October 10, 1795 Mint payroll. His name was on the monthly payroll for January 1796 as a pressman. He is identified as a workman who began destruction of a vacant distillery on the Mint property on July 19, 1792 (Stewart, p. 23). The monthly payroll of January 1796 identified him as a pressman with a pay of $20.83 for the month (Stewart, p. 99). He was discharged on May 1, 1797 and again on July 1, 1797 (Stewart, p. 100-101). There may have been two individuals of this name at the Mint. There were five individuals named John Keyser in the 1790 Census for Philadelphia County, including two that resided in the Northern Liberties and two in Germantown.
Klumbach, Everhart signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). Eberhart Klumback was a melter at the Mint Furnace earning $1.40 daily per the October 10, 1795 Mint payroll. His name was on the monthly payroll for January 1796 as a melter assistant.
Kugler, A. signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40).
Lachaize, Peter signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). Peter LaChase was a melter at the Mint Furnace earning $1.60 daily per the October 10, 1795 Mint payroll. Peter LaChaise was on the monthly payroll for January 1796 as a melter who performed 19 days' work. He was an assistant to Joseph Cloud in the latter part of 1796. "He was not a drinking man and was allowed one dollar a month in lieu of rum."
Laum, J. Zelling signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40).
Laurange, Lewis signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). His name appears in many entries in Henry Voigt's daily ledger. He worked In the Shop. On May 28, 1793, he worked all night cutting and casting copper. On June 3, 1793, he was cutting copper. His weekly pay entries for May 25, June 15, June 29, and July 31 totaled $4.98 per period, and $5.46 on August 10.
Laurentia, Lewis commenced work in "the shop" (the coinage building) on October 5, 1792 at $.82 per day, per Stewart (p. 24). The names of Lewis Laurange, Lewis Laurenger, and Lewis Laurentia are probably all for a single person.
Maul, John was a workman who was part of the destruction of the Michael Shubert distillery beginning July 19, 1792, per Stewart (p. 23). On January 1, 1793, Maul tended the oxen and horses of the Mint's power plant (Stewart, p. 77). It is unknown if he continued with employment at the Mint.
Miers, Barney was a laborer who signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). He was a Cleaner in the Chief Coiner's department earning $1.00 daily per the October 10, 1795 Mint payroll. His name was on the monthly payroll for January 1796 as a cleaner. He was discharged on May 2, 1796.
Nessner, Joseph was a laborer who signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40).
Ridabook, Philip was a laborer who signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). His name appears in the 1820 Federal Census for Philadelphia Middle Ward. The record indicates a birth prior to 1775. No other records are found.
Roberts, Abraham was paid on account on October 31, 1792 (Stewart, p. 77). An individual named Abraham Roberts resided in the Northern Liberties in 1790.
Schreiner, John (Jonathan) signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). He earned $6 per week in 1793. He was the Chief Pressman earning $1.80 per day per the October 10, 1795 Mint payroll. His name was on the monthly payroll for January 1796 as a pressman of gold coins. He signed the August 31, 1799 Bond of Indemnity to return to the Mint after the yellow fever season, "on the penalty of twenty pounds." His name appeared on the Mint Payroll for January 1800 as a foreman. He was a pressman in 1817 per the Official Register of the U.S. His annual salary was $400. The only records for a John Schreiner are in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Similarly, the only records for John Schriner are in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Sinderline, Nicholas (AKA Nicholas Sinderling) was a workman who was part of the destruction of the Michael Shubert distillery beginning July 19, 1792, per Stewart (p. 23). He commenced work in "the shop" (the coinage building) on September 29, 1792 at $.75 per day, per Stewart (p. 24). He earned $6 per week in 1793, per Henry Voigt's daily ledger. He appeared as Nicholas Sinderling, an annealer in the Chief Coiner's department earning $1.40 daily per the October 10, 1795 Mint payroll. His name was on the monthly payroll for January 1796 as an annealer. N. Sinderling appeared on the Mint Payroll for January 1800 as an annealer. The name Nicholas Senterling appeared in the 1790 Census for the Northern Liberties.
Summers, Mathias was a workman who was part of the destruction of the Michael Shubert distillery beginning July 19, 1792, per Stewart (p. 23). He signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). He worked as a laborer earning $4.02 per week in 1793. The name appears in the 1790 Federal Census for Franklin, Pennsylvania. One World Tree records a Mathias Summers, born in Franklin, Pennsylvania, in 1735, died in Washington, Franklin, Pennsylvania, on May 21 1801. He was married about 1760 to Anna Maria.
Towns, Burt was a laborer who signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40).
Ward, John (Jonathan) commenced work at the "vise bench" on October 25, 1792, per Stewart (p. 25). He signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). He earned $6.38 to $6.66 per week in 1793. He was a miller in the Chief Coiner's department earning $1.20 daily per the October 10, 1795 Mint payroll. His name was on the monthly payroll for January 1796 as a miller. He was discharged on May 5, 1797. He prepared edges of planchets. The name of John Ward appears seven times in the 1790 Federal Census for Pennsylvania. One of those resided on Water Street, East Side, with five other household members. A John Ward immigrated to Philadelphia in 1772 and another in 1773.
Ward, William signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). He appeared on pages of Henry Voigt's daily ledger from April 2 to May 3, 1793, but not afterward. His work was milling cents and half cents. A William Ward resided in the Walnut Ward of Philadelphia in 1800.
Warwick, Thomas commenced work in "the shop" (the coinage building) on September 24, 1792 at $1.13 per day, per Stewart (p. 24). He signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). He may have been a foreman, as his $9 weekly pay in 1793 was about 50% higher than other employees. The 1810 Federal Census records a Thomas Warwick living in the Northern Liberties of Philadelphia.
York, John Guyer was a laborer who signed the Mint Rules and Regulations document about January 1, 1793 per Stewart (p. 40). He worked at coining on April 6, 1793.
Zolinger, Jonathan was a laborer who worked at the Mint in 1793, appearing in many entries in Henry Voigt's daily ledger. He earned $4.02 to $4.35 per week.
The Joseph Wright Story
By Sarah Miller and Leonard Augsburger
Joseph Wright (1756-1793) was a prominent early American artist, who might well have been considered one of the most accomplished products of the American school had his life not been cut short by yellow fever. Wright was born on July 22, 1756 to Patience and Joseph Wright in Bordentown, NJ. The father was a successful cooper who maintained residences in both Bordentown and nearby Philadelphia, where he likely marketed his services to shipbuilders. He was an older man and passed away in 1769, leaving Patience with four children and another on the way.
Joseph the son entered the Academy of Philadelphia in 1769 and was there at least into 1772. There is no evidence that he studied art there, but rather seems to have received a classical education with a heavy dose of Latin, the sort of schooling typical of well-to-do young men at the time. Meanwhile, his mother Patience was making a name for herself in New York as a wax modeler. Patience was a remarkable personage in her own right, of whom more must be said.
Born Patience Lovell in 1725, the engraver Joseph Wright's mother was raised as a Quaker and was taught from an early age that women should have rights and education equal to that of men. Her education exceeded that of many women of her time, and she was interested in the arts. Her hobby of molding and sculpting wax or putty figures proved to be a lifeline for the Wright family when Patience's husband died. She turned her hobby into an occupation to support her children and worked with her sister, Rachel, to open a waxwork in New York City. By charging admission to see the sisters' molded portraits in tinted wax, including life-sized figures and seemingly lifelike portraits, Patience Wright began a successful career. Her work was interrupted when many of her sculptures were ruined by fire in 1771, at which point Wright made the move to relocate to England, settling into the West End of London.
Exactly when Joseph joined his mother in London is unclear, but he was certainly there by 1775, just as the Revolutionary War broke out in the colonies. Ironically, England may have been the safest place for an American during the war, and during this period we see that the family was politically well-connected. No less than George III and Queen Charlotte sat for the artist Patience and had their likenesses rendered in wax. Patience maintained an active correspondence with Benjamin Franklin and appears frequently in the Franklin letters, well chronicled today at Founders Online. Joseph was accepted at the Royal Academy of the Arts, won a medal in 1778 for the best work among the students, and studied there through 1781.
A self-portrait, probably from this period, survives, in which Wright styles himself as a "Yankee Doodle," or the "American Satan," clearly a bit of satire aimed at the anti-American sentiment within English circles. In 1781, Patience determined to move to Paris, the exact reasons for which are unknown. The family's decided American loyalty may have played a part, as well as their close relationship with Franklin, who from 1779 - 1785 served as minister to France under the Continental Congress. In any case, Joseph Wright was by this time sufficiently advanced as an artist to secure a letter of recommendation from Benjamin West (1738-1820), the American historical painter. Joseph was in France only until 1782, but during this time produced a portrait of Franklin that proved popular, and Wright was able to sell multiple copies.
Wright returned to United States, where he would spend the remainder of his short life. Most of his surviving work dates to this period, and included portraits of important personages such as John Jay, who later became the governor of New York. The Jay family liked the work enough to offer a second commission, that of Jay's oldest son Peter. Wright's portrait of John Jay is held by the New-York Historical Society.
Figure 9. John Jay, by Joseph Wright (1786), presented to the New-York Historical Society by founder John Pintard in 1817.
Wright's early work during this period, however, focused on George and Martha Washington. An artist who was able to attract the "Father of His Country" for a portrait sitting created an instant reputation, a dynamic which the still young painter no doubt appreciated. Wright created multiple renderings of Washington beginning in 1783, and Martha as well, although this work unfortunately has been lost. Wright not only painted Washington, but created busts in plaster, clay, and wax. Several of the plasters, multiple versions residing at Mount Vernon, depict Washington adorned with a wreath, clearly an invocation of a classical theme which intends to lend historical weight to the personality. The Washington "Roman Head" cents of 1792, also featuring a decorated head of Washington, stand in opposition, interpreted by Walter Breen as satirical pieces that represented a "degenerate, effeminate Roman emperor." Regardless, images of the President-to-be made for good business, not only for the immediate income but for the longer term prospects.
Thomas Jefferson praised Wright's work, calling the Wright's work "a better likeness of the General [Washington] than [Charles Willson] Peale's." Higher accolades were hardly possible. Although Peale's Museum in Independence Hall was not yet open, he was the most well-known portraitist in Philadelphia, whose prolific painting production was exceeded only by his progeny, which numbered at least 18. From Washington, Wright went on to paint other important figures such as Alexander Hamilton, Robert Livingston, and George Clinton.
Wright's die-making career and later association with the U.S. Mint was to be short. A July 5, 1791 letter from Wright notes both the inexperience and hubris of the engraver. "I have begun to sink my die and find that I not only can do it but that I am one of the first in the world at that business." To be sure, Wright was almost certainly taught wax modelling by his mother and clearly had worked in sculptural relief with plaster and clay. Die steel was not the same medium as these soft materials, but Wright's reputation was sufficient to attract the commission for the Henry Lee Comitia Americana medal (MI-5).
Thomas Jefferson seems to have given the order for the Henry Lee Comitia dies to Joseph Wright, c, 1791, and the results were not the best. Even a casual observer could recognize that the efforts of the French artists on the earlier Comitia medals, Duviver's Washington Before Boston, for example, were clearly superior. The overall presentation was further degraded by dies that broke early during hardening, so that almost all impressions reveal a prominent bisecting obverse die crack.
Regardless of the less than optimal result, Jefferson seems determined to have engaged Wright as the first engraver of the Mint, perhaps influenced by Wright's political connections. Although Wright never received an official appointment, Jefferson refers, in correspondence, to Wright in this capacity. Following Wright's death in 1793, Jefferson wrote to Washington "The death of Wright will require a new nomination of an engraver. If it be left to Mister Rittenhouse, I think he would prefer [Robert] Scot." While speculative, one wonders if Rittenhouse's choice from the beginning was not Robert Scot, and whether Jefferson might have overruled him on this point.
In any case, Robert Scot did go on to receive the first official appointment as Engraver, and it appears that Wright operated only on a contract basis with respect to the U.S. Mint, for the brief time that he was associated with the first coinage of the United States. Today he is remembered for the Judd-12 and Judd-13 so-called "Wright quarter" pattern dies, produced toward the end of his short life.
Yellow fever periodically attacked the American colonies and persists even today in Africa. The 1793 outbreak in Philadelphia was particularly devastating, claiming an astounding 9% of the population, about 5,000 deaths in a city of approximately 55,000 inhabitants. Those who could escaped to the countryside, including President Washington. Victims suffered horrific medical treatments including bloodletting and forced vomiting. Frank Stewart's History of the First U.S. Mint counts three Mint workers among the fatalities, and there may have been others. Bob Birch, an engraver definitively associated with the New Jersey cent coiner Albion Cox, who possibly engraved the Judd-3 to Judd-5 Birch cents, left no paper trail after 1793 and may have also fallen to yellow fever.
The yellow fever claimed not only Joseph Wright, but also his wife Sarah, who he married in 1789, leaving a son and two daughters. The daughters maintained a relationship with William Dunlap, whose History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States (1834) represents the first significant attempt at a biography of the artist Joseph Wright. Wright's reputation as an early America painter endures, even if his attempts at engraving never reached the full measure of his artistic capability.
The United States 1792 Pattern Coinage
By Leonard Augsburger and Mark Van Winkle
In early America, money was literally a foreign concept. Spanish silver dollars and British halfpence circulated along with locally produced issues, such as the 17th century Massachusetts silver coinage. By the time of the 1780s, state copper coinages, coins, and paper money represented a jumble of disparate issues, complicated by varying "monies of account" in each colony. Printers did a brisk business selling cambists that provided exchange rates, bringing the barest organization to a confused system of foreign and American monetary units. The constantly varying exchange rates helpfully, for the printers, quickly rendered their works obsolete, making new editions ever in demand. The Founding Fathers, in particular Thomas Jefferson, understood the new country would be well served by legislated standards. Jefferson foresaw standardized weights, measures, and money, although he was only successful in delivering the last.
The Constitution, ratified in 1789, set the groundwork for Jefferson's vision. The federal government reserved the right to "coin money and regulate the value," creating a single issuing entity, rather than relying on a hodgepodge of local and international coiners. But the young country had a long laundry list of legislative objectives for the first Congress (1789-1791), including the establishment of various government departments and the First Bank of the United States. Coinage was barely mentioned, until March 1791, when Congress accepted a resolution that "a Mint shall be established." Congress realized there was still work to be done, and that resolving to establish the Mint was not the same as actually enacting detailed legislation.
The specific legislation of the Mint Act was thus worked out during the second Congress and signed by President Washington on April 2, 1792. An important aspect of the Mint Act was the decimalization of coinage, a considerable simplification from the British framework of farthings, pence, shillings, and pounds. Standard coinage weights and denominations now created a coherent scheme across the entire U.S. series. The Mint Act further legislated a trade equivalent between gold and silver, which, while not specifically related to the 1792 pattern pieces, would have a profound impact on America's coinage in the 19th century.
None of this was terribly controversial at the time, and Congress paid considerably more attention to the imagery to be used on the nation's coins. All understood that coinage, an inherent act of sovereignty, carried symbolic importance, and that the mottos and symbols conveyed the ideals of the newly born republic. The most spirited debate surrounded the use of Washington's portrait on the coins, with federalists (generally northerners) in favor, while states' rights proponents (generally southerners) were opposed, and instead sought a personification of Liberty. The crucial vote fell 26-22 in favor of Liberty, and this decision held sway for a long time, until the Lincoln cent was introduced in 1909.
Following the Mint Act, Washington promptly engaged David Rittenhouse as Director of the Mint. The Mint was in turn placed under Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, from 1790 to 1793. Rittenhouse was a natural choice, and perhaps the most renowned American scientist of the era, apart from Benjamin Franklin. Rittenhouse quickly went to work, securing a site for the Mint on Seventh Street in Philadelphia, then the nation's capital. Workmen were engaged, buildings were modified, and coinage equipment was put into operation. At this point, the documentary trail grows colder, and the 1792 pattern coins must speak for themselves. Jefferson himself appears to have taken little interest in coinage design, and many years later wrote to the Mint Director Samuel Moore that his only recollection of the subject was the debate surrounding the use of Washington's portrait on the coins.
The 1792 pattern coins, then, largely stand on their own. The customary questions of numismatics, specifically regarding the design process and the identity of the engravers, or the order of the various coinage emissions, have never been completely answered for these coins, leaving collectors and researchers to conjure various combinations of fact and speculation. The coins directly tell us a few things, but there is much that is unknown.
The 1792 Pattern Coinage Designs
The silver-center cent (J-1 and J-2), Birch cent (J-3 to J-6), half disme (J-7 and J-8), and disme (J-9 to J-11) share a number of similarities. All bear on the obverse the figure of Liberty, the date 1792, and a form of the motto LIBERTY PARENT OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY. The reverses host the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA along with the denomination of the coin. The denomination was strictly required only for copper coins, so the addition of the designations "DISME" and "HALF DISME" appear to represent a decision independently taken by the Mint.
The Eagle-on-Globe patterns (J-12 and J-13) stand stylistically apart from the other pieces. They bear the absolute minimum devices required by Section 10 of the 1792 Mint Act: a figure of Liberty, the date, and the word LIBERTY on the obverse, and on the reverse an eagle with the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The lack of a denomination suggests something beside a cent was intended. The Judd reference lists this a quarter dollar, based on an account presented by the engraver Joseph Wright's (1756-1793) estate to the U.S. government, requesting compensation for "Two Essays of a Quarter Dollar, cut by direction of David Rittenhouse." While this confirms Wright performed some work for the Mint, it cannot be said with certainty this represented the dies used to strike the J-12 and J-13 coins.
In any case, the Wright "quarter" is easily the most artistically pleasing of the 1792 patterns, featuring a figure of Liberty with fine, delicate detail. The coif is stately and dignified, as opposed to the "hedgehog" design of the J-6 Birch cent. The reverse eagle is sweeping and majestic, and far more attractive to the eye than the scrawny bird, seemingly struggling to stay aloft, that appears on the half disme.
While the J-12 and J-13 pieces belong in their own category from a design perspective, certain of the other 1792 patterns reveal various connections. The portrait of Liberty on the J-3 to J-5 Birch cents is highly similar to that of the half disme, if larger and with a reverse orientation. Researchers have attributed both to the same engraver, with Walter Breen offering this opinion in the March-April 1954 Coin Collector's Journal. The J-3 to J-5 Birch cents are signed BIRCH on the truncation of Liberty, an identity which puzzled numismatic observers for many years. Christopher McDowell, writing in the November 2016 Colonial Newsletter, presented good evidence that the engraver was Bob Birch, who is identified in contemporary litigation with Albion Cox, one of the coiners of New Jersey cents in the 1780s. Birch disappears from the scene after 1793, and McDowell speculates that, like Joseph Wright, he may have been a victim of yellow fever.
Mint records are largely silent on these matters, with few documents surviving from the formative year of 1792. Henry Voigt, the Chief Coiner (officially named as such in January 1793, but active at the Mint prior to this) maintained account books for 1792 that were extant as late as the 1860s. The author Frank H. Stewart, who came to own the first Mint property in Philadelphia, made a dedicated search for these records in the 1920s and was able to locate account books only beginning in October 1792. Today most of the Mint's old records have been moved to the National Archives, where researchers such as R. W. Julian and Roger Burdette, while making numerous other discoveries, have similarly not uncovered the earliest Mint records.
Emission Sequence of the 1792 Pattern Coinage
While Voigt's daily records for most of 1792 are missing, certain of the 1792 emissions can be dated with some certainty. The strongest evidence relates to the half dismes. The Mint Director Rittenhouse wrote to Washington on July 9, requesting permission to coin copper half cents, cents, silver half dismes, and dismes, "as small money is very wanted." Washington wrote to Rittenhouse the same day, granting approval to proceed. On July 11, Jefferson recorded in his account book that he delivered $75 to the Mint (possibly in the form of Spanish dollars), and on July 13 indicated delivery of 1,500 half dismes. He then traveled to Monticello and recorded a good number of transactions denominated in half-dismes. "Servants," over the next few days, are tipped 15 cents, 30 cents, 40 cents, or 50 cents. Washington, in his fourth annual message to Congress, delivered November 6, noted "There has also been a small beginning in the coinage of half-dismes; the want of small coins in circulation calling the first attention to them." Today, a single half disme in copper is known, clearly a trial strike, while approximately 200 distinct examples of the silver half disme have been recorded in Pete Smith's exhaustive census of the issue.
Figure 10. 1792 Half Disme, PCGS SP67, Judd-7, ex. Floyd Starr (Heritage Auctions, January 2013, lot 5570, realized $1,410,000).
The silver-center and Birch cents (J-1 and J-2, J-3 to J-5) also show up in the Founding Father's correspondence. Jefferson wrote to Washington on December 18. "Th. Jefferson has the honor to send the President 2 Cents made on Voigt's plan, by putting a silver plug worth ¾ of a cent into a copper worth ¼ of a cent. Mr. Rittenhouse is about to make a few by mixing the same plug by fusion with the same quantity of copper. He will then make of copper alone of the same size, and lastly he will make the real cent, as ordered by Congress, four times as big. Specimens of several ways of making the cent will be delivered to the Committee of Congress now having the subject before them." Voigt's account book for December 17 corroborates the letter, noting he "struck off a few pieces of copper coin." Word of the coining scheme reached the media and was reported in the Baltimore Evening Post on December 28.
The striking period for the dismes and the Eagle-on-Globe patterns is less clear. The disme seems to represent a design evolution beyond the half disme. The eagle is bolder, and flies west (America), with a nod toward the east (Europe). Liberty, too, appears more resolute than the matron of the half disme, evoking the design of the Libertas Americana medal with distinct strands of flowing hair. If in fact these were deliberate departures from the half disme design, these pieces would date between July 13 and December 1792.
Figure 11. 1792 Disme, Judd-10, PCGS SP55 CAC (Heritage Auctions, 1/2019, lot 4321, realized $336,000).
As noted above, the Eagle-on-Globe patterns stand apart from the others, but likely fall after the half dismes in terms of chronology. The J-6 Birch cent is also an outlier. While the engraving is seemingly by the same hand as the J-3 to J-5 cents, the bust is not signed BIRCH. The addition of G? W. PT. (George Washington President) on the reverse suggests that the piece predates the Mint Act of April 2 and the vociferous debate surrounding the use of Washington's portrait on the coinage. If so, this coin may represent a speculative issue, hoping to win a coinage contract with the young nation. An opposing view is that the use of G? W. PT. still remained with the letter of the law - all of the required elements of the Mint Act are present on this coin, and there was no directive prohibiting the use of the president's initials. In this scenario, the coin remains a speculative issue, one that attempts to satisfy both sides.
Dating the Judd-12 and Judd-13 Eagle-on-Globe Patterns
While the half disme was clearly produced in the July, and certain of the cent patterns in December, the precise date of the Judd-12 and Judd-13 striking is less clear. Richard Doty maintains the eagle-on-globe "quarters" were struck sometime during the September through December timeframe, while Andrew Pollock makes a convincing case that the pieces were made in late 1792, based on the motto. The original motto on 1792 patterns reads LIBERTY PARENT OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY. While this motto appears on the earlier patterns of 1792, it was shortened to a more manageable LIBERTY on the Eagle-on-Globe patterns, thus strengthening the later production window as put forth by Doty.
What throws the specificity of Richard Doty's and Andrew Pollock's timeframe into doubt is the temperament of Wright himself. In short, he was lazy. In a letter from 1781, his mother asked an English friend "not to write to Joseph in such style as will encourage him to think she will make a fortune for him; for Joe is inclined enough already to be idle, and that he receives the money from the wax-work exhibition and spends it at pleasure." When he repatriated to America shortly afterward, his reputation for idleness followed him. In 1783, Wright was working on a likeness of George Washington. Washington wrote to Robert Morris, asking him to tell Wright to hurry "as he is said to be a little lazy ... By promise it was to have been done in 5 or 6 weeks from the time I left Philadelphia, near four of which have expired." That same day, Washington wrote to Wright, " ... not to be deficient in point of execution." Georgia Chamberlain relates a different side of Wright's work ethic when she recounts a story about his artistic enthusiasm and energy. One day, " ... he chanced to see a handsome elderly patriarch with flowing grey beard, seated at a window of his New York home. Wright knocked on the door, was admitted, "introduced himself to the family and begged the old gentleman (Mr. Simpson) to sit for his portrait, expressing his admiration of his picturesque appearance." Wright's friend and fellow painter, William Dunlap, concluded, "Wright could work with dispatch on an unofficial portrait of his own choosing." If we factor in Joseph Wright's temperament and work ethic, we are still left with an uncertain time frame when he produced the eagle-on-globe quarter. Did he consider it an official duty (even though he was not a Mint employee)? Or was this a commission he chose to work on with expediency - one that might lead to a prestigious appointment as Engraver in the newly established Mint?
While we may lack documentary evidence when exactly Joseph Wright produced the eagle-on-globe quarters, the evidence seems to be largely in favor of late 1792.
Collecting 1792 Pattern Coinage
Some sets are meant to never be completed, and the U.S. 1792 patterns appear to be such an example. A number of issues are unique, including the J-6 G? W. PT. Birch cent and the J-8 copper half disme, or unique in private hands, such as the Judd-12 Eagle-on-Globe pattern in copper. Donald Partrick, whose set was sold by Heritage Auctions in January 2015, came the closest, missing only the aforementioned J-6, and the J-3 plain edge Birch cent. The patience, fortuity, and ample checkbook required to complete the 1792 set have not yet aligned, although an ambitious collector might choose the current opportunity to embark on such a quest. The offering in this sale, a J-13 Eagle-on-Globe pattern in white metal, will be one of only two pieces outside institutional hands.
For most collectors, focus on the 1792 coinage falls on the silver half disme. These pieces are scarce but available, and regularly appear in the marketplace. The 1792 half disme represents the first coinage of the United States under the Constitution, and the visceral connection to Thomas Jefferson is strong - he personally deposited the silver in the Mint, received the coins two days later, and freely distributed them into commerce. While not inexpensive, an advanced collector can reasonably aspire to possess an example of Washington's "small beginning" of the nation's coinage.
After the half dismes, surviving 1792 pieces are few and far between, and appearances at auction are uncommon. The total population of 1792 coinage, apart from the half dismes, numbers about 60 pieces, and a typical year might bring two or three public offerings of examples. Each of these survivors stands on its own as a representation of the little-documented first year of the U.S. Mint. As a set they tell the story of various experiments with the Mint. A careful study reveals varying edge devices, die alignments, dentil treatments, planchet thicknesses, and even the bimetallic J-1 silver-center cent. David Rittenhouse was a careful scientist, and, even though the written record is thin, the coins themselves reveal deliberate decisions to work through any number of coining challenges.
The inaugural year of the U.S. Mint may have produced only a few written records, but the surviving coins serve as reminders of a fledging attempt to assert America's sovereignty through the medium of coinage, even if technically not at the standard of their European counterparts. Indeed, it would be another two generations before the nation's internally produced money completely met the needs of American commerce. Still, the Mint had to start somewhere, and all of these pieces are physical representations of a young nation determined to assert its independence and place in the world.
The Monetary Denomination of the Judd-12 and Judd-13 Patterns
By Jacob Lipson
The nature of the Eagle-on-Globe pattern has been the subject of debate for two centuries. Unlike the cent, half disme, and disme patterns of 1792, no denomination is present on Judd-12 and Judd-13. Numismatists can only go by the design itself, the diameters and compositions of known examples, and bits and pieces of information passed down through the ages. The Eagle-on-Globe pattern has been alternately called a cent, quarter dollar, and half eagle. Its status as a cent dominated 19th and early-20th century discourse, perpetuated by such numismatic scholars as Sylvester Crosby and Edgar H. Adams, among others. However, these patterns have regularly been referred to as quarter dollars for the past 50 years.
The Wright-Wetherill Memorandum
The earliest written record that informs numismatic opinion of the Eagle-on-Globe pattern is a memorandum transcribed by Mordecai Wetherill on behalf of his neighbor, Joseph Wright, as the latter lay on his deathbed on September 11, 1793. The letter was published in Don Taxay's 1966 U.S. Mint and Coinage, as follows:
"Joseph Wright being very ill and not expecting to recover requested the subscriber to make a memorandum as follows: That the said Joseph Wright had presented an account against the United States for cutting a medal amount fifty Guineas. Two Essays of a Quarter Dollar, cut by direction of David Rittenhouse, Esqr. and presented to him (broke in hardening) value about 40 Guineas."
On its face, the Wright-Wetherill memorandum provides compelling evidence that Joseph Wright was involved in the production of two quarter dollar patterns. However, without any description of what those patterns looked like, it is impossible to say for certain whether or not the essays in question were of the Eagle-on-Globe design.
Additionally, while the memorandum mentions that the quarter dollar dies "broke in hardening," none of the known Eagle-on-Globe representatives in white metal or copper exhibit any evidence of die cracking. If the Wright quarter dollar patterns were genuinely struck from cracked dies, that would run counter the belief that the Eagle-on-Globe design was from Wright's hand, or at least that they were the subject of the memorandum. However, the more likely explanation is that the reference to cracked dies was simply made in error. It is entirely possible that the author confused the quarter dollar dies with Wright's dies for either a medal of Henry Lee or a medal of Washington that was apparently melted. In effect, the contemporary notation is the best source of information we have that the Eagle-on-Globe patterns were produced as quarter dollar essays, though it is far from conclusive.
William Dunlap on Joseph Wright's Cent
A second early record of a proposed coinage design by Joseph Wright was published by William Dunlap in his History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States (1834), a compendium of biographical sketches of artists living and dead at the time of writing. Dunlap noted of Wright:
"He [Joseph Wright] was a modeler in clay and practiced dye-sinking, which last gained him the appointment, shortly before his death, of dye-sinker to the mint.*
"*I have before me a design for a cent, made by Mr. Wright, and dated 1792. It represents an eagle standing on the half of a globe, and holding in his beak a shield with the thirteen stripes. The reverse had been drawn on the same piece of paper, and afterwards cut out."
Dunlap had his finger on the pulse of the American art scene, such as it was, during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Indeed, for a time he resided next door to Wright on Queen Street in New York. His word is entirely credible, making the possible existence of a sketch by Joseph Wright for a cent pattern all the more tantalizing. Unfortunately, that piece of paper has not be traced.
Dunlap's note confirms that Joseph Wright did produce designs for a proposed coin that featured elements similar to those found on the Eagle-on-Globe patterns. However, Dunlap's description of the coin differs from the Judd-12 and Judd-13 in several important ways.
He suggests the date 1792 was located on the same side as the eagle, which he describes as the obverse. Judd-12 and Judd-13 feature the eagle on the undated reverse. Dunlap fails to mention an inscription of LIBERTY or a right-facing portrait, which may have been represented on the portion of the paper that had been cut out. The eagle in Dunlap's commentary holds a shield showing 13 stripes in its beak. No such motif is present on the Eagle-on-Globe patterns. Finally, Dunlap refers specifically to the design as a cent. Perhaps it was noted on the paper itself, or perhaps he was speculating. Dunlap does not specifically say that the denomination appeared on Wright's sketch, and his declaration directly contradicts the contemporaneous memorandum of Mordecai Wetherill.
Like the Wright-Wetherill document, William Dunlap provides both compelling and contradictory evidence regarding Joseph Wright's involvement in the production of an early United States pattern coin. Whether it was specifically intended as a cent or a quarter, whether it featured an eagle on a globe with or without a striped shield, and whether the Wright coins were struck from cracked dies remain to be seen. Besides the scant contemporary evidence, all we have to go by are the coins themselves.
Statutory Designs for the Cent and Quarter
We know that the Mint Act of April 2, 1792 stipulated which design elements were to appear on the fledgling country's coinage. Per Section 10:
"... upon the reverse of each of the gold and silver coins there shall be the figure or representation of an eagle, with this inscription, 'UNITED STATES OF AMERICA' and upon the reverse of each of the copper coins, there shall be an inscription which shall express the denomination of the piece, namely, cent or half cent, as the case may require."
The Mint Act is clear that copper coins were to express the denomination on the reverse, while gold and silver must exhibit an eagle with the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, exactly as found on the Eagle-on-Globe patterns. That design feature alone strongly suggests, if it does not outright confirm, that Judd-12 and Judd-13 were struck as off-metal essays for an unspecified denomination in silver or gold. That likely rules out the possibility that they were intended as cents and makes the case that they were struck as quarter dollars all the more convincing. However, it is not definitive. Other possible conclusions may and have been drawn.
In his 1953 Standard Catalogue of United States Coins, Wayte Raymond suggested the Eagle-on-Globe patterns may have been intended as half eagles. As recently as February 2019, William Eckberg noted in "The Tragic Tale of Joseph Wright," published by The Numismatist, that the obverse and reverse designs may not have been intended for a single coin:
"Strangely, the diameter of the obverse die was 13 percent smaller than the reverse die. (By comparison, the diameter of early quarter dollars was about 15 percent small than the halves.) So, it is reasonable to think they were not supposed to be used together."
Pete Smith has suggested entirely different theory, which we related in our description of Don Partrick's Judd-12 representative offered as part of our January 2015 FUN Signature sale:
"Writing in The Story of the Starred Reverse Cent (1986), Smith makes two points. First, the diameter of the Wright piece (29mm) is larger than that adapted for the regular issue quarter coinage in 1796 (27.5mm). The Wright piece has a surface area 11% greater than the 1796 quarter and would have required a thinner planchet if used for production coinage. Second, the initial coinages of gold and silver in the regular Federal series did not indicate denomination (except on the edges of the half dollar and dollar). This is consistent with the Coinage Act of April 2, 1792, which specified the inclusion of the denomination on the reverse of the copper coins. The Act made no mention of the denomination on silver and gold coinage, neither requiring nor prohibiting it. The Wright piece bears no inscription indicating its denomination. Smith suggests the Wright piece was commissioned with no specific denomination in mind, perhaps as a test of die production or the engraver's skill."
As we round the corner into the third decade of the 21st century, the Eagle-on-Globe patterns remain shrouded in mystery. Their intended denomination is the subject of continued speculation. We do know, however, these ultra-rarities represent important patterns proposed during the nascent stages of coinage creation in this country. For nearly 230 years, collectors and scholars have held them in the highest regard among the most treasured of American numismatic artifacts.
Historical Aspects of the Eagle-on-Globe Motif
By John Sculley
A 1776 decision by the Continental Congress to appoint a committee that would design an official seal for the new nation resulted in many designs featuring an eagle as the main design element. It was the ancient symbol of Jupiter, king of the gods, as well as a symbol of authority, strength, and majesty - one that was recognized as such by the general populace since Roman times. The Bald Eagle was native to America, and it was soon the bird of choice, despite Ben Franklin's preference for a turkey as the national icon.
Figure 12. Excelsior Reverse. Imaged by Heritage Auctions, HA.com.
Upon signing the 1783 Treaty of Paris, emblems of eagles proliferated throughout American society. Nowhere was it more important than on America's post-colonial coinage. In March 1778 New York formally adopted an Eagle-on-Globe design as a primary symbol for its arms of state and on the state flag. It was written, "on a wreath azure and or, an American eagle proper rising to the dexter from a two-thirds of globe terrestrial, showing the north Atlantic Ocean with outlines of its shores."
The Eagle-on-Globe motif soon appeared on several petitions for New York coinage - most notably on the 1787 Excelsior coppers and George Clinton issues, which were likely struck by the collaborative New York mint of John Bailey and Ephraim Brasher.
Figure 13. Eagle-on-Globe Reverse. Imaged by Heritage Auctions, HA.com.
The elegant rendition of the Eagle-on-Globe patterns, attributed to Joseph Wright, asserts the independence of the United States, here depicted as an eagle, rising above the rest of the world. Although Joseph Wright was primarily known as a portrait painter, he received training in mold making and sculpture from his mother, Patience Wright, who is recognized as one of America's first sculptors. She had a wax modeling studio in New York and later in London. Joseph Wright was one of just two artists known to make plaster molds of George Washington. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin respected his varied artistic skills.
Tragically, Joseph Wright and his wife, Sarah, died in 1793 from Yellow Fever. Most of Wright's drawings and experimentations showing alternate versions of the Eagle-on-Globe motif are lost to time.
Figure 14. United States Marine Corp logo.
Today, the best-known adaptation of the Eagle-on-Globe emblem is that of the United States Marine Corps, which adopted the basic design in 1868 and has "modernized" it many times in the intervening years.
Numismatic Discovery and History of the Eagle-on-Globe Patterns
By David Stone
Despite the elusive nature of the 1792 Eagle-on-Globe pattern, numismatic scholars have been aware of the issue since the earliest days of the hobby. We discuss the history of the different versions below.
The Judd-12 in Copper
Adam Eckfeldt acquired an example of the copper version, Judd-12, and placed it in the Mint Cabinet at an early date, so it was available for study by the dedicated group of pioneer collectors in the Philadelphia area. By 1859, Dr. Montroville W. Dickeson had described the coin in his encyclopedic American Numismatical Manual, and published a drawing of it as figure 13, on plate 13 of that work.
Unfortunately, Dickeson was uncertain about the denomination of the piece, which is not specified anywhere on the coin, noting:
"We have denominated this as a pattern-piece for a cent, in the absence of positive information in relation to the purpose for which it was gotten up. It may have been designed for some other denomination, however, as the eagle never appeared upon the authorized cent of the Federal government, till it made its appearance in nickel."
This confusion about the denomination followed the Eagle-on-Globe patterns throughout the 19th century. Sylvester Sage Crosby referred to the issue as the "eagle pattern cent" in his classic colonial reference and Robert Coulton Davis grouped it with the pattern cents of 1792 in his seminal work on patterns. Auction catalogers of this period uniformly followed suit. It was only in the mid-20th century that numismatists, like Don Taxay, began to classify the 1792 Eagle-on-Globe as a pattern for quarter dollars.
The copper Judd-12 and white metal Judd-13 versions made their auction debuts only months apart in 1863. Judd-12 appeared first, in lot 1074 of Edward Cogan's auction of April 8, 1863:
"1792 Pattern Cent, Head, Liberty 1792, rev. Eagle with expanded wings, resting on half of Globe, United States of America, perfectly uncirculated condition, equal in rarity to the pattern cent preceding."
The lot realized $110, an extremely strong price for the time, to a collector named Williams. As the only available specimen of Judd-12 (the other known example is in the National Numismatic Collection), this coin has realized spectacular prices on the few occasions when it has been publicly offered, down to the present day. It has been a highlight of the collections of numismatic giants like Charles Ira Bushnell, Lorin G. Parmelee, and Virgil Brand. In its most recent offering, as lot 5511 of the Donald Groves Partrick Collection, Part I (Heritage, 1/2015), it realized a staggering $2,232,500.
The Judd-13 in White Metal
The white metal Judd-13 first appeared at auction in lot 837 of the George F. Seavey Collection (William Strobridge, 9/1863):
"1792 Pattern for a coin; obv. Head of liberty, 'liberty, 1792;' rev. eagle standing on a section of the globe, 'UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,' white metal, very fine and rare. [One in Cogan's last sale in copper sold for $110.]"
The lot sold for a respectable $22.50, to Massachusetts coin dealer W. Elliot Woodward. Noted pattern researcher Saul Teichman believes this coin was not part of Seavey's collection, but was placed in the sale by Strobridge from another source. Woodward apparently held the coin for a few years, before offering it in lot 882 of his April 1867 sale:
"Head of Liberty, 1792 beneath; rev. eagle standing on a portion of the globe, 'United States of America;' white metal very rare; bought in Seavey's Sale, Sept. 23, 1863, $22.50."
The lot was sold to a mysterious collector called "French", which we believe may have been an alias for William J. Jenks. We know of no other 19th century appearances of this example. It only reappears many years later in the famous pattern collection of Major Lenox Lohr. It eventually found a home in the collection of the American Numismatic Society, forever out of reach of eager collectors.
A second Judd-13 white metal pattern was discovered in the 19th century and first appeared in the Seavey Descriptive Catalog (William Strobridge, 1873). Although Strobridge intended to offer the collection publicly, Lorin G. Parmelee purchased the entire collection in a private transaction before the sale took place (Parmelee had a history of purchasing entire collection in order to acquire specific coins he wanted). Researchers have lost track of this specimen after Parmelee's blockbuster purchase. He must have sold it privately, as it does not appear in the 1890 catalog of his collection. It resurfaced many years later, and has been a highlight of the celebrated Norweb and Partrick collections in recent times.
No information regarding the 19th century whereabouts of the two Judd-13's that later surfaced in the New-York Historical Society has ever come to light.
The Uniface Die Trials
The two uniface die trials, Judd-A1792-1 and Judd-A1792-2, first appeared in the collection of pioneer collector Charles Ira Bushnell. After his death, Bushnell's estate sold his entire collection to millionaire collector Lorin G. Parmelee, who selected a number of coins he wanted to keep and offered the rest of the collection through the young Philadelphia dealers, S.H. and H. Chapman. The Chapman brothers issued a large format, plated catalog of the Bushnell Collection that became the talk of the numismatic community in June 1882. The uniface die trials were offered together in lot 1765 of the sale, directly following Bushnell's specimen of the copper Judd-12:
"Trial impression from the dies of the above, on separate planchets, in pewter. Obv. Fine; rev. slightly scratched. Excessively rare, but one other impression in pewter being known."
Figure 15. Extract of the Bushnell (1882) sale catalog, describing the Judd-13 uniface die trials.
The Chapmans either knew of another pair of die trials in pewter that is unknown to present day collectors, or they mistakenly believed the two white metal Judd-13 examples that had appeared in previous auction sales were also uniface die trials. The earlier sales had taken place before the Chapman's entered the coin business, so some confusion would be understandable.
The Chapman's purchased the uniface die trials for stock and offered them again in lot 437 of their sale of the A. Galpin Collection in May 1883. A named catalog of that sale indicates famous collector John Story Jenks was the buyer. We believe Jenks retained the die trials for the rest of the 19th century and probably parted with them in a private transaction, circa 1921, when he sold the rest of his collection through Henry Chapman. The die trials were later included in the magnificent Garrett Collection and the superb collection of Bob R. Simpson, among others. They have always sold as a pair in all their various appearances.
Provenance of the 1792 Wright Quarter Dollar Patterns
By David Stone
This roster was expanded from work done by Len Augsburger in the catalog of the Partrick Collection, Part I (Heritage, 1/2015).
Eagle-on-Globe Quarter Dollar, Copper (Judd-12)
Figure 16. Imaged by Heritage Auctions, HA.com.
1. MS63 Brown NGC. 178.9 grains. American Silver & Copper Coins & Medals (Edward Cogan, 4/1863), lot 1074, realized $110, to "Williams"; Charles Ira Bushnell; Bushnell Estate; private sale to Lorin G. Parmelee in 1882, along with the rest of the collection; Bushnell Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 6/1882), lot 1764, bought back by Parmelee at $300; Lorin G. Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 9, realized $210; H.P. Smith; DeWitt Smith; Virgil M. Brand (journal #46508); Dr. J. Hewitt Judd; Illustrated History of United States Coins (Abe Kosoff, 1962), lot 15; Donald Groves Partrick; Partrick Collection, Part I (Heritage, 1/2015), lot 5511, realized $2,232,500; Kevin Lipton. Vertical reeded edge. NGC composition analysis is 99% copper.
2. AU50. 175.5 grains. Adam Eckfeldt; Mint Cabinet; National Numismatic Collection; Smithsonian Institution 1991.0357.0121, previously enumerated in T. L. Comparette's inventory of the Mint Cabinet (1914), #1561. "Cleaned in acid" per the Bushnell (1882) catalog. Large pit in obverse left field. Numerous spots, especially on the reverse.
Eagle-on-Globe Quarter Dollar, White Metal (Judd-13)
The numismatic community was astonished when two previously unknown 1792 Eagle-on-Globe patterns in white metal (Judd-13) surfaced in the holdings of the New-York Historical Society. The coins had been in the collection for decades, according to Vice President and Museum Director Margaret K. Hofer, who described the spectacular discovery at the American Numismatic Society's Coinage of the Americas Conference on May 17, 2003. It was publicized in a front-page article in Coin World on June 9, 2003. Hofer noted: "We were unaware of their significance until we had them on display with other Colonial coinage." Heritage Auctions is privileged to present one of these historic numismatic treasures in this important offering.
Figure 17. Imaged by Heritage Auctions, HA.com.
1. AU58 NGC. Unknown donor, possibly early 19th Century; New-York Historical Society, INV.13862b, observed by Henry Bergos circa 2001 and authenticated by Anthony Terranova and Michael Hodder, published in Coin World, June 9, 2003 edition; the present coin. Plain edge, 14 grams (216.0 grains). Die alignment 160 degrees. Previously displayed in the New-York Historical Society's Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture from 2000 to 2011, and in New-York Historical's orientation exhibition, New York Rising, from 2011 to 2018.
Figure 18. Imaged by Heritage Auctions, HA.com.
2. AU58 NGC. Unknown donor, possibly early 19th Century; New-York Historical Society, INV.13862a, observed by Henry Bergos circa 2001 and authenticated by Anthony Terranova and Michael Hodder, published in Coin World, June 9, 2003 edition. Regular planchet. Plain edge, 16 grams (246.9 grains). Die alignment 180 degrees. Previously displayed in the New-York Historical Society's Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture from 2000 to 2011, and in New-York Historical's orientation exhibition, New York Rising, from 2011 to 2018.
3. AU50. George F. Seavey Collection (William Strobridge, 9/1863), lot 837, described as very fine, which corresponds to AU or better today, this coin probably did not belong to Seavey, but was placed in the sale by Strobridge from another source, per Saul Teichman, the lot realized $22.50 to W. Elliot Woodward; Catalogue of American Coins, Medals & Etc. (W. Elliot Woodward, 4/1867), lot 882, purchased by "French" (possibly an alias for William Jenks); unknown intermediaries; Lenox Lohr (Empire Coin Company FPL, 1961); Hazen B. Hinman; Century Sale (Paramount, 4/1965), lot 53; Lester Merkin; Chase Manhattan Bank Money Museum, inventory number 01401; American Numismatic Society, accession number 1980.66.2. Don Taxay, writing in the Whitman Numismatic Journal (January, 1966) notes "...recently I had the privilege of acquiring it for the collection of the Chase Manhattan Bank Money Museum." While the bulk of the Chase Bank collection ultimately went to the Smithsonian, the American Numismatic Society notably procured a class III 1804 dollar, this piece, and other material. Vertical gouges in neck and bust. Thick planchet, 345.0 grains, broadstruck (struck without a collar).
Figure 19. Imaged by Heritage Auctions, HA.com.
4. XF45 NGC. George F. Seavey; Seavey Descriptive Catalog (William Strobridge, 1873), Lot 844, described as fine; Lorin G. Parmelee; unknown intermediaries; Property of a Philadelphia Collector (Henry Chapman, 3/1930), lot 44, realized $135, to Chapman; Richard De Silva Santos Collection (Morgenthau, 10/1935), lot 295; New Netherlands private treaty (6/17/1955); Norweb Collection, Part III (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), lot 3396, realized $28,600; Donald Groves Partrick; Partrick Collection, Part I (Heritage, 1/2015), lot 5512, realized $376,000. Plain edge. 242.3 grains, broadstruck. Die alignment 180 degrees. NGC composition analysis is 50% lead, 48% tin.
Uniface Die Trials, Judd-A1792-1 and Judd-A1792-2
Figure 20. Imaged by Heritage Auctions, HA.com.
1. AU53 PCGS. CAC. Judd-A1792-1. Uniface obverse die trial, 480.8 grains.
Figure 21. Imaged by Heritage Auctions, HA.com.
2. XF45 NGC. Judd-A1792-2. Uniface reverse die trial, 432.9 grains.
These two uniface die trials have traded as a single pair since 1882:
Charles Ira Bushnell; Bushnell Estate; private sale to Lorin G. Parmelee in 1882, along with the rest of the collection; Bushnell Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 6/1882), lot 1765, realized $30 to Chapman; A. Galpin Collection (S.H. and H. Chapman, 5/1883), lot 437; John Story Jenks; John Work Garrett; Garrett Estate; Johns Hopkins University; Garrett Collection, Part IV (Bowers and Merena, 3/1981), lot 2354; Rare Coin Review #39 (Bowers and Merena, 7/1981); The Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 1/1999), lot 1011, realized $24,150; southern collection; Bob R. Simpson.
NOTE: These two uniface die trials will be offered at the 2021 ANA Convention in Heritage Auctions' catalog of Important Selections From the Bob R. Simpson Collection.
Notable Owners of 1792 Eagle-on-Globe Patterns
By David Stone
Excluding institutions, like the American Numismatic Society, the Smithsonian, and the New-York Historical Society (which is covered in its own section in this catalog), and coin dealers who purchased the coins for professional purposes, we have positively identified 13 notable collectors who have owned one, or more, examples of the 1792 Eagle-on-Globe pattern. The following list also excludes owners known only by their aliases used in auction catalogs (i.e., "French") and collectors whose names appear on the cover of an auction catalog, but who probably did not own the Eagle-on-Globe patterns that appeared in these sales (i.e., Richard De Silva Santos). Much of the following is based on Pete Smith's American Numismatic Biographies.
George F. Seavey owned example #4 of the white metal Judd-13 in our roster. He was a resident of Cambridgeport, Massachusetts and he formed a remarkable collection of colonial, U.S. federal, and pattern coins in the early days of the hobby. In an era in which branch mint issues were not widely collected, Seavey's U.S. federal collection was considered complete when he exhibited it at the Boston Numismatic Society on February 4, 1869. Seavey continued to add complete copper, silver, and gold proof sets to his collection every year until 1873, when he sold his numismatic holdings through dealer William Strobridge. Strobridge intended to offer the collection at auction, and prepared a remarkable plated catalog for the sale, but Boston collector Lorin G. Parmelee stepped in and purchased the entire collection before the date of the sale. Strobridge published a limited edition of the catalog as a reference.
Figure 22. Charles Ira Bushnell portrait from the 1882 S.H. & H. Chapman catalog of that collection.
Charles Ira Bushnell owned example #1 of the copper Judd-12 and both uniface die trials (Judd-A1792-1 and Judd-A1792-2) in our roster. Bushnell was born in New York City on 7/28/ 1826 and died there on 9/17/1880. He compiled a remarkable collection of U.S. coins that was particularly strong in colonial issues. An early numismatic scholar and author, he published articles in the New York Sunday Dispatch and authored works on tradesmen's cards, political tokens, and election medals in 1858. He retained his collection, which included a 1787 Brasher doubloon and a 1792 Birch cent, in addition to his Eagle-on-Globe patterns, until his death in 1880. The collection was subsequently purchased intact by Lorin G. Parmelee in a private transaction. Pete Smith reports Bushnell was related to the young Philadelphia coin dealers, Samuel Hudson and Henry Chapman. Parmelee selected coins he wanted from the Bushnell holdings and consigned the remainder of the collection to the Chapman brothers in 1882. The Bushnell sale (6/1882) was a landmark in the history of U.S. coin auctions, with a large format catalog (100 examples with plates) that set a new standard for the industry. Parmelee ended up buying back a number of coins in the auction that he decided were too important to let go. The sale realized a staggering $13,900.47.
Figure 23. Lorin G. Parmelee portrait published in the New York Coin & Stamp Co. catalog of that collection.
Lorin G. Parmelee owned example #1 of the copper Judd-12, example #4 of the white metal Judd-13, and both examples of the uniface die trials (Judd-A1792-1 and Judd-A1792-2) in our roster at various times, thanks to his en bloc purchases of the Bushnell and Seavey collections. He retained his Judd-12 example until he sold his entire collection through New York Coin & Stamp in 1890. He sold the white metal Judd-13 privately at some point and both of the uniface die trials were sold in the Chapman's Bushnell sale in 1882. Lorin G. Parmelee was born near Wilmington, Vermont on 5/7/1827 and died in Danvers, Massachusetts in 1905. He made a fortune selling baked beans to Boston area restaurants, starting around 1850. Collector friends asked him to keep an eye out for rare large cents that came in over the counter at his business and he soon developed an interest in collecting himself. He participated enthusiastically in numismatic auctions of that era, traded with other numismatists, and purchased the entire collections of Charles Bushnell, George Seavey, and Carson Brevoort to acquire desired specimens. By the time he sold his collection, it was hailed as the most complete collection of U.S. coins formed in the 19th century.
John Story Jenks owned the two uniface die trials (Judd-A1792-1 and Judd-A1792-2) in our roster after he purchased them at the Chapman brothers' sale of the A. Galpin Collection in 1883. He sold them privately at some point, possibly to John Work Garrett around 1921. John Story Jenks was born in Baltimore on an uncertain date between 1829 and 1839, and died in Philadelphia on 4/7/1923. He began his long collecting career in the 1850s and was an especially good customer of the Chapman brothers. He sold his mammoth collection of U.S., world, and ancient coins through Henry Chapman in December 1921. The sale brought a record price of $61,379.46.
DeWitt Sheldon Smith owned example #1 of the copper Judd-12 in our roster in the 1890s and retained it until his death. His estate sold his entire collection to super collector Virgil Brand in 1908 for $62,619.38. DeWitt Smith was born in Sandsfield, Massachusetts on 4/4/1840 and died in Lee, Massachusetts on 6/25/1908. He was a Mason and President of the Smith Paper Company. His collection was especially rich in colonial issues and private gold.
Figure 24. Virgil M. Brand portrait.
Virgil Brand owned example #1 of the copper Judd-12 in our roster after he purchased DeWitt Smith's collection in 1908 until his death in 1926. Virgil Brand was born in Blue Island, Illinois on 1/16/1862 and died in Chicago on 6/20/1926. He established the extremely successful Brand Brewing Company in Chicago in 1899. He began collecting coins around 1889, or perhaps a little earlier, and was president of the Chicago Numismatic Society from 1908 to 1909. Buying extensively, both privately and at auction, from foreign and domestic sources, Brand compiled one of the largest privately owned coin collections of all time, including more than 350,000 items. After his death, the collection was split between his brothers, Horace and Armin. It required decades to completely disperse the collection, with Brand coins appearing at auction as late as 1985.
Dr. John Hewitt Judd owned example #1 of the copper Judd-12 in the 1950s and sold it privately through Abe Kosoff, circa 1962. John Hewitt Judd was born in Dawson, Nebraska on 5/12/1899 and died in Omaha on 12/23/1986. He was a life member of the American Numismatic Association and served as President of the ANA from 1953 through 1955. He specialized in patterns and authored the standard reference for the series, United States Patterns, Experimental and Trial Pieces, in 1959. He sold the pattern portion of his collection to Abe Kosoff in the early 1960s.
Figure 25. Jon Hanson and Donald G. Partrick.
Donald Groves Partrick owned example #1 of the copper Judd-12 and example #4 of the white metal Judd-13 in our roster. Partrick acquired his finest-known Judd-12 from Abe Kosoff privately in the 1960s and retained it until he sold a portion of his collection through Heritage in 2015. Described in lot 5511 of the Partrick Collection, Part I (Heritage, 1/2015), the Judd-12 brought a tremendous price of $2,232,500. Partrick's Judd-13 sold in lot 5512 of the same sale for $376,000. Partrick was born on 1/4/1926 and died in 2020. He was a successful real estate developer in New York and served as President (1999-2007) and Chairman (2007-2008) of the American Numismatic Society. The remainder of his collection is currently being sold in an ongoing series of auctions through Heritage.
Lenox Riley Lohr owned example #3 of the white metal Judd-13. He served with distinction in World War I and later became President of the Columbia Broadcasting System. Lohr compiled a remarkable collection of about 1,500 patterns that he sold through the Empire Coin Company (Q. David Bowers and James Ruddy) in 1961.
Hazen B. Hinman owned example #3 of the white metal Judd-13, after he purchased it from the Empire Coin Company in 1961. He sold his collection through Paramount in their catalog of the Century Sale in April 1965. The coin, in lot 53, was described as a half eagle pattern and attributed to Jean Pierre Droz. Shortly afterward, this piece was acquired by the Chase Manhattan Bank Money Museum, and later by the ANS.
The Norwebs owned example #4 of the white metal Judd-13, after purchasing it from New Netherlands in a private transaction on 6/17/1955. Emery May Holden Norweb was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on 11/30/1896 and died on 3/27/1984 in Cleveland, Ohio. Her family had lucrative mining interests in the western United States and owned the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. She began collecting coins as a young girl, helping her father, Albert Fairchild Holden, keep track of his advanced collection and acquire new specimens from prominent dealers of that era. She served as a nurse in World War I and married the Honorable Raymond Henry Norweb in Paris in 1917. R. Henry Norweb was born in Nottingham, England on 5/31/1894 and died in Cleveland, Ohio on 10/1/1983. Norweb was a member of the U.S. diplomatic service and served in many foreign posts throughout his career. The Norwebs built one of the finest collections of U.S. and colonial coins of all time and served in high offices at the ANA and ANS.
Figure 26. John Work Garrett photo.
John Work Garrett owned the two uniface die trials (Judd-A1792-1 and Judd-A1792-2) in our roster, after obtaining them privately, probably from John Story Jenks, circa 1921. Garrett was born in Baltimore on 5/19/1872 and died there on 6/26/1942. The Garretts had financial interests in shipping and were the principal stock holders in the B & O Railroad, of Monopoly boardgame fame. Garrett, and his brother Robert, inherited the family coin collection, which had been started by their father, T. Harrison Garrett, in the 1860s. John Work Garrett acquired full interest in the collection from his brother around 1919. Garrett served in the diplomatic service, like R. Henry Norweb, and was Ambassador to Rome before resigning in 1933. He continued to expand his remarkable collection until his death in 1942. The collection was posthumously donated to Johns Hopkins University. It was finally dispersed in a series of auctions by Stack's and Bowers and Ruddy, from 1976 through 1981.
Figure 27. Bob R. Simpson photo.
Bob R. Simpson owns the two uniface die trials (Judd-A1792-1 and Judd-A1792-2) in our roster. He grew up on a ranch in Cisco, Texas and graduated from Baylor University, with a BBA degree in Accounting. He is part owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, a generous philanthropist, and has had a long and successful career as an energy executive. A legendary numismatist, Simpson is currently offering selections from his magnificent collection in a series of auctions through Heritage. The two uniface die trials are scheduled to appear in Heritage Auctions' August 2021 ANA Signature Auction.
About the New-York Historical Society
By Sarah Miller
Founded in 1804, the New-York Historical Society bears the distinction of being the first New York City museum. It was founded by 11 of the City's most prominent citizens of the time, including Mayor DeWitt Clinton and merchant John Pintard.
From the time of its founding, New-York Historical has supported scholarship, education, and the study of American history. While these goals have remained constant, the museum's collections have grown and expanded significantly over time. A catalogue printed in 1813 reveals that the Society at that time held 4,265 books, 234 volumes of United States documents, 119 almanacs, 130 newspapers, 134 maps, several oil portraits, and 38 engraved portraits. Today, New-York Historical's collections include more than 14 million works of art, artifacts, documents, and ephemera relating to the founding of our country and the history of New York and its people. These collections span four centuries and reflect the history, diversity, and continuing evolution of New York City, New York State, and the nation-all in support of the Historical Society's mission to foster examination and debate of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history. Collection highlights include renowned Hudson River School landscapes, one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Tiffany lamps, and all 435 of John James Audubon's unique preparatory watercolors for The Birds of America.
New-York Historical has occupied several locations over its more than two centuries of activity. After several moves in its early years, its first dedicated building opened in 1857 at Second Avenue and 11th Street, providing a home for the next 50 years. As New York City itself expanded northward, an ambitious plan was set into motion to create a new building uptown that was large enough to accommodate the needs of the growing institution. New-York Historical's present home at Central Park West and 77th Street on New York City's Upper West Side was designed by architects York and Sawyer and completed in 1908. The landmark building has undergone updates and expansion but remains true to its original Beaux-Arts design.
New-York Historical collected numismatic items from its inception. Records indicate that by 1817, prominent New Yorkers including Dr. David Hosack, Cadwallader Colden, and Mrs. Gouverneur Morris had donated coins. By 1829, the coin and medal cabinet numbered 1,254 objects and has since grown to encompass more than 3,000 items. Numismatic highlights include the original gold Comitia Americana medal awarded to General Horatio Gates by Congress for his military exploits at Saratoga in 1777; a gold strike of the 1826 Erie Canal medal presented by the City of New York to Major General Andrew Jackson; and a gold strike of Augustus Saint Gaudens' 1889 Washington Centennial Medal owned by Hamilton Fish. Coins and medals feature in New-York Historical's exhibitions and publications and are available for scholarly research. One of the two virtually identical Judd-13 patterns will be retained in the collection for exhibition and study.
The New-York Historical Society has issued its own medals, including a centennial piece by Victor D. Brenner in 1904 and a 150th anniversary medal by Ralph Menconi in 1954. Brenner, the New York engraver, is best known for the Lincoln cent, the most reproduced numismatic item of all time. Brenner's 1904 New-York Historical Society centennial piece features three-quarter views of founder John Pintard and first president Egbert Benson, along with a view of the Society building on Central Park West.
Figure 28. New-York Historical Society Centennial Medal, 1904, by Victor D. Brenner. Imaged by Heritage Auctions, HA.com.
Now, a new generation of collectors has the uncommon opportunity to be the custodian of this true rarity and piece of Colonial history. Preserved with great care by the New-York Historical Society, the 1792 Judd-13 White Metal Quarter Pattern is uniquely available after having been in institutional hands for much of the time since its creation.
John Ward Dunsmore Sketches at the New-York Historical Society
Included in New-York Historical's collection is an important cache of works of John Ward Dunsmore (1856-1945), known in numismatic circles for his painting Washington Inspection the First Money Coined by the United States (1915). The work was commissioned by Frank H. Stewart, who purchased the first Mint property in Philadelphia and chronicled its story in History of the First United States Mint (1924). Stewart created a number of lithographic reproductions of Dunsmore's work, which occasionally appear in the marketplace and are highly prized. The original painting, property of Independence National Historical Park, is today on loan to the United States Mint, where it may be viewed in the exhibit area.
Dunsmore presents an apocryphal scene, in which Martha Washington, dressed in full regalia, inspects a 1792 half disme, the work of the assistant coiner Adam Eckfeldt. Pictured from left to right are Alexander and Elizabeth Hamilton, Tobias Lear, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Martha Washington, David Rittenhouse, Adam Eckfeldt, and Henry Voigt.
Figure 29. Washington Inspecting the First Money Coined by the United States (John Ward Dunsmore, 1915). Photo credit: Jeremy Katz.
While the finished painting hangs in Philadelphia, New-York Historical holds preliminary pencil sketches, in addition to an earlier oil-on-linen concept. In this version, George and Martha Washington are welcomed to the Mint by Director David Rittenhouse, while the remainder of the party descends from the coach. Although we can only speculate as to the artist's intention, it is notable that he depicted neither coins nor coining equipment. While the sign indicates "United States Mint," there is little here to connect the viewer with the nation's coinage, apart from the bowing figure of the Mint Director David Rittenhouse.
Figure 30. Sketch for a Visit to the Mint by Pres. Washington & Party in 1792. New-York Historical Society collection. Photo credit: New-York Historical Society, accession no. X.704b.
Dunsmore thus prepared a pencil sketch of the final version, which captures the most important elements of the finished work - the party of Founding Fathers, the coin press, and the coin itself. The completed painting added ancillary equipment and workmen, with the visual focus remaining on the personalities, who, by their presence, honored the workers and products of the first U.S. Mint in 1792.
Figure 31. Sketch for Mint Picture (John Ward Dunsmore, 1914). New-York Historical Society collection. Photo credit: New-York Historical Society, accession no. INV.14700.
Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 294M, PCGS# 11036)
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