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Mark Fox

Need Help in Finding Washington & Independence Tokens for Isotopic Signature Tests!

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Dear Board,

 

I am in the process of locating 1783 Washington & Independence tokens for a possible isotopic signature analysis by Prof. Ryan Mathur. It is hoped that through this testing we may gain a better, if still imperfect, idea of who minted them by linking the copper with the ore it was mined and smelted from. The old attribution to the Soho Mint is not as likely as it once was. There is now a strong suspicion that Sir Edward Thomason's manufactory is responsible for at least the W & I military bust types. It has been noted by Rulau & Fuld in Medallic Portraits of Washington (2nd ed., 1999), that the punches used for the W & I military busts are in fact mere modifications of the Duke Wellington(!) portraits found on the Wellington Peninsular halfpenny tokens. So I am planning to test one of those as well and see how it compares with its supposed Washington brethren.

 

For more information on W & I tokens, please see:

 

http://www.coins.nd....APED.intro.html

http://www.coins.nd....TARY.intro.html

 

I do understand that probably many, if not most, private Birmingham minters used the same copper ores in Cornwall, so this remains a concern, but the isotopic signatures of the tokens may hold other surprises, and so still be worth the $100-140 cost for "instrument time."

 

I already have one Washington & Independence token that I am thinking of using in the experiments. This one:

 

http://www.forumanci...ar=18&zpg=38705

 

By chance, does anyone have one or two more that they would be interested in donating to the project? Low grade specimens are definitely welcome of either the draped or miltary bust types. Prof. Mathur will not destroy the tokens, but nevertheless told me, "I can certainly analyze some coins for you. If you can sacrifice some small amount of sample. There are several ways to take the sample which will reduce the impact on your sample."

 

This whole project of obtaining isotopic signatures of Washington & Independence tokens is for an article I am writing for The Numismatist, which will have much more to say on the tokens. It will also discuss what little we know about the life and work of Thomas Wells Ingram, the medalist and die sinker credited with designing the W & I seated "Liberty" reverse. The important thing to remember here is that my submission deadline is April 4, so the isotopic signature analysis has to be done very soon.

 

My sincere thanks to the board in advance for any help that can be provided in this large undertaking!

 

 

Best regards,

 

Mark Fox

Michigan

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I don't own any myself, but it sounds like a great project. I look forward to your article.

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Dear Bill,

 

What a small world! Nice to see you here and thank you for the encouraging words. Apparently not many other collectors have Washington & Independence tokens either. I am wondering what to do as time is of the essence. Happily, two Wellington Peninsular tokens are in the mail, so that will help.

 

 

Best regards,

 

Mark Fox

Michigan

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Good luck with your search, Mark!

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Dear Clive,

 

Wow, you are here too?! The world seems to be shrinking like a balloon!

 

Thank you for your kind wishes. I do hope something shows up soon. All I need is one or two battered pieces. If anyone has any photos to contribute of a Washington & Independence token, Unity cent, or one of the undated double-headed Washington cent tokens, that would be helpful too. I will make certain to credit each photographer/owner for any images used.

 

 

Best regards,

 

Mark Fox

Michigan

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