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For Early US Collectors: Myths of The Mint, Part I


rittenhouse
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Since there are a few collectors of early US here it might be interesting to change tack and switch from the coins themselves to the history. From the mid-80s thru 2000 I did a fair amount of research in the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the PA State Library and a few museums.

 

What I found often contradicted the "conventional wisdom" and I published the stuff I thought was the most interesting in several articles for Penny-wise (EAC), the Gobrecht Journal (LSCC) and the John Reich Journal (JRCS).

 

Now, I could simply post excerpts but does't get people engaged or the questions and interest flowing so I thought I'd post in a series of topics or questions.

 

Most of the answers, or a least clues, that all is not right with the written history can be found in the standard texts from Stewart, Taxay, Breen, Julian, and Bowers by comparing quotes from historical documents found therein.

 

So, for those who are interested, put on your thinking caps, pull out your books and let's have some fun:

 

First up - Where did the US Mint get it's first screw presses?

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Good, people are reading books. I thought with the internet it might be a vanishing talent. :ninja:

 

But, not for England or France. A curious clue can be found in Taxay.

 

BTW Art, nice illustration. It's from Diderot's Encyclopedie circa 1751, and is typical of 17th century presses. By the early 1700s presses had become smaller and more powerful.

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Good, people are reading books. I thought with the internet it might be a vanishing talent. :ninja:

 

But, not for England or France. A curious clue can be found in Taxay.

 

BTW Art, nice illustration. It's from Diderot's Encyclopedie circa 1751, and is typical of 17th century presses. By the early 1700s presses had become smaller and more powerful.

 

Don't have a Taxay. But that leads me to a question that I've asked here a few times but no one seems to know. There's a current publication called History of the US Mint, it's published by Whitman. I was wondering if anyone knows how that stacks up against the Taxay book. Any thoughts?

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Don't have a Taxay. But that leads me to a question that I've asked here a few times but no one seems to know. There's a current publication called History of the US Mint, it's published by Whitman. I was wondering if anyone knows how that stacks up against the Taxay book. Any thoughts?

 

That's the new book by David Lange. Haven't read it but I'll ask around. Why not buy both. In fact, if you're really interested in the history why not also buy Stewart's The First United States Mint, Evan's The History of the United States Mint, Taxay, and a copy of Cooper's The Art and Craft of Coinmaking?

 

These are all readily available from Amazon or Abe Books (www.abebooks.com).

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That's the new book by David Lange. Haven't read it but I'll ask around. Why not buy both. In fact, if you're really interested in the history why not also buy Stewart's The First United States Mint, Evan's The History of the United States Mint, Taxay, and a copy of Cooper's The Art and Craft of Coinmaking?

 

These are all readily available from Amazon or Abe Books (www.abebooks.com).

I looked on Amazon for Cooper's book but it was out of print, I think. But maybe I didn't look long enough! :ninja:

Thanks for the other suggestions! ;)

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That's the new book by David Lange. Haven't read it but I'll ask around. Why not buy both. In fact, if you're really interested in the history why not also buy Stewart's The First United States Mint, Evan's The History of the United States Mint, Taxay, and a copy of Cooper's The Art and Craft of Coinmaking?

 

These are all readily available from Amazon or Abe Books (www.abebooks.com).

 

 

I really enjoy books and probably spend nearly as much of my coin budget on books, club memberships, magazines, newspapers and such as I do on coins (that's an average). I was wondering about the new Lange book. I'm thinking of buying it and reading it. But I'm also thinking of recommending it as one of the books that our coin club gives away to the local Middle School Libraries each year. We usually try to do two books and only want to do the Red Book every 5 years.

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Still no answer to the original source of the presses question. I think I'll email Q. David Bowers and ask him. I'd really like to know.

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Well, the conventional wisdom is that the first couple came from England and you have said no to that. I am pretty certain the 4th came from Matthias Ogden, that's fairly well documented as having occurred in 1794. I think I have a Numismatic Scrapbook that states as much.

 

I'm going to say that the earliest presses came from the basement of John Harper, moved after the struck the half dismes.

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Well, the conventional wisdom is that the first couple came from England and you have said no to that. I am pretty certain the 4th came from Matthias Ogden, that's fairly well documented as having occurred in 1794. I think I have a Numismatic Scrapbook that states as much.

 

I'm going to say that the earliest presses came from the basement of John Harper, moved after the struck the half dismes.

 

Been busy so haven't been online. Bingo jlueke, the first 3 came from Harper. There's a Mint record, actually quoted in Stewart, of the purchase. The 4th and 5th, including the dollar press, were made in the US - Samuel Howell. Those records likewise were quoted in Stewart. Surprising that no one put this together before.

 

Ogden's press was purchased, possibly for parts or a replacement of one of the original 3.

 

Gotta run, maybe post next month.

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