‘NUMISNET WORLD’


Volume 15 Issue 6          Formerly published as the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' - Internet Edition' (Est. 1996)          June 2010


 

‘NUMISNET WORLD'

INTERNET EDITION

Edited by Graeme Petterwood. © 2010.

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Any comments published in this privately produced newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the 'Numisnet World' (Internet Edition) nor its Editor. 

Bearing in mind our public disclaimers, any Internet links selected by the authors of this newsletter, are usually provided as a complimentary source of reference to the featured article in regard to: (1) Illustrations -  or  - (2) To provide additional important information. 

Some illustrated items - including their designs and packaging -  may be subject to existing copyright restrictions. In such instances, they may not be replicated or their images reproduced or republished - unless prior permission is sought from, and given by, the originator of such item, design or packaging.

 

Please consider my conditional invitation to make a literary contribution if you feel you have something numismatically themed that may appeal to a general level of interest and fulfils our stated editorial guidelines. 

As Editor, I am always prepared to look at it - and if need be - assist in presentation.  However, please be aware that not every submission will be automatically accepted for publication.  We regret the imposition of 'editorial control' - but previous experience has necessitated the following conditions.

If common courtesy, and normally acceptable moral standards are not upheld, or, the subject matter is considered to contain plagiarized or defamatory content, or, if it is not considered 'generic' enough for this type of newsletter, or, if the subject has already been covered in depth in earlier editions - it may be refused, held aside or selectively edited.  This is, obviously, not a scientific-style journal - our object is to educate, certainly - but, hopefully, in an entertaining way for the average hobbyist collector.  - G.E.P.

 

Remember - be astute when you are handed change - not all the wonders of numismatics have been discovered yet - and they don't have to be shiny and new! This edition again features an assortment of  'trivia'  that I think is of interest and I trust it will prove educational and entertaining to you as well. 

All or any prices quoted in articles in this newsletter, unless stipulated, are estimates only and they should not be considered to be an offer to sell or purchase the items mentioned or used as illustrations. 

Wherever possible - illustrations (*enlarged or otherwise) are from the authors' own collection or the extensive picture library of the former 'Tasmanian Numismatist' -  Internet Edition and the  'Numisnet World' - Internet Edition. © 1996 - 2010.

(Fair 'acknowledged' use of any original scan is allowed for educational purposes.)

*Please note that the photoscans of items are not always to size or scale.

 

PLEASE NOTE - RE-STATED DISCLAIMER: Where on-line web-site addresses are supplied, they are done so in good faith after we have checked them ourselves - however, our readers are advised that if a personal decision to access them is made - it is at your own risk.

 

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LARGE SILVER COINS

Compiled by Graeme E. Petterwood.

 

Supplementary scans from the Editor's Picture Library.

Please note that the silver coin samples shown in these articles are within the range from VG - UNC.

Highly polished-surface silver content coins have a natural reflectiveness that creates scanning problems, and, also the various silver content of coins does have some obvious bearing on appearance. It should be noted that some experienced collectors claim that they can often provide a good 'guesstimate' on how old a coin is, and how much a coin has been alloyed, by its colour and texture, due to the oxidation tarnish effect on an uncleaned item that has been in normal circulation.  Note the various silver hues shown in the illustrations!

Mintage details are from the 'Standard Catalog of World Coins' (various editions) by Krause Publications and any measurements shown are approximate - of necessity, the scans are not all to scale but should provide reasonable and viewable images.

 

Whilst browsing through some old Tasmanian Numismatic Society journals and 'Newsletters' from the late 1960's and onwards, I happened upon several articles written by several T.N.S. members about the old and large, high silver content. international coins of yester-year.

Extracts from those un-illustrated articles are, basically, as written - although some have been re-paragraphed to fit the page more appropriately - but I consider them well worthy of repeating, and, it is to the past endeavours of those authors, that any tributes should be directed.

These local Tasmanian authors included several former and current  members and friends - the late Mrs. Dorothy Lockwood, the current President (and founder of the T.N.S.) Roger V. McNeice OAM, FRNS. and, especially,  Mr. T.W. 'Bill' Holmes OAM, AFSM (now retired ) - who had built up a notable collection of large Silver coins during his collecting career and who proved to be a great mentor when I first started to show interest well over a decade ago. Please remember, that comments contained within the following extracts are contemporary with the times in which they were written.

 

My major regret is that  I, personally, haven't samples of all the items mentioned, however, I have found some issues of more modern coins that fit the parameters, amongst my own collection.  These newer coins were produced long after the original observations were made and some of them will be discussed, illustrated and then added at the end of this compilation.

The Illustrations, as mentioned, are supplied from my own picture library, or from already acknowledged assets, and some are enlarged in scale for clarity.

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"Through Centuries of Dollars"

- Article by (late) Dorothy Lockwood.  'Newsletter' No.8 - October, 1968

Joachimsthaler.

The large coin called a Joachimsthaler, first coined in 1520, by the Counts of Schlick was the forerunner of the dollar. It was called a Joachimsthaler after Joachimsthal, Bohemia, and was made of silver mined in the Valley of St. Joachim (St. Joseph).

The name was shortened to thaler, and it soon became a standard coin in Europe. Other coins appeared under the name of thaler, tala, dala and dollar. The Obverse shows a full-length figure of St. Joachim and the Coat-of-Arms of Schlick. The reverse shows the Lion of Bohemia.

 

The Spanish Dollar.

The Spanish Dollar is among the most famous and widely used coins of the world. In 1580 the Mexico Mint first struck the crude "cob" pieces of eight reales. The Spanish milled dollar, later introduced, was of very fine silver and many countries used them as standard currency. Sometimes they were counter-stamped and sometimes other coins were over-struck on them.

The Spanish dollars, commonly called pieces of eight, were, among other coins, included in the Proclamation of Governor King in 1800, making them legal tender in the colony of New South Wales, and later they were also legal tender in Van Diemen's Land.

From these fine silver coins came our famous "Holey Dollar".

 

 

Spanish 8 Reales minted in Mexico City 1804 - showing various cuts the were applied to make 'small change' - Ed.

Samples enlarged for detail -  .903 Fine Silver - Actual Silver weight .7859 oz. - 40mm.

 

The Maria Theresa Thaler.

Much has been written about the beautiful Maria Theresa thaler which is still being struck in millions* -  (*at time of wring - Ed.)

They were mostly used for trade purposes, and with the changing political aspect of Europe over the centuries the thaler was, at one time or another, struck in Berlin, Paris, Rome, London, Bombay and the Mint, Birmingham. They are now being struck at the Vienna Mint, and although they are no longer currency in Austria, they are still in use as money in parts of Africa.

All the re-strikes are 83% silver, dated 1780, which is the year Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria, died. (See illustration below)

 

Bank of England Dollar.

These dollars were issued by the Bank of England in 1804 to help overcome the shortage of actual coin provided by the Royal Mint.

Previous to this there were large stocks of Spanish Dollars on hand, and many of them were countermarked with the head of George III.

In 1804 the Bank of England arranged to have the Spanish Dollars restruck, and the original design was removed by Boulton's powerful machinery at the Soho Mint in Birmingham. The dollars were then restruck with the new design, and were called bank dollars or Bank of England Dollars. Traces of the original markings can still be seen on many of the dollars.

 

United States Peace Dollars.

These were minted from 1921 to 1935. The obverse shows the head of a young girl, as a symbol of liberty, and on the reverse is an eagle, perched on the peak of a mountain, on which the word "peace" is written. The ancient symbol of peace - an olive branch - is in the claws of the eagle. The sun's rays in the background represent the dawn of a new day.

This dollar is the only one issued in the twentieth century by any country on which the word '"peace" is inscribed. (See illustrations below).

 

Canadian Dollar (Voyageur)

The Canadian voyageur dollar, that is, the one with the two voyageurs (a white man and an Indian), paddling a canoe laden with bales of furs, has an interesting advertisement on it for the Hudson Bay Co.

In 1670 the Hudson Bay Co was granted permission for trading in Canada in the Hudson Bay District. In those early times trading was with beads, trinkets, blankets, and gas-pipe guns for valuable furs. This company is still in operation, but today they trade in land, oil, mines etc.

If the dollars are examined (using a good x10 magnifying glass - Ed.) it will be seen, on the bale of fur nearest the native Canadian Indian paddler in the bow, a distinct mark "HB" for Hudson Bay Co.

(There are many more interesting dollars of various countries, among them being the Japanese Trade Dollar, the Straits Settlements Dollar, and the Chinese Dollars. The very famous, and one of the most sought after modern coins, is the Chinese Automobile Dollar, which is the only coin that features a car on the obverse.)

 

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"The British Trade Dollar."

Article by Roger NcNeice, OAM, FRNS. - 'Newsletter' No.8 - October 1968.

 

One of the very interesting series of crown sized coins to collect is the British Trade Dollar. They were minted at regular intervals by the British Government to be used in the Far East.

 

* (It should be noted that Roger did include a complete list of dates, mints and estimated mintages in the 'Newsletter' journal of October 1968; however, for reference purposes - the readily available "Standard Catalog of World Coins" - original edited by Chester Krause - and now by others - does give comprehensive mintage details of the Britannia Series Trade Dollar at the end of the Great Britain section and these can now, also,  be accessed on the CD  versions of the Krause Publications. The books are available through local reference libraries if a perusal is all that is required.)

 

The obverse of the Trade Dollar depicts a standing and helmeted classic figure of Britannia, with Shield and Trident; whilst the reverse design incorporates the denomination in Chinese and Malay script enclosed within Eastern-style scrollwork. Both obverse and reverse are surrounded by a classical Greek -style decorative edging. (See below - Ed.)

 

1899B British Trade Dollar - with the hard-to-see micro 'B' mintmark on central prong of trident.

MINTS

1925 issue and 1930 issue without the "B" mint mark were minted at the Royal Mint, London. 

1901, 1902 with "C" MM (*mint-mark) - Calcutta Mint.

A few copies of 1900 issue are known with the "C" MM, and a few without any MM. The scarce 1900 were also minted at Calcutta.

All other dates were struck at the Bombay Mint, India, and show a "B" MM. 

A few 1895, 1897 and 1898 show no mint mark, probably because the "B" MM was not put on the die, or the die became filled.

The "B" MM is found incuse in the central prong of the trident in the hand of Britannia.

The "C" MM is incuse in the ground between the left foot of Britannia and the base of the shield.

 

The 1921B was never minted for circulation. A few original Proof specimens were struck, also a few proof re-strikes. These Proof re-strikes have been made of a number of dates of the trade dollars that were originally struck in India. They can be identified easily as the Proof re-strikes are very brilliant, whereas the originals are usually dull and tarnished, and there are minor dots caused by corrosion pits on the die.

Proofs were also struck in gold.

The 1935B were minted in large numbers and shipped to the Far East. Very few coins were issued.

The coins were deposited in bank vaults and held as security against the dollar paper notes introduced by the Hong Kong Government in 1955.

The 1934 -35 dollars were sent to the Royal Mint before the war and melted down.

 

Proof Strikings.

1921B  Re-strike - rare

1921B  Proof - only known (50,211) with no circulation copies.

 

Overdates known.

1897B over 1896B; 1900B over 1901; 1903B over 1902B; 1904B over 1890B; 1904B over 1900B; 1908B over 1903B; 1908B over 1907B; 1909B over 1908B

 

Known Forgeries

Cast:- 1896D(instead of B); 1897B; 1899B, 1900B; 1901B; 1901C; 1902B; 1902C; 1903B; 1904B; 1907B; 1907B; 1908B; 1909B; 1910B; 1911B; 1912B; 1913B; 1925; 1929B, 1930; 1930B.

Bangkok forgeries (dull, satin-grey appearance):- 1898B; 1900B; 1902B; 1907B; 1908B; 1909B; 1911B; 1913B; 1925, 1929B; 1930.

Hong Kong (right colour - magnification required):- 1930B; 1934B.

Manufacturing locale unknown:- 1897B; 1901B; 1901C; 1902C; 1903B; 1904B; 1910B; 1912B.

 

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"Silver Crowns of the World."

From an address by T.W. ‘Bill’ Holmes. O.A.M., A.F.S.M. 1997

(Originally published 'Tasmanian Numismatist' - Volume 3 Issue 2. 1998)

 

Since the introduction of decimal currency - with my collection of Australian coins as complete as it is ever likely to be - I, like many others, looked for another field to collect. The range was wide, so - for a while, I collected many items.
Coins of the U.S.A. interested me a little, especially the silver dollars.
My interest in Australian coins was still being maintained, but the decimal series was really no great challenge as it was very easy to just order a set or two from the Mint, as they became available, and so keep the series in uncirculated condition.
I then made up my mind to restrict my collecting to two main areas - Crowns and Australian commemorative Medallets and Medallions.
These have become my only real interest now!

When deciding on Crown collecting I narrowed the field a little.  First and foremost - I would collect only SILVER Crowns!
Then - what types?  I gradually formed ideas of my own on the field that I wanted to collect!
The Silver Crown must be of 36 mm. (or bigger) diameter and must contain at least .500 fine silver.
(If the coin is less than .500 fine, I consider it to be a coin with ‘silver content’ only and therefore not as desirable.)

 

At first I found it hard to get specialised information on world Crowns, as the only specialist study had been done by Dr. John S. Davenport in 1944 and, whilst he published 8 more works over the next 35 years, his catalogues are not easy to find - and one had to pick out information on Crowns from other more general numismatic sources.
Dr. Davenport mainly specialised in European Crowns (mainly Germanic) and, in all, had listed over 10,000 pieces from this area - he had started to list others in his later works but, unfortunately, time caught up with him.
However, in 1994, Chester L. Krause and Clifford Mishler produced a standard reference of Crowns, the ‘Standard Catalog of World Crowns’, which to me was a far more satisfactory reference as it encompassed a world-wide reference of Crowns - and - just as importantly, it was- (and still is.....Ed.)- readily available in Australia through Bob Roberts’ Wynyard Coin Centre in Sydney.

I believe that this catalogue is a must for any serious collector of world Crowns as it comprehensively covers the complete range of crown sized coins including thalers etc. in all known coin production metals.
Coins like the Australian States series of $10.00, the Kookaburra series and even the Australian 50 cents are listed.

The first two items do not really fall in to my own defined ‘crown’ category as they are NCLT (Non-Circulating Legal Tender) coins but, because they are very near to or exceed 36 mm. and have a high silver content, they do qualify in some respects and do have appeal to many collectors.

 

Another preference of mine is for Crowns struck for circulation - which, in the main, means those struck before the early 1960’s.

It was at that time that the rising price of silver caused circulating silver coins to be phased out, especially the larger crown sized coinage.
However, a new field then opened up - Crown-sized silver coins were then minted in many countries, in many degrees of fineness, either as proof coins or as collector pieces.
The issue price was considerably higher than either the bullion price or denomination of the coin, and, whilst many of these coins are quite attractive, they are turned out in huge numbers.
(Austrian mints are prolific issuers of these coins.)
Where a proof coin like this is struck- and there is a circulating piece of the same type for general issue - I am inclined to collect some of the more attractive issues, but I do not collect cased (slabbed) proofs.
Back in the era when silver Crowns were struck for circulation, Germany and Austria and the Austrian States struck millions - but they are pretty expensive to buy at today’s prices.
Egypt also struck many Crowns - often of a commemorative nature.
One has to be very careful when dealing with Chinese and Chinese provincial Crowns as many of the millions struck are counterfeit.
(Even the Chinese were very suspicious of their own coins and would hit them with a cleaver to check the silver - these are known as ‘Chop-marked’ coins.)

The Swiss ‘Shooting Talers’ are also a very collectable series as they were struck over a long period, but, with one exception - an 1855 issue from the Canton of Solothurn - they were really medallic issues and not legal tender even though they carried a 5 Franc denomination.
The Solothurn issue was identical in design to the official 5 Franc of the time, but had an edge inscription which read - ‘Eidgen Freischiessen Solothurn’.  It was during the late 1840’s that the districts, or cantons, of Switzerland were gradually being drawn together to form the Confederation of Switzerland but, until they became united, many of these cantons had their own mints and had issued 4 and 5 Franc coins under their individual district name, and these would also qualify as silver Crowns in most cases.

With Krause and Mishler’s catalogue embracing the whole world, I feel it has kindled more interest as we were now able to identify many more Crowns from, particularly, the Americas, Africa, the Near and Far East and the Indian sub-continent.
Several countries have produced a ‘one-off’ Crown or, perhaps, a ‘one-off’ series.
In 1883, during the reign of King Kalakua, Hawaii had a silver Dollar coin struck at San Francisco mint. These are a highly desirable coin and much sought after.
In 1892, South Africa, under President Kruger, issued a silver Crown-sized 5/- Shilling piece.
There are two varieties of this Crown, the most common, but not so easily obtained, has a wagon with a single shaft, on the reverse; but much scarcer is the coin showing a reverse with a double-shafted wagon - and a different wheel configuration.
Great Britain have been issuing Crowns, or 5/- Shilling coins for several hundreds of years and, of all these issues, the most popular amongst collectors are the Crowns of the Commonwealth, under Oliver Cromwell, and the early ‘Gothic’ Crown of Queen Victoria.
New Zealand’s Waitangi Crown of 1935 is another ‘one-off’ Crown and, because of it’s very low mintage, it is a much sought after coin that is getting more expensive to obtain.
Several countries, particularly in the latter part of last century, struck silver ‘trade’ dollars, of Crown-size, for use in the countries in which they had trade interests.
Great Britain, U.S.A. and Japan were the major issuers, and, even today, the Austrian Marie Theresa Thaler is still being struck for use in parts of North Africa and several Arab states.

Maria Theresa Thaler .833 Silver restrike  - Vienna issue - 40mm

Australia has only had one Crown type of it’s own if we do not count the Holey Dollars (which were actually Spanish coins adapted for use here in 1813). The 1937 Crown of 5/- Shillings was intended to be a commemorative coin to celebrate the coronation of King George VI, but the subsequent issue of a 1938 Crown rather spoilt that concept!

 

Australia .925 Fine Silver Crowns 1937 & 1938 - 38mm

 

I have found it hard to obtain Crowns from Afghanistan, Argentina, Albania, Bolivia, Columbia, Cambodia and Switzerland - but this could be just because of local supply and demand problems.
Probably the U.S.A. silver dollars, my first introduction to silver Crown-sized coins, are, for the most part, the easiest to collect - or at least they were - when I started on that particular series some 35 years ago!
I was able to get a few rather nice early to mid 1800’s silver Dollars by trading with a couple of U.S. collectors, who were interested in Australian coins, and then I decided to collect, at least where possible, a year set of the most attractive Morgan and Peace type silver Dollars.

 

U.S. .900 Silver 'Morgan' (top) and 'Peace' Dollars (bottom) - various dates

Typical examples showing various amounts of toning - 38.1mm

 

The 'Morgans' were struck at 5 mints in all - Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Carson City and, in one year only, at Denver. The series was struck between 1878 -1904, and again in 1921, in mintages numbering hundreds of millions and, as they were often stored in bank vaults in bags of $1000, it is still possible to obtain coins in E.F. to UNC. for a reasonable price. 
The mint-marks are O - New Orleans, S - San Francisco, CC - Carson City, D - Denver, with no mint-mark on coins from the Philadelphia Mint.

(Providing a collector does not want to collect a coin from each mint for each year of issue there should be no problem, however, Carson City Mint is the hardest to collect and, because of low mintages between 1892 - 1895, Morgan dollars struck during this period are also just a bit harder to obtain.)

The 'Peace' Dollars, which were struck in 1921-1928 and again in 1934 -35 are not hard to collect in comparison. (See illustration above).

 

I am fully aware I will never be able to collect a silver Crown from every country - but it is a goal, and therefore helps me keep my interest in an important facet of our hobby. Fortunately, I was able to lay the foundations of a good collection years ago - before rising prices took over, due to the sky-rocketing inflation in the bullion price of silver.

In conclusion, Ladies and Gentlemen, there are signs that things are becoming more stable now so - perhaps - I can still hope to pick up the odd, desirable Crown in my travels!

.........BILL HOLMES.

 

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ADDITIONAL SILVER-CONTENT COINS

 ... just to look at!

 

 

 


 

Bahamas    1966  $5.00  - .925 Sterling Silver   - Mintage  100,000 units   -  1.2527oz ASW  -  45mm

Egypt          AH1293 (1876) 20 Qirsh (Year 33 - issued 1909)  - .833 Silver   - Mintage  300,000 units   - .7499 oz ASW  - 39mm  

          -         AH1384 (1964) 50 Piastres  - .720 Silver  - Mintage  250,000 units    -  .4630 oz ASW  - 39mm

France        1970 10 Francs  - .900 Silver   - Mintage 5,013,000 units   -   .7234 oz ASW  - 37mm

 

 

 

Gt. Britain   1899 LXII Crown - .925 Sterling Silver -  Mintage  166,000  units    -   .6409 oz ASW  - 39mm

           -        1935 Crown  - .925 Sterling Silver -  Mintage   715,000 units  -  .6409 oz ASW  - 39mm

Mexico        1962 Peso  - .300 Silver   -  Mintage 61,094,000 units   -  .1285 oz ASW  - 35mm (*This wouldn't meet the 'Crown' parameters.)

            -       1991 Libertad (Onza) - .999 Fine Silver - Mintage  1,651,000 units   -  1.000 oz. ASW  - 36mm

           -        1968 25 Pesos  - .720 Silver  -  Mintage 27,182,000 units  -  .5209 oz ASW  - 38mm

 

 

 

Philippines 1908 Peso  - .800 Silver  - Mintage 20,955,000 units   -  .5144 oz ASW - 36mm

Portugal     1997 1000 Escudos - .500 Silver  - Mintage ( Unknown ) units   -  .4501 oz ASW - 40mm

Sth.Africa  1952 5 Shillings  - .500 Silver  -   Mintage   1,698,000 units   -  .4546 oz ASW - 39mm

            -      1958 5 Shillings  - .500 Silver    -   Mintage   1,500,000 units   -  .4546 oz ASW - 39mm

 

 

 

Spain         1891(91) 5 Pesetas  - .900 Silver   -   Mintage  11,660,000 units  -  .7234 oz ASW - 39mm

           -       1892(92) 5 Pesetas  - .900 Silver   -  Mintage     7,000,000 units  -  .7234 oz ASW - 39mm

U.S.A.        1991 Eagle Dollar  - .9993 Fine Silver - Mintage 7,191,000 units  - 1.000 oz ASW  - 41mm

                                                      

 As you can see, there are many 'formulas' for Silver-content  coins.

As a purely personal observation - pick up a silver coin and hold it your clenched hand and compare it with a similar-sized base alloy coin.

You may find it has a slightly different 'feel' and 'warmth' than the base Copper-Nickel coin - or is that a figment of my imagination?

 

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The  'For Those Who Came in Late'  Section.

 

'WASHINGTON BEFORE BOSTON'

MEDALLION & REPLICA

by Graeme E. Petterwood.

(Reprinted from the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' - August 2004.)

(Please note that some of the Internet links quoted may no longer be active - Ed. 2010)

 

Amongst my medallions is one that languished until a few years ago; a nice pewter piece that had me more than a little puzzled.

I had received the 39mm medallion from fellow T.N.S. member, Jerry Adams, in 2002 along with a broad cross section of assorted U.S. tokens which became the base of my exonumia collection. Whilst it is still a small collection in the scheme of things, items like these have given me a wonderful area of numismatics to study - and they certainly keep me from ever becoming bored with my hobby. 

Jerry had treated the medallion as an item that didn't fit into his own token collecting criteria so he sent it to me as a gift to investigate at my leisure.

 

The legends were all in Latin and, whilst I have not studied the language, I did recognise enough words to realise that  the white metal medallion obviously was designed to commemorate the victory of General George Washington at Boston on 17th March 1776.

I suspected it was a replica, but I knew very little else and it eventually was moved into the 'not enough time' basket and then was filed away until I could devote more energy in seeking to identify it.

The medallion designs appeared to have been well minted with a soft smoothness, but it was still very attractive and all the words in the legends were sharp and legible so I had imagined it should not have been an impossible task to nail it down.

However, it took a little bit longer than I thought it would - but, once I do get started on a project, I do tend to get persistent - even if it does take some time.

Firstly, if it was a replica, I needed to find out something about the original - if there was such a thing - and that meant getting a full and accurate translation of the Latin.

 

The language translators I have in my computer program do not cater for a Latin - English combination so it was a case of typing in the Latin phrases one at a time and hitting the SEARCH button and hoping something came up.

As we all know SEARCH engines can be very contrary and send a searcher mad at times so it was gratifying when the words COMITA AMERICANA turned up a positive answer fairly quickly.

From there on it was just a case of following the lead to start getting a few more of the answers about the origins of the medallion.

The main source  was found at the site:

Coin and Currency Collections in the Department of Special Collections,

University of Notre Dame Libraries.

 

References:

http://www.coins.nd.edu/WashToken/WashTokenText/1790.html

http://www.congressionalgoldmedal.com/GeorgeWashington.htm

Comments:   "One of the most encouraging early victories during the Revolutionary War was the British evacuation of Boston on March 17, 1776. During the harsh winter months Henry Knox had transported a number of canon from Fort Ticonderoga in western New York to Boston. As soon as this heavy artillery arrived Washington mounted the canons on Dorchester Heights overlooking the city. Under the threat of bombardment the British troops quickly fled, making Boston the first major city liberated from British occupation. Eight days later, on March 25, 1776, the Continental Congress authorized a medal to commemorate this event. Up through 1787 Congress authorized ten additional medals commemorating war heroes, however no medals were actually produced until 1790. In that year the federal Congress commissioned the Paris mint to produce these long overdue items. The Washington Before Boston medal was considered the most important and was the largest in the series, which is now referred to as the Comitia Americana (or American Congress) medal series. A gold example was presented to Washington along with a collection of eleven silver medals (nine of which were from the eleven medals authorized by congress); the gold exampe is now in the Boston Public Library while Washington's collection of eleven silver medals now resides in the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Since the first striking in 1790 the Paris mint has reissued these American Congress medals at various times in gold, silver, copper and bronze examples. The dating of examples can often be determined by the small symbol stamped on the edge of the medal: an antique lamp, 1832-1841; an anchor with the letter C, 1841-1842; a galley prow, 1842-1845; a pointing hand 1845-1860; a bee, 1860-1879 and a cornucopia 1880-present. In the 1860's hubs (i.e., punches for the images and legends) were made from the Paris dies and sent to Philadelphia were they were used to produce new dies for American struck examples. As the hubs did not produce deeply impressed details in the Philadelphia made dies, the medals made from these dies lacked the clarity and fine lines of the Paris strikings. Some decades later entirely new dies were produced in Philadelphia, modelled on the originals but with different letter punches.

The obverse displays an undraped bust right of Washington based on the bust by Jean Antone Houdon with a Latin legend that translates as: To George Washington supreme general of the army defender of liberty (EXERCITVVM refers to a trained and disciplined army). Below is COMITIA AMERICANA, which is a Latin version of "The American Congress." At the truncation is the signature of the engraver Benjamin Du Vivier, DV VIVIER / PARIS . F. (for France). The reverse displays Washington on this horse with four of his commanders on Dorchester Heights; it has often been noted the horse hoofs do not align with the grouping of horses. Washington points below where we see his troops and in the distance the city of Boston. To the far left two canons behind a parapet can be seen pointed at the city while in the foreground two canon and some canon balls lay on the ground. The Latin legend translates as: For the first time the enemies are put to flight. The Latin exergue translates as: Boston recovered the 17th of March 1776. To the far right on the canon in the foreground is the engraver's signature DV VIV."

 

The article goes on to point out the various die combinations and re-strikes that have occurred and the various metals the medallion has been struck in  - it is now estimated that at least 31 varieties of the original have been discovered - and this is not counting the smaller modern replicas that I now consider mine to be.

It was proving to be a far harder thing than I imagined to nail down any details of this particular replicas' history.

 

   

'Washington Before Boston' 17th March 1776 Medallion - White metal Replica

(Replica - 3mm thick wide-rimmed reproduction - approx. Size 39mm, Weight 20gms)

 

  

Bronze version of the genuine (68.3mm, 134.4 gms) 'Washington Before Boston' medal

 

OBVERSE LEGEND:

GEORGIO WASHINGTON SVPREMO DVCI EXERCITVVM ADSERTORI LIBERTATIS   -  COMITA AMERICANA   - (at neck truncation) DU VIVIER/PARIS F.

REVERSE LEGEND:

HOSTIBUS PRIMO FUGATIS   - (in exergue) BOSTONIUM RECUPERATUM / XVII MARTII / MDCCXXVI   - (at bottom right on cannon in the foreground) DU VIV

 

COMPOSITION: Bronze      

WEIGHT:  [about 2,075 grains]     (134.4 grams)          

DIAMETER:  68.3 mm          

REVERSE DIE ALIGNMENT: 360°

 

Over the years, the reverse of the medal has been restruck with new dies both in Paris and in the United States. This bronze specimen shown above has no edge marks, and it has likely been struck at the US Mint about 1890 from dies executed by Charles E. Barber.

 

Noted amongst 'WASHINGTON EXONUMIA - FOR SALE' items (during 2004).

(1) "MEDALS COMMEMORATING THE BATTLES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION---US Mint issue, 1973. Lot of 10 medals, plus one "mint medal" in a bookshelf folder. The medals are mint-made reproductions of some of our earliest and most important medals, such as "Washington before Boston" or the feats of " John Paul Jones" These pewter medals come with a 44 page booklet, that gives a well written and illustrated history of each medal.

A cardboard slipcover, as issued"   Est.. US$75.00   http://www.thecoppercorner.com/forsale/medals.html

 

(2) "Lot 1407. Military. Medals. U .S. Military Figure Medals. Lot of 13 different Pewter Medals.

One only- Major Henry Lee, with relief of Lee on front and Latin writing on reverse, commemorating Lee, 1779, Wright, artist.

Two only - General Anthony Wayne medals, with relief of Wayne receiving a wreath from an allegorical figure on front, and Stoney-Point Expugnatum, with battle relief on reverse, Gatteaux, artist.

One only - General Daniel Morgan, with relief of Morgan receiving wreath on his head from an allegorical figure, detailed battle relief and Latin on reverse, Dupre, artist.

One only - Colonel De Fleury, with relief of battle figure and Latin on front, and Stoney-Point relief on reverse, reproduction, 1980, noted.

Three only - General Horatio Gates, each with a bust profile relief of Gate on front, and two men arguing amidst a battle scene on reverse, Gatteaux, artist.

Four only - * Washington Before Boston medals, with bust profile relief of Washington on front, and three men on horses and Latin on reverse, Duvivier, artist.

One only - Lt. Col. William Washington, with relief of Washington on horseback in the midst of a battle scene, with angel flying overhead, Duvivier, artist..

All are similar in design. approx. 37mm. Each Unc and in original display boxes."  Est. $50-100
http://www.holabird.org/americana2002/archive/auction15/textversion/medalsend.html

 

Could the first item indicate the origin of the mysterious replica medal?

At least, these notifications started to give us an indication of a possible value range.

 

EUREKA - I THINK I'VE GOT IT!!

After a more intense search over several days just trying to find the right combination of key words to load into my Internet Search Engine, I finally hit a mini-jackpot and got another confirming run-down on the 'Washington Before Boston' 39mm Pewter reproduction medallion.

The minting date for this particular medallion appeared to be a little uncertain, and several variations were mentioned in the way the medallions were presented, but, with all the other facts at hand, it now seems that the mystery has been solved - at least as far as the WHAT, WHERE and the WHEN (near enough) are concerned.

Should I now ponder HOW MANY were minted - or should I let sleeping dogs lie?. 

It is highly probable that a series of releases covering individual coins, or coin sets  were made to celebrate the main historical dates that marked the American War of Independence. i.e. the 'Boston Tea Party' 1773 and the 'Washington Before Boston 'event 1776 and other occasions, up until the war ceased in 1783.

(There are over 3,000,000 sites on the Internet regarding the Revolutionary War if you wish to browse and refresh your memories of American history.)


Bicentennial Reproduction of Americas 1st Medals
Year: 1976
Issuing Authority: Continental Congress
Minter: United States Mint
Denomination: None
Size: 1 1/2 inches in diameter (39mm)
Metal: Pewter
Grade: Mint state
Obverse (Front): George Washington bust
Reverse (Back): Washington with army on horseback
Comment: See product information
Order #: Washington
Price: $8.50

 

PRODUCT INFORMATION
The first in the U.S. Mint's ten-piece series of pewter reproductions of America's First Medals, voted by the Continental Congress to commemorate the decisive military actions of the Revolutionary War. This medal was awarded to General George Washington for the liberation of Boston in 1776. The original, prepared by Pierre Simon Benjamin Duvivier, chief engraver of the Paris Mint, was struck in gold and is in the collection of the Boston Public Library. The obverse bears a profile after the bust of George Washington sculpted by J.A. Houdon. The Latin inscription translates, The American Congress to George Washington, commander in chief of the armies, the assertor of liberty. The reverse bears in Latin at the top: The enemy put to flight for the first time. To the left, General Washington, on horseback points toward the departing British fleet, while the American army makes ready to occupy the city. Latin inscription below: Boston retaken, March 17, 1776.This medal comes in the plastic case and contains the original paper work with the entire story as issued from the U.S. mint.

Refer: http://www.wscoin.com/ItemList.cfm?ID=331

 

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GENERAL INDEX UPDATE.

'TASMANIAN NUMISMATIST - INTERNET EDITION' 1996 - June 2007

'NUMISNET WORLD' July 2007 - December 2009

The detail of contents of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' and 'Numisnet World' can be seen at the following links. Copies of articles are usually available by email, upon request from the Editor or the original author - or, if directly accessed, subject to those copyright provisions laid down in our current terms of use.  Articles will not be posted by mail services.

Early issues of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition', from 1995 - 1999. were permanently archived in 2000 and articles are not linked directly.

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/aug03.htm  - 1995, 1996 - 1997 (Volumes 1 and 2) Archived. Content detail only.

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/Sept2003.htm  - 1998 - 1999 (Volumes 3 and 4) Archived. Content detail only.

 

By referring to the 'Newsletter Archives' or 'Search' function located on the Home Page, you can directly access all current Volumes online.

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/tns.html  - January 2000 (Volumes 5 - to date).

In January 2006 it was decided to grant each new issue its own URL link. which would henceforth appear in the current Index.

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/mar07.htm  - 2006 (Volume 11)

The final Index of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition'

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/dec07.htm  - 2007 (Volume 12 - Issues 1 - 6)

 

Full details of initial 'Numisnet World' - incorporating 'Tasmanian Numismatist'  (2007)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/dec07.htm  - (Volume 12 - Issues 7 - 12)

For full details of 'Numisnet World' (2008)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/dec08.htm  - (Volume 13 - Issues 1 - 12)

For full details of 'Numisnet World' (2009)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/dec09.htm  - (Volume 14 - Issues 1 - 12)

 

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'NUMISNET WORLD' January - to date 2010

VOLUME 15

Issue 1. January 2010:-  http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/jan10.htm

Is This our Most Iconic Emblem? - The Kangaroo is certainly amongst the most unique of our fauna - and our recognition of this translates to our coinage.

The Questions People Ask ...! - Sometimes our expertise confuses our readers when questions are asked of us. We need to realize that we need to accept a very basic level of understanding - sometimes reader's questions re-open wondrous doors onto aspects of our hobby that need to be re-explored. 

Handy Hints - 'The Essential Incidentals' - Every hobby has its 'incidentals' - time-saving devices or hints that makes a collector's life a little easier.

A Collector Re-kindled! - There are always those who look back at a childhood passion and decide to give it another go - and that's great!

The Display Case! (Part 5) - The few more illustrations - depicting notes that were not quite 'run-of-the- mill' issues - (from R - U)

 

Issue 2. February 2010:-  http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/feb10.htm

Numismatics for the Common Man - or Woman. - Too many of us, with years of experience, have a tendency to look down - perhaps from a little too lofty a place - upon our upcoming colleagues who need the benefit of that expertise we have accumulated. Take their hand - and the time to explain the wonders - remember what it was like when we were younger within our hobby and our mentors took us under their care..

The Display Case! (Part 6) - The last illustrations in this series - depicting notes that were not quite 'run-of-the- mill' issues - (from V - Z)

APTA No-Show 2010 - We have been advised that the Australian Philatelic Traders Assoc. have decided not to hold shows in Tasmania's major cities this year. As numismatic traders often combined with stamp traders for these events, it is a blow for collectors in both hobbies who have been deprived of an opportunity to view fresh merchandise from non-local sources.

 

Issue 3. March 2010:-  http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/mar10.htm

We have a Birthday on the Way! - It seemed propitious to remind our readers now - that, in a few weeks, the actual 15th. anniversary of this Internet newsletter being uploaded onto the world-wide-web for the very first time, will be upon us. The act was done on the last weekend in March 1996 so this issue marks 14 full years of publication - but we decided, years ago, to  'officially' celebrate on 1st. April to make it easy to remember and celebrate. It's nearing that time once more!

Portugal - 'the mouse that roared!' - A small nation that has played such an enormous part in the exploration of our world deserves a closer look. As the world of the Euro takes its firm grip on Europe - a selection of the recent coinage and paper currency of Portugal  gets aired off one more time just for the memories.

The Stamp Place of Hobart - The schedule of forthcoming events for 2010 - in Northern Tasmania - was forwarded for our interest.

 

Issue 4. April 2010:-  http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/apr10.htm

Convict Love Tokens - Usually meant as a last testament before the convict was sent to death or permanent exile - these poignant metallic reminders hold an interesting place in Australia's heritage - although relatively few ever came to our shores.

Blood is Thicker than Water - a continuance of the convict heritage - and some numismatic items of interest.

A Currency Collector's Conundrum! - in this changing world, just how many countries are now issuing banknotes?

Personal Tokens of a Texas Token Collector - if you can't beat 'em - join 'em!  Some collectors aspire to join the ranks of the collectables by organizing tokens of their own -as author Jerry Adams implies "it can be for fun or for business" - or, perhaps, it might be just to leave a scratch mark on the pages of numismatic history!

 

Issue 5. May 2010:-  http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/may10.htm

REALLY BIG - Bygone Era Banknotes - A few pieces from the accumulation that prove that big can be 'nice' - if not beautiful - numismatically speaking!

Don't be Scared of Ancient Coins! - Every collector should have two strings to his/her bow - Ancient coins are excellent and need not cost a fortune.

If You Care to 'Zinc' about it! - Often despised as a coin-making metal, poor cousin Zinc has a lot more going for it than we might imagine.

Some Coins of Canada - Rediscovered -  Poked away in a box for years, these Proof coins from Canada have toned a little but are still beautiful examples of the minting art. Produced in quantity over 20 years ago these lovely coins have remained within the financial reach of most collectors.

 

Issue 6. June 2010:-

Large Silver-content Coins. - A browse through some Tasmanian Numismatic Society 'Newsletters' from over 40 years ago, reminded me of the collecting habits of old friends - and why I also decided to start accumulating large silver-content coins. Those mentors unleashed a small demon that still gnaws away at me every time I see a large silver coin in a dealer's display case. I suppose could do worse!

'Through Centuries of Dollars' by (late) Dorothy Lockwood

'The British Trade Dollar' by Roger V. McNeice OAM.

'Silver Crowns of the World' by T.W. 'Bill' Holmes OAM, AFSM.

Additional Silver-Content Coins - just to look at! - a selection of largish silver-content coins, with a little detail, for collectors who want something nice.

The 'For Those Who Came in Late' Section - The 'Washington Before Boston'  medallion - and its replicas -  proved to be a hard task to identify.

A long lesson in perseverance was delivered to the author - but the ultimate reward, in turn, delivered a great sense of satisfaction.

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'NUMISNET WORLD'

(INTERNET EDITION)

 

The 'NumisNet World'’ (Internet Edition) newsletter has been provided with space on this privately maintained Internet site and is currently presented free on a monthly basis with the aim of promoting the hobby of numismatics. 

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The 'NumisNet World' (Internet Edition) newsletter takes no responsibility for disagreements between parties, and also reserves the right to only feature information that it considers suitable in promoting the hobby to our readers. Deadline for any literary contributions or amendment to copy is 7 Days prior to the beginning of the month of publication.

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The contents of this Internet newsletter, and all prior issues - included the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' - are copyrighted ©, but anything herein can be fairly used to promote the great hobby of numismatics; however, we do like to be asked by commercial interests if they wish to use any of our copy. 

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The Editor,

Numisnet World - (Internet Edition). 

P.O. Box 10,

Ravenswood. 7250. Tasmania.

Australia.

Internet Page: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/tns.html

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