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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 20, May 14, 2006, Article 18

DID PERKINS MINT OR PRINT IN NEWBURYPORT BUILDING?  MAYBE NOT

Karl Moulton writes: "Here's what research I uncovered about
the Perkins building on Fruit Street in Newburyport.  This
information, along with other early U.S. Mint engravers, is
included in my forthcoming book about Henry Voigt.

Jacob Perkins operated a large, multi-story engraving facility
at Market Square in Newburyport prior to 1792.  He had the skills
and equipment to engrave small metallic objects.  Perkins was
called to the Philadelphia Mint in June of 1792 by his friend,
Tristram Dalton, now the new Mint Treasurer, who was also from
Newburyport.  Perkins brought with him some of his own machines
for edge lettering and planchet cutting, which could have even
been adapted for steam use.  That's why we see such things as
the vine and bars Large Cents and lettered edges on some of
the coins beginning in 1793

As for the building on Fruit Street that is being considered
for restoration as a minting facility, from what I have gathered,
it was the merely Perkins family residence and was not used in
connection to his business.  The Perkins family was large, with
nine children.  Whether this situation changed later when Jacob
later moved to Philadelphia, I can't say with certainty.

However, it is quite possible he took small pocket size items
home to work on, such as the 1800 Washington funeral die
(illustration in The Numismatist, August 1959, p.938), the
portrait being copied from his earlier rendition of President
Washington as seen on the rejected pattern for the 1793 dollar.
As far as can be determined, there was no equipment at his
residence to strike any coins or medals."

Dave Bowers writes: "As to Jacob Perkins, in my new book (Paper
Money Issued by Banks in the United States 1782-1866) there will
be a chapter on him.  There will probably be 100 pages on Perkins,
90% numismatic.

The building on Fruit Street, now extant, has nothing to do with
his making Washington funeral medals or any other coins; it was
never a mint. Earlier, he was at another address in town. Jacob
headed off for England after spending some time in Philadelphia
in the mid-1810s, after which time the factory remained in operation.
Then in the early 1830s the business was moved to Boston and melded
into the New England Bank Note Co., recently formed."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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