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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 21, May 21, 2006, Article 17

BANK DONATES FUNDS FOR NEWBURYPORT PERKINS BUILDING

Dick Hanscom forwarded the latest article about the Jacob Perkins
building in Newburyport, MA:

"A bank founded 152 years ago will donate $200,000 to help historians
save a landmark city building where some of the nation's first currency
was printed.

The donation from the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank will allow
the Historical Society of Old Newbury to purchase the 200-year-old
Fruit Street building that was home to the state's first mint.

Inside this historic workshop, 19th century inventor Jacob Perkins
created a steel-engraving process used to make currency that was
adopted across the East Coast."

"The society has long eyed the mint building, not only for its
historic value, but also for its location. The mint building is
situated behind the society's headquarters, the Custom House
Museum."

"When we're done, the building will look the way it did 200 years
ago," Mack said.

The society is also seeking money from national foundations and
other sources to help turn the building into a museum."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

In a note posted to the Yahoo Colonial Coins mailing list this
Week (responding to an item in last week's E-Sylum), Jim Spilman
writes: "Dave Bowers is quite correct.  The building facing Fruit
street was Perkins' residence.  The three story building at the
rear of the house was an engraving and printing plant built
specifically for that purpose and operated by his brother Abraham.
The engraving & printing plant backed up to Otis Place just off
Garden Street and State Street.  They did a tremendous business
in bank note and check printing.  There was never any consideration
that it would be a mint site.

The premier study on Jacob Perkins is "Jacob Perkins. His Inventions,
His Times, and His Contemporaries" by Grenville & Dorothy Bathe. 1943,
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. A limited edition of 200
copies.  See pages 30-35 plus illustrations of the house, a map of
locations, and discussions of the financing of the plant.   See
also CNL pages 499 and 1001."

Dick Hanscom adds: "Perhaps Mr. Moulton or Mr. Bowers would like to
write a letter to the editor of the Newburyport Daily News concerning
the building."  Dick himself contacted the Historical Society of Old
Newbury, forwarding a copy of our recent E-Sylum discussion.  The
society is aware that the "Mint Building" appellation is a misnomer.

Curator Jay S. Williamson responded: "The Jacob Perkins engraving
plant on Fruit Street has always been referred to as "The Mint Building"
by locals although there is no evidence of coinage being struck there.
It was built in 1808 by Jacob and his brother Abraham for the purpose
of engraving and printing Massachusetts bank notes."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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