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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 15, April 13, 2008, Article 8

DAN HAMELBERG ON THE RIDDELL NEW ORLEANS MINT PAMPHLETS

[Last week Mike Paradis forwarded photos and information
about an 1847 John Riddell pamphlet that was recently
auctioned.  Now we know who bought it - Dan Hamelberg.
His description of the sale and his prize follows. -Editor]

Dan Hamelberg writes: "I bid on the phone and paid $1,200
plus a 20% buyers fee.  I believe this was Bloomsbury's first
U.S. auction.  They are headquartered in England and now have
offices in New York.  The Riddell piece was the only U.S.
numismatic literature item in the sale.

"I looked up the Newman piece in the 1968 April Numismatist,
and it is indeed a short pamphlet with an 1845 publishing
date.  The 1847 item is more of a booklet with 10 pages.
It is contained in plain paper covers and is in generally
fine condition.  The cover page has a '3' written in pencil
in the upper left corner.  Looks like this item sold for $3
some time ago.  Numismatic literature is a great investment!

"The title information reads 'THE BRANCH MINT AT NEW ORLEANS,
With an account of the process of coinage and fac-simile
impressions of the coins manufactured.  BY J. L. RIDDELL, M. D.,
Melter and Refiner.  Second Edition.  1847.'

"The text begins on the first page with an explanation
(with a large footnote) of how a grant from the city
provided the land for the mint. Page 2 goes on to describe
the cost and construction of the mint building along with
the different mint officers appointed with their pay schedule
up until the time of this publication.  This information
matches up with the text in part one of the 1845 issue. The
basic differences are with the update to 1847 and the large
footnote regarding the city grant. Also, the year to year
summary of activity contained in part one of the 1845 issue
is now a chart on page 8 of the 1847 issue.  At the very
bottom of page 2 there is a heading 'PROCESS OF COINAGE.'
Pages 3-7 go into great detail regarding the process of
coinage at the New Orleans Mint.  The description matches
exactly the description of the process of coinage in the
1845 issue with two exceptions.

"First, the coiner who was responsible for inventing 'an
ingenious rotating apparatus heated by steam' passed on in
the two years between issues, and is referred to in the 1847
issue as 'the late coiner, P. B. Tyler.'  The other difference
in the description of the process of coinage comes at the end
of page 7 where Riddell speculates on the future of the New
Orleans Mint.  The future looks bright with 'native gold' from
Alabama. The 'acquisition of Texas' will bring an 'abundance
of silver and gold from the rich mines of San Saba.'  Also,
'we shall receive most of the produce of the numerous and
abundantly productive mines of the adjacent Mexican States,
now in our military possession.'   In addition, 'precious
metals unquestionably abound in western Arkansas..'  In short,
Riddell feels confident the New Orleans Mint will succeed.

"Page 8 has a chart of the year to year coinage figures with
the information updated to June 30, 1847.  This would suggest
that the 1847 second edition was published in late 1847.  Page
9 is headed 'Fac-Simile Impressions of the Silver Coins struck
at the Branch Mint New Orleans.  Illustrated on page 9 are the
Silver Dollars, Half Dollars, Quarter Dollars, and Dime. (Obverse
and Reverse).  Page 10 contains an illustration of the Half Dime
at the top. (Obverse and Reverse).  Under that comes the heading
'Fac-Simile Impressions of the Gold Coins struck at the Branch
Mint New Orleans.'   The Ten, Five, and 2 1/2 dollar gold coins
are illustrated.  (Obverse and Reverse).

"Such is the layout of the 1847 second edition of Riddell's
work on the New Orleans Mint.  Basically it is a refinement
of the 1845 issue with updates to 1847.  I have looked thru
my library and also contacted George Kolbe and Charlie Davis,
and I could find no references to this work.  It was not in
the Champa or Ford sales. Unless something shakes out somewhere,
it appears that Eric Newman has the only copy of the 1845 edition,
and I would have the only copy of the 1847 edition.  New
discoveries certainly make this great hobby of numismatic
literature an adventure.' "

 1847 JOHN RIDDELL PAMPHLET ON THE NEW ORLEANS MINT AUCTIONED
 esylum_v11n14a05.html

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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