Jerry Fochtman, editor of the Fractional Currency Collectors Board (FCCB) newsletter, graciously forwarded me an electronic copy of the latest issue (Winter 2009). It contains a great article by Steve Shupe titled Spinner Documents found in the Philadelphia National Archives. Steve located a number of interesting documents signed by U.S. Treasurer Francis E. Spinner. With permission, here are some images and text excerpts. To join FCCB, contact Bill Brandimore (firstname.lastname@example.org). -Editor During a recent visit to the Philadelphia area on the way to see the inauguration of Barack Obama, I had a chance to visit the National Archives for 2 days. I am working on a book on Trimes, fractional currency of the round metal type. The Archives in Philadelphia is officially known as the National Archives Records Administration (NARA) Mid-Atlantic Region facility.
The archives are located in the Robert Dix Federal Building downtown. To use the Archives, you must have a researcher’s card which is easy to get after filling out some paperwork. The documents are stored in the basement area under the main floor.
They have hundreds of thousands of documents from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. Although the public is not allowed in the storage area, the archivist supplied the enclosed picture.
Most of the documents that I have been researching are hand written letters, which can lead to sore eyes from the many hours deciphering the handwriting! Some of the documents are easy to read, others not so much. Some are written on fine linen and cotton paper almost as fresh as the day it was made, others are tissue paper thin, brown and fragile. On some the ink is still bold and bright, others are faded and all but illegible. Some are bound in books, and others are folded in the original envelope.
I found several documents signed by Spinner. As a Fractional currency collector, I found these interesting. With his bold signature some of these were easy to spot. The first document found was one that I thought would most interest the members of FCCB. It is dated November 15, 1867 and is a partly written by hand.
Apparently the Director of the Mint H.R. Linderman made a request for a Fractional Shield for use in the Mint. This letter is in response to that request and states:
“ Sir, I forward this day, by Adams Express Company ONE “SHIELD” ($4.50). Specimen Fractional Currency as per request in yours of 14th instant to Secretary of Treasury. We will deduct $4 50/100 in next order for Nickel coin. Signed F.E. Spinner, Treasurer U.S.
Let’s see, only $4.50 for a shield, I’ll take about a dozen! With a current value of several thousand dollars each, they have gone up a little in value!
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