Roger deWardt Lane pointed out a short article on his web site and in the March 2010 newsletter of the Ft. Lauderdale Coin Club. It's about Herbert Sharpe and the creation of the first Mardi Gras throws in 1959. Since publishing this Roger has been in touch with a relative of Sharpe's who has one of the original doubloons in silver. He put them in touch with the American Numismatic Society, suggesting a donation to the ANS collection.
Herbert A. Sharpe (1910-1982) worked in reverse intaglio on the dye for the obverse of the 1967 Mississippi Sesquicentennial medal struck by the United States Mint. He was known to be a painter, engraver, modeler, designer, intaglio cutter, and author of a book entitled, "Collective Meditations by H. Alvin Sharpe", published in hardcover on January1, 1979.
In December 1959, Sharpe designed the Mardi Gras doubloon. The main qualm
was the safety issue of throwing metal objects into the masses. Sharp informed the Rex krewe that he had designed some attractive doubloons that could be coined in aluminum and produced inexpensively in quantities and were safe. So what better way for Sharpe to prove that his new, light, aluminum prototypes were safe than by throwing them? And he did just that when he walked into the Rex office.
Astonished but not injured, they picked up the proofs and studied them for
several minutes and said "Is this it?" That started the conversation that ended in an order of 80,000 to be minted. Though he was still very uncertain of the doubloon's success, They ordered them to be struck without the date so the krewe could throw them the following years if any were left, and the krewe could get rid of them. This started the Doubloons for the Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
To read the complete article, see:
Ft. Lauderdale Coin Club Newsletter March 2010
Wayne Homren, Editor
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