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The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 17, April 25, 2010, Article 11

THE PAPERS OF CHIEF ENGRAVER CHARLES EDWARD BARBER

George Kolbe writes:

David L. Ganz and the American Numismatic Association have graciously granted permission to access David's excellent in-depth 1995 Numismatist article on "The Barber Papers," photocopies of which are to be sold as lot 41 et seq. in Kolbe & Fanning's June 3, 2010 auction sale of the second part of the Stack Family Library. A link to the article will be found at www.numislit.com

What a marvelous resource! Below are the article's introductory paragraphs. See the Kolbe & Fanning web site for the complete article. The image of Barber is from the USpatterns.com web site. -Editor

Charles Edward Barber Charles Edward Barber, chief engraver of the United States from 1879 until 1917, was an extraordinary artist, and in a half century career at the United States Mint that began during the administration of President Andrew Johnson, and ended while Woodrow Wilson was president, he probably designed, and engraved, more coins and medals than any other person in the employ of the United States, before or since.

Minting facilities around the world began to produce his designs in 1869, the year he was apprenticed to his father, William Barber, then chief engraver of the United States at the Philadelphia Mint. Almost a century later, some of his designs were still being coined, a tribute to his talent as a designer, engraver and artist.

If this were all that Charles Barber had accomplished, he would have been considered an extraordinary, prolific artist and a talented designer. But he was also a chronicler of his life and times, an inveterate saver of correspondence received and copies of letters sent by him. And, he was also a collector who saved examples of the coins that he created, and the patterns that he designed -- together with examples of the work of others.

In November, 1991, the Library and Museum of the American Numismatic Association received an extraordinary gift from Harvey, Norman and Lawrence Stack: copies of the personal papers of Charles Barber, covering his term as sixth chief engraver of the United States Mint at Philadelphia. The originals were deposited at the Smithsonian Institution, but a complete set of the papers (which are about three inches thick) was presented to the ANA Library with the caveat that they could not be written about by scholars, or others, for a period of three years, to give the Smithsonian Institution time to examine this important find.

Organized by category, the papers cover coinage of the United States and many foreign countries, medallic works by the artist, and his extraordinary collection of numismatic pattern pieces, which was one of the finest ever assembled. They are now available for use in the ANA library, and copies may be loaned to interested members.

Barber's papers include handwritten correspondence, typescripts, and many design sketches for various coins. This article briefly summarizes some of the interesting finds in the personal papers of Charles Barber, and points out areas

Wayne Homren, Editor

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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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