"The Washington Pattern Coinage of Peter Getz" by George J. Fuld was published in 2009 by George Kolbe and Alan Meghrig. It's a marvelous compendium of information on these important components of the fledgling United States coinage.
The first thing most E-Sylum readers would notice about this book, I think, is the roster of names in the Acknowledgements section. Many are regular readers and contributors here, too, including Alan V. Weinberg, Q. David Bowers, Richard Doty, Erik Goldstein, John Adams, Julian Leidman, Joseph Lasser, Joe Levine, Karl Moulton, Kerry Wetterstrom and Anne Bentley. Thanks and congratulations are in order to all involved, especially author Fuld and publishers Kolbe and Meghrig for pulling together the information and photos from widely scattered sources.
The genesis of the book was a preliminary research study by Jack Collins written shortly before his death in 1995. His "Condition Census of Getz 1792 Coinage" provided the stating point, but appearances on the numismatic market in 2004-2006 of pieces tucked long ago into collections provided a new focus and awareness of Getz patterns.
From the Introduction, page v:
Don Taxay notes that sometime before December 1791, [Superintendent of Finance Robert] Morris had already engaged artists to prepare patterns for a half dollar and a cent... The devices were engraved by twenty-three-year-old Peter Getz, a self-taught silver and goldsmith from Lancaster, who was described as "remarkable for the extraordinary accuracy, elegance and beauty of the workmanship he executed." ... Robert "Bob" Birch supervised Getz's work on the dies and sank the punches for the date and legends.
Baker 24, #1 – Davis-Ford-Boyd specimen
(c) 2004 by Stack's
The pieces all feature a portrait of George Washington, as the enabling legislation introduced by Morris called for "an impression or representation of the head of the President of the United States..." Washington however, later killed the idea, and that clause was stricken from the bill before it was signed into law on April 2, 1792.
These were "the coins that might have been." Without Washington's strong objection, the new government of the United States would have initiated a coinage tradition perhaps uncomfortably similar to that of the country it had just fought a war to be free of. Just like the King, the President's image, name, and "the succession of the Presidency numerically" would grace the nation's coinage, paving the way for not only "G. Washington, President I", but "A. Lincoln, President XVI" and perhaps even "B. Obama, President XLIV"
Baker 25, #3 – Norweb specimen
(c) 2006 by Stack's
The publication details 22 different silver 1792 Getz patterns, 55 different copper 1792 Getz "cents" and 20 different 1797 Getz Masonic medals. Full backgrounds are supplied on each coin and they are mostly illustrated in color. Also included is full discussion of the unique Getz Large Eagle "pattern", Baker 23 is given as well as the complete story about the Washington ladle.
The 147-page book includes a short chapter on Fakes & Fantasies and is available in two formats: spiral and hardbound (cloth). My copy of the hardbound is illustrated here.
Copies of the Spiral-Bound Edition are $100.00 and the Cloth-Bound Edition is $135.00 per copy postpaid in the U. S., plus 8.75% sales tax for California residents. Copies of the books may be ordered from George F. Kolbe, P. O. Drawer 3100, Crestline, CA 92325-3100. After December 31, 2010, orders for the book will no longer be accepted.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NEW BOOK: THE PATTERN COINAGE OF PETER GETZ BY GEORGE FULD
Wayne Homren, Editor
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