American Numismatic Association Librarian RyAnne Scott suggested
Edward Carmody pose his question about Augustus Heaton's papers to E-Sylum readers. Can anyone help?
I am searching for the "lost archives" of Augustus Heaton for his late 19th century book on Mint Marks. I was hoping for a lead to a living relative, but I've had nothing but dead ends. The family tree seems to end with John G. Heaton (b. 1910/d 1970).
I have since tried to guess where Augustus Heaton may have donated his papers to ensure their survival (The Smithsonian, The U.S. Senate Historical Collection, the ANA and ANS and finally the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where he went to school. This approach has also come up empty.
I am hoping to find the original handwritten presentation note from Rufus Tyler ( Chief Coiner for the New Orleans Branch Mint) to Alexander Bache. This note was wrapped around the only surviving 1838-O Half Dollar that was actually produced in New Orleans. The 2012 study "The Surprising History of the 1838-O Half Dollar" by David Stone and Mark Van Winkle indicates that 10 coins were produced in Philadelphia, of which 9 survive ...and Tyler produced an additional 10 in New Orleans, of which only one survives ( the specimen that was presented to Alexander Bache.).
The note was published in the July 1894 issue of The Numismatist, and the note and coin were sold to Augustus Heaton. It has not been seen since that date. I believe that Heaton kept the note with his background material for his book on Mint Marks (in which the 1838-O had significant mention), rather than with the coin. He knew the historical importance of the note and would have taken steps to preserve it.
Heaton's coin collection was sold in its entirety after his death (1930) and it passed on to Col. Green, but the Rufus Tyler note was not included. My hope is to find the archives, find the note, and reunite it with the coin.
Wow - what a great piece of numismatic history! It would be great if that letter could be found. Any leads, readers?