CONTEMPORARY REPORT OF AN EARLY COIN SALE
In the "Show-N-Tell" category, here's an interesting account from an unnamed and undated newspaper article pasted onto the endpapers of my copy of the 1846 book by William Du Bois, "Pledges of History." The book is the first record of the cabinet of coins at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. The article describes a coin sale, probably the March 25, 1862 sale of the John K. Wiggin collection by Edward Cogan in Philadelphia:
"RARE AMERICAN COINS AND MEDALS - A NOVEL SALE
A sale somewhat curious and interesting took place, a few evenings ago, in Tenth street, consisting of nine hundred and eighty lots of rare American coins and medals. Mr. William
C. Cook acted as auctioneer. The bidding was very spirited, especially for the finer pieces. Among the numismatoloists present we noticed Messrs. Strawbridge, and McCoy, of
New York, Mr. Cohen, of Baltimore, Leavitt, of Cincinnati, Chambers, of Providence, Bertah, of Mauch Chunk; and of Philadelphia, Messrs. Coffin, Zehnder, Jenks, Mickle,
Cauffman, Emlen, Moneita, Potts, Humphries, Jones, Nipper, Clarke, Cline, and others. Below we give prices of some of the finer pieces, which no doubt will prove interesting to
many of our readers."
The article went on to list prices of fifty-seven lots. Top bids were for a 1796 Half Dollar "remarkably fine and rare," $28, an 1854 proof set, $21, an "excellent impression" of a 1799 cent, $14, and a 1794 Half Dime "proof, very rare," $8.13. The account is an interesting window into the golden age of American numismatics. Although the reporter misspelled many of the names, they are still recognizable as including the major numismatic figures of the day. What fun we "numismatoloists" of today would have if we could be transported back to that sale. Pleasant dreams…
Wayne Homren, Editor
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