GOLD RUSH COINERS BOOK
In the "ephemera" portion of my library is an audio tape I
made at last year's ANA Convention in Portland, of John
J. Ford's talk on Western Assay Bars. He mentioned the
Central America recovery and described a gentlemen who
became intrigued with the history of the makers of the
pioneer gold coins and bars discovered on the shipwreck.
Using a magnifying glass, he studied the assayer's names
on bars pictured in a magazine profile of the wreck. Then
he went to the library. While poring through microfilms of
contemporary newspapers, he began to assemble information
on each of the assayers, then looked for any other
documentary evidence he could find. Gradually, he gathered
much heretofore unpublished information on these pioneer
The man's name is Dan Owen, and as Ford announced last
year, his work is being published cooperatively by Stack's
and Bowers and Merena. As noted by Dan in the Summer
1999 issue of The Brasher Bulletin, published by the Society
of Private and Pioneer Numismatics (SPPN):
"An Encyclopedia of California Coiners and Assayers
Related to Numismatics" represents my in-depth research
project on the numismatic history of the California Gold Rush.
The text is several hundred pages in length, and contains a
wealth of information which cannot be found in any other
single source. Several chapters in my book will be devoted
to the assaying firms who made the gold ingots recovered
from the wreck of the S.S. Central America."
The book will be available this year. So, you think all the
good numismatic research projects have already been done
to death? Here's one that a non-numismatist picked up and
made his own, discovering several stones left unturned by
previous researchers. What other topics are ripe for a
Wayne Homren, Editor
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