The E-Sylum:  Volume 6, Number 32, August 10, 2003, Article 10


  In the Colonial Numismatics mailing list on August 7th,
  E-Sylum subscriber Dave Menchell reported on the recent
  forum at Colonial Williamsburg.  His note is reprinted here
  with his permission:

  "For those of you who did not have an opportunity to
  participate in the ANA course on 18th century numismatics
  at Colonial Williamsburg following the Baltimore Convention,
  I just wanted to provide a brief summary.  The course was
  well planned, with an introductory discussion of the economics
  and coinage circulating in Virginia during  the 18th century,
  given by John Kraljevich.  The participants then toured the
  facility where much of the research and conservation of
  artifacts is conducted.  A particularly fascinating demonstration
  was the delamination of a piece of Colonial currency previously
  sealed between two pieces of acetate.

  The highlight of the course was the second day, in which the
  Colonial numismatic collection was brought out.  After a short
  discussion on the circulating coinages of the period by Joseph
  Lasser, the coins and medals, largely assembled by Joseph
  Lasser and donated to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation,
  was brought out and displayed on two parallel tables.  The
  material was divided up into several trays by category, with
  curators seated behind the tables and the salivating collectors
  seated in front, eager to see and handle the goodies in the
  cases.  What was there to see?  The range and quality of the
  material was simply spectacular: virtually complete runs of
  Mass silver Oak and Pine tree coinage (a number with Hain
  pedigrees), an NE shilling, several Willows (with sharply
  defined trees!), Somers Island coinage, a number of New York
  pattern pieces (George Clinton, a knockout Eagle on Globe,
  Confederatio, Standing Indian and NY Coat of Arms, etc.)
  several Continental Dollars, including a brass specimen, rare
  Washington pieces, including a Getz silver half dollar, the oval
  gold Funeral medal previously owned by John Marshall, a
  multidenominational pattern copper, Roman Head cent, Non Vi,
  etc. great medals, such as the 4" Jefferson Indian Peace medal,
  a gold William and Mary College medal, the silver De Fleury
  medal, silver and copper examples of the Germantown medal,
  a silver Kittaning medal, and other pieces too numerous to
  mention.  I would suggest that the ANA extend the course a
  day just to allow more time to examine the collection.

  The third day the group visited the brass foundry to see how
  brass counterfeits would have been produced in the 18th
  century.  Molds had been made from a 1771 British halfpenny.
  The group observed how molten brass was then poured into
  the mold.  After cooling, the molds were opened and, viola,
  a tree of 12 brass counterfeits popped out!  The coins were
  wirebrushed to remove any residual sand (to the horror of
  the people watching), sawed off the sprues, then finished by
  the participants with files to smooth the edges.  A little pickling
  in sulfuric acid to darken the planchets, and you have a very
  nice cast counterfeit, which we were allowed to keep.  A
  very nice touch!

  Although there wasn't enough time to see everything, there
  is also one of the premier libraries in the country containing
  material dealing with Colonial history.  If the course is
  repeated, I would encourage everyone to sign up.  You
  could also contact Eric Goldstein, who said that he would
  be happy to go through items from the collection with
  individuals, given some advanced notice.  The only sad note
  was, having bid on some of these items in past sales, the
  realization that the material in the collection will not be available

  to collectors in the future.  Oh well, we all had an opportunity
  to examine these great coins and there was no bidding pressure
  or drained bank accounts as a result. Anyone interested in a
  very contemporary cast counterfeit?

  [A December 2002 press release describes the Joseph and
  Ruth Lasser donation of colonial era coins to the Colonial
  Williamsburg Foundation:


  Wayne Homren, Editor

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