The E-Sylum:  Volume 7, Number 18, May 2, 2004, Article 11


  David Gladfelter writes: "Concerning Benjamin C. True:
  Groce & Wallace, The New-York Historical Society's
  Dictionary of Artists in America, 1564-1860 (New Haven,
  Yale University Press, 1957) has a brief listing for him
  as an "engraver, seal engraver and die sinker" working in
  Cincinnati, 1850-60. He is credited with the Wealth of the
  South tokens of the 1860 Presidential campaign which are
  listed in Fuld as Patriotic Civil War tokens as well as in
  Sullivan as political medalets. See Melvin and George Fuld,
  "The Wealth of the South Mulings," in 24 Numismatic
  Scrapbook Mag. 1785 (Sept. 1958). One of the
  "President's House" dies in that series is signed with his
  initial T. Benjamin C. True may be a relative (son and
  nephew) of the Troy, NY engravers Benjamin C. and
  Daniel True, who produced some of the Hard Times
  tokens of that city. See "Miscellany," 24 Numismatist 42
  (Jan. 1913). This isn't much, but hope it helps."

  Alan Luedeking writes: "Regarding Andy Lustig and Saul
  Teichman's request for info on the engraver Benjamin C. True,
  I turned of course to  L. Forrer's "Biographical Dictionary of
  Medallists, Coin-, Gem-, and Seal-Engravers, Mint Masters,
  &c." Here is a verbatim transcript of what can be found on
  pages 145-146 of Volume VI:

  "TRUE, BENJAMIN C. and DANIEL (Amer.) There were
  two Die-cutters in Troy named True, --- Benjamin C. and
  Daniel ; judging by the appearance of their names in the
  Directories, the first was the elder, but whether relatives or
  not, I have not found. Benjamin C. was a "letter cutter,"
  having a shop at 7 Beaver Street, and residence at 134
  Lydius Street, as early as 1832 ; in 1834 he is called a
  gunsmith, and in 1835 a die-cutter, at 7 Beaver Street,
  "up-stairs"; in 1840 he added to his business as a die-cutter
  that of a "military store keeper," --- perhaps making military
  buttons --- and his store was in 88 North Market Street, if
  the notes furnished me are correct.  In 1842-4 he was in
  business with J. Roseboom & Co., in Church and Division
   Streets, but I have not been able to trace him further. Daniel
  True was a die-cutter at 48 Union Street as early as 1837,
  and continued to do business as such at various locations,
  in time adding that of seal-engraving, until 1856, when he
  seems to have been the senior partner in the firm of True &
  Pilkington, and his address was "Bleecker Hall ;" in 1858 he
  was at the same location, alone; in 1868, the same name, ---
  presumably the same person --- appears as a die-cutter and
  steel engraver, in Hudson Street, and afterwards at 396
  Broadway until 1879. The work of this engraver (whether
  Benjamin or Daniel is uncertain), as shown on the tokens, is
  not of a very high order.

  A number of Tokens signed T are described in 'American
  Journal of Numismatics,' 1899, p. 119. The above notes are
  extracted from this paper."

  There is nothing further to be found in the Supplement to
  Forrer's  work, and I have not looked in the AJN as I don't
  have it!"

  Dick Johnson writes: "To answer Rick D. Whisman about
  Benjamin C. True, I have four pages on True in my
  biographical databank of American Artists, Diesinkers,
  Engravers, Medalists and Sculptors. Here is the first

  TRUE, Benjamin C. (fl 1832-79)  Early American engraver,
  diesinker, seal engraver, letter cutter; Albany, New York
  (1823-38); Cincinnati (1849-1879).  Listed in Albany first
  as letter cutter (1823-33) then gunsmith, but left for
  Cincinnati in 1849. His Albany business was carried on by
  relative Daniel True (q.v.) [who Richard Kenney believed
  to have been his brother].

  The next paragraph tells of his portraits of Lincoln,
  Breckenridge, John Bell and Steven Douglas and his
  stock reverse that he offered to anyone who wanted
  his services. Then I list 20 campaign medals for which
  he was most noted and 16 medals the dies of which I
  can document he engraved. With each item listed here
  are all citations to numismatic literature, appearance in
  auction sales, and public collections containing that item.
  (The ANS citations here are most useful, as it gives the
  accession number where you can go on the ANS
  website to find the full description of that item in their
  massive catalog databank.)

  After this, I list 16 references on Benjamin True for
  further research including biographical articles that Rick
  will find useful in "The Numismatist" (December 1941)
  and two references by Gladfelter in "Journal of the Civil
  War Token Society" separated by eight years as he
  corrected his data (1970 and 1978).

  I even mention that NBS president Pete Smith has included
  True in his unpublished manuscript on private mints in North
  America. I have attempted to include most of what has been
  published (and some unpublished!) data on every American
  coin and medal artist.

  I might mention the publication of this directory has been
  delayed due to conversion of 118,309 lines on 3,356 artists
  from the program in which I entered it, into some very
  sophisticated software demanded by my publisher.

  However, for numismatists seeking data in the meantime,
  please contact me.  I will email a summary, but will not send
  any text -- destined to be copyrighted -- on the internet.
  If you wish more extensive listings (even full text) I would
  mail this in hard copy for a small fee.  Like four pages on
  Benjamin True for $5.

  [It never ceases to amaze me what information E-Sylum
  readers can come up with.  Dick's email address is
  dick.johnson at   -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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