The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 10, March 11, 2007, Article 12


Marian LaReno writes: "My great - - - - -  grandfather was Adam Eckfeldt.
I have two Eckfeldt U.S. mint retirement medals, one from Adam (silver,
dated 1839) and one from Jacob (bronze, dated 1930). I am interested in
learning more about the historical significance of these medals.  If any
of your readers would be interested in contacting me regarding these
medals I would be very appreciative.

"The Adam Eckfeldt retirement medal is 2", silver, in original two
piece slide coin case - red with gold filagree, velvet inside, 1839.
It has his portrait on one side and words of farewell on the other side.

"Jacob's medal is bronze, shaped like a tombstone, and has a portrait
on one side and farewell words on the other, 1930."

[Naturally, I asked about other Eckfeldt or Mint-related documentation
or artifacts in the family's possession.  Her reply follows. -Editor]

"I personally do not have any correspondence or photos, but I am certain
that other family members have some additional items pertaining to the
Eckfeldts. I do have an old wooden chair that belonged to Adam, and
family history tells that it came from the Mint. In the painting "The
Inspection of the First Coin", this chair is in the foreground on the
right, the smaller  chair. I have learned from the Philadelphia Mint
that there probably were several of those chairs in the Mint (as they
have one on display exactly like the one I have) and that the one in
the painting is representative of what would have been in the room at
the time."

[Unable to wait for Sunday to start learning more about these medals,
I contacted some of our regular contributors. -Editor]

Katie Jaeger writes: "The 1839 medal is described by Robert Julian as
MT-18, in 'Medals of the U.S. Mint, The First Century, 1792-1892':

"51 mm, engraved by Moritz Furst, struck in gold, silver and bronze.
Adam Eckfeldt was born in 1769 and entered the mint service in 1792.
In 1814 he was appointed chief coiner, a post he held for 25 years.
Even after his official retirement, Eckfeldt continued coming to the
mint daily and actually superintended the coining department for his
successor, Franklin Peale.  He died in 1852.

"The chief coiner was given a gold medal from these dies; others
received silver or bronze medals.  The dies, which are in the mint
collection, are known to have been used in this century for restriking
because the Smithsonian collection contains an Eckfeldt medal that
appears to date from the 1920s.  Furst was paid $100 to cut the obverse
die.  The reverse was probably done by Peale."

Katie adds: "Furst made over 100 U.S. medals, and many of them are
portrait pieces because that was his long suit.  As noted by Chris Neuzil
in 'A Reckoning of Moritz Furst's American Medals' ANS Coinage of the
Americas Concerence Proceedings No. 13, 1997:  'It is ironic that one
of the last dies Furst made in America honors an officer of the U.S.
Mint, where Furst sought unsuccessfully for three decades to obtain
the position of chief engraver.'"

Karl Moulton writes: "Unfortunately, most people who have these
Eckfeldt medals do not know exactly what they have.  There was only
one Adam Eckfeldt retirement medal struck in gold on March 15, 1839.
The reverse inscription read "for a suitable testimonial of our regard
on the occasion of his retiring from our body".  It was paid for by a
subscription of mint employees and officers, who got together $180 for
that sole purpose.

"At the same time, there were two silver farewell medals struck from
a different reverse die that read 'A / farewell tribute / of / affectionate
regard / to / Adam Eckfeldt / from his / fellow officers / of the / U.S.
Mint / 1839'.  One went to Levi Woodbury, the Secretary of the Treasury,
while the other went to Martin Van Buren, the President of the United

"The farewell medals were later restruck in unknown quantities by coiner
Franklin Peale in both silver and bronze.  Peale had been personally
chosen by Eckfeldt to succeed him as coiner.  I know of no way to tell
the restrikes from the originals, as the two originals haven't been
traced for well over 100 years.

"However, one of these silver farewell medals (a probable restrike) ended
up with Dr. Charles Winfield Perkins, of New York, whose great-grandfather
was Adam Eckfeldt.  In 1926, this example was donated by Dr. Perkins to
the Delaware County Historical Society (ref. The Numismatist, April 1926,
p191).  Unfortunately, there are several undocumented and invalid claims
about how much Adam Eckfeldt did while he was employed at the United
States Mint from 1795 to 1839.

"The original gold retirement medal has not been seen or heard of
since Eckfeldt's death in 1852.

"This information, and much more can be found in my soon-to-be-released
book titled 'Henry Voigt and Others Involved with America's Early Coinage'."

Joe Levine writes: "I have run both of these medals in my sales.
The descriptions and results are below."

[There are multiple sale records of these medals; Joe or I
can forward the details to anyone interested.  I've added links to
some recent sales. -Editor]

"Original Silver Eckfeldt Medal. MT-18. 51.8mm Silver. Mortiz Furst,
Sc. Very Fine with the rims badly nicked and scraped and with numerous
nicks on the bust and in the fields. The obverse bears Eckfeldt's bust
facing right, ADAM ECKFELDT CHIEF COINER U.S. MINT 1814-1839 around.
The reverse bears an eleven line tribute to him from “His fellow officers
of the U.S. Mint, 1839.”

"When this medal was offered in the 1981 Kessler-Spangenberger Sale
as #1811, Carl Carlson commented that he could locate references to
only three silver Eckfeldt medals. Since that time, only one other medal
has surfaced, a silver proof presentation piece housed in the red leather
slip case box.

"7304. #576. Copper, AU.  $230.00
Stack's John J. Ford Sale 10/04. #213. Silver. Choice PL Unc.
Red leather book style case. $3220.00

"Stack's John J. Ford Sale 10/04. #214. Silver. Unc. $1380.00

"Jacob Eckfeldt Retirement Plaque, 1930.  58 x 42.6mm. with rounded
corners at top. Bronze. Adam Pietz, Sc. About Uncirculated with
scattered dark spots on the reverse. . Obverse with bearded bust of
Eckfeldt to the left. In exergue: JACOB B. ECKFELDT/ ASSAYER U.S. MINT
1881 - 1930.  The reverse is inscribed: FROM YOUR/ ASSOCIATES IN THE/
SERVICE/ ASSAY DEPT./ APR. 15, 1865/ DEC. 31, 1929.

"This medal commemorates an extraordinary period of government service.
Jacob Eckfeldt was the fourth member of his family to serve as a Mint
official in an unbroken period dating from Jan. 1, 1796, when Adam
Eckfeldt was appointed Assistant Coiner. Jacob B. Eckfeldt began work
under his father in 1865 and retired as Assayer of the U.S. Mint in 1929.

"In our 35th Sale in 1983, re offered a uniface example of this piece
showing the reverse only. At the time we commented that, “Since the
legend on this small plaque does not mention Eckfeldt's name, our
suspicion is that there is an obverse (perhaps with his portrait on it)
which makes the connection secure. Perhaps, then this specimen is a
uniface trial. “ Now, 21 years later,,  this connection is indeed

7304. #579. Bronze. Au.  $747.50"

Pete Smith writes: "I sent her about twenty pages of my genealogy of
the Eckfeldt family. I hope she will give me more on the current

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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