The book project that Len Augsburger and Joel Orosz have been working on for the past three years is nearing completion. Here's their report.
Since 2006, we have been doing intensive research on Frank H. Stewart, the owner, chronicler, would-be savior, and ultimate destroyer of the first United States Mint, and the rich legacy of Mint-related artwork he left behind. We have visited more than a dozen archival repositories located in four states plus the District of Columbia, connected with collectors living in more than 10 other states, and carefully combed the Internet.
The rich collections we examined have yielded discoveries that will excite everyone intrigued by American numismatic history. We unearthed new facts about the construction and evolution of the buildings of the first Mint, tracked down its artifacts and relics—such as a doorstep of one of the buildings and gavels made from salvaged Mint building timbers—and uncovered a great deal of biographical information about Frank H. Stewart himself.
We have traced missing rarities that will excite coin collectors in general, but early copper enthusiasts in particular. Visually, the book will be truly eye-popping. We have gathered remarkable images of the first Mint completely unseen since they were created decades ago — photographs, sketches, studies, watercolors — not to mention a forged oil painting!
The coins and medals from Frank H. Stewart's collection illustrated in the book will be fresh material even to advanced collectors. Our copiously-illustrated book will literally change the way in which we look at the Mint, its history, and the art that has shaped our perceptions of it for the past century. Pictures of the First United States Mint: The Numismatic Legacy of Frank H. Stewart will be available in mid-2010 from Whitman Publishing.
Len Augsburger shared the following images with us as examples of the photos to be found in the book.
The cover from the program for the fourth US Mint dedication (1969), featuring an adaptation of Edwin Lamasure's Ye Olde Mint.
Frank H. Stewart, c. 1945, enjoying a good smoke and a good read.
The doorsill of the first United States Mint.
A gavel constructed from first Mint timber (ANA collection).
Wayne Homren, Editor
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