The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 43, October 14, 2012, Article 20


While on the subject of George Washington, regarding Glenn A. Mooney's pioneering work on the Washington Before Boston medal, John W. Adams wrote:

The quality and thoroughness of Mooney's research is fully up to the standard set by Sylvester Sage Crosby; it is a shame that more people have not read his work. His 1976 paper, though obscure, remains the last word on the subject.

The mention of Mooney's work came up in discussion of an earlier blog post by Donald Scarinci describing his recent work in sorting out the Washington Before Boston die varieties and emission sequence. Here are excerpts from Scarinci's latest blog post on the topic. -Editor

F1FirstObverse_Scarinci_WEB1000-300x198 I am happy that my article about the Die Varieties of the Washington Before Boston medal has sent people back to their collections to look at the medals. I hope that more people will report their findings. A die emission sequence can only be theorized and verified by looking at the medals themselves.

John Adams’ recent report in the Esylum newsletter of October 7, 2012 that there are examples of F1 "that are from a later obverse die state than most of the F-2’s and F-2.1’s" would certainly make sense and would be consistent with my study. The error reverse, F2 and the corrected error reverse, F2.1 did not experience much use. There are only 4 known error reverse, F2 (Scarinci, Menchell, Adams have 3 of the 4) and no more than 8 or 10 corrected error, F2.1 (Menchell & Adams account for 2 of them). The corrected error reverses, F2.1, that I have seen, all show die failure. It is certainly possible that the Paris Mint reverted back to using the original broken reverse after the failure.

If John Adams’ observations are correct then collectors who own original F1 Washington Before Boston Medals need to carefully examine them. Early die states would be more desirable because they are more likely to have been struck closer to the time of George Washington’s gold presentation medal. The gold presentation medal is the earliest state of the original obverse die.

To read Scarinci's blog article, see: Washington Before Boston Medal: A Die Emission Study Requires Direct Observation of the Medals Themselves (

Scarinci adds:

John Adams has made some excellent observations about the original Washington Before Boston medals, F-1, the error reverse medals, F-2 and the corrected error reverse medals, F-2.1. The total surviving examples of these varieties combined is not estimated to exceed 60 specimens and the correct total is probably a lot less. Therefore, creating an accurate census and recording the die state of these medals by their current owners will result in a tremendous leap in our knowledge about them. It is fitting that John Adams has taken the lead in this and I hope other owners will weigh in as well with their observations. Pictures would obviously be even better..

I have posted enlargements of the key diagnostic area for determining the first obverse die state as well as some additional information on my blog. If you own an F-1, F-2 or F-2.1, please take a look at my blog and contact me with any information that you can share. I am also eager to learn who owns the fourth of the four known error reverse and the other six of the eight or ten known corrected error reverses so please let me hear from you.

With respect to John's comments about Mooney and about the collateral material such as the BPL cliche and the ANS shells, I don't believe these things are at all relevant to a die emission study. As to Mooney's dated article, it is an extraordinary piece of scholarship and it is extremely rare as a piece of numismatic literature. However, it may well be ground zero for much of the confusion that exists about the Washington Before Boston medal. I think that if you own this article, it deserves a place in your numismatic library next to a first edition of Breen's Encyclopedia but it is no substitute for direct observation of the medals themselves.

But of course! While the classic texts embody the shoulders of the numismatic giants we stand upon today, they are only the starting point for today's researchers, who must sort out the truth using all of the knowledge and tools available today. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MORE ON WASHINGTON BEFORE BOSTON MEDAL VARIETIES (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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