Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker of CoinWeek have also published a great review of of the Bowers-Galiette book on double eagles, which John and Nancy Wilson reviewed here in The E-Sylum last week. Here's a very short excerpt, so be sure to read the complete article online. It's a great analysis.
In his latest work, Bowers collaborates with financial historian and series specialist Robert Galiette to take on America’s highest denomination circulating coin, the gold double eagle.
The book, U.S. Liberty Head $20 Double Eagles: The Gilded Age of Coinage, examines the 60 year period of the coin’s production, focusing on the social, industrial, and financial aspects of the American experience.
While it follows the year-by-year structure we’ve come to expect from books like this, it eschews the “by the numbers” approach (you know the drill; mintage numbers, flawed certified grade population reports, and somebody’s best guess at coin values–usually with no explanation of methodology) that can lose sight of what makes Numismatics interesting in the first place.
It’s a refreshing approach, and one that we think could gain some traction if only other writers would see the benefit of Bowers’ formula and frame their narratives by remembering that coins serve as a tool of commerce, struck for the benefit of the people that use them.
No doubt Galiette was aware that the two writers were treading down a road less travelled with this approach. “I had wanted to write about financial history and economics”, Galiette told us during a March telephone interview, “and Chris [Karstedt] and Dave would remind me it was a book about $20 Liberties.”
Ultimately, Galiette’s instincts were on the money, so to speak.
Readers who want to get a feel for the period will find the various topics and tangents interesting.
We found fascinating the stories of hooliganism in California at the height of the gold rush and historical documents that recount the tremendous difficulty the Mint endured to supply the branch in San Francisco with acids for assay purposes. Not to mention Bowers’ and Galiette’s knowledgeable insights into America’s 19th century silver euphoria, which drastically changed the course of American monetary policy and ultimately led to an epic political battle between the Silverites and the gold bugs in the latter part of the 19th century.
To read the complete article, see:
First Read: U.S. Liberty Head $20 Double Eagles: The Gilded Age of Coinage
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
BOOK REVIEW: U. S. LIBERTY HEAD $20 DOUBLE EAGLES
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