David Stone of Heritage submitted this item on the Stickney specimen of the 1815 Half Eagle. Thanks! -Editor
Nice coverage of the Pogue 1815 half eagle in the last issue of the E-Sylum. Students of the 1815 half eagle might be interested in this
transcript of an 1851-dated letter I recently located in Matthew Stickney’s papers at the Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem, Massachusetts. The letter
is from New York bullion and exchange brokers Beebee & Co. to Stickney, offering him a number of foreign coins and an 1815 half eagle. Stickney
obtained many coins from Beebee & Co. (or Beebee & Parshall’s, Beebee, Ludlow & Co., name changes periodically) in the period before 1854.
From the context of the letter, it seems he had a standing want-list with them and they also sent him interesting coins they came across
on spec. It is interesting to note that Stickney was actively seeking the 1815 before 1851, as many numismatists were not aware of the
issue at that time. Joseph Mickley still believed no half eagles had been struck in 1815 when he wrote his pamphlet United States Coins
and Their Degrees of Rarity in 1858.
Stickney’s 1851 purchase makes him the earliest-known numismatic owner of an 1815 in this country, although Swedish merchant Carl Scharp
had acquired an example for his collection at an earlier date. He paid only bullion price for the coin, as it was an old-tenor gold piece
with slightly higher gold content than half eagles struck after 1834. Beebee & Co. was a prominent Wall Street firm, and the largest dealer
in gold bullion in this country in the 1840s and 1850s. Harnden & Co. was one of the first independent express companies in the U.S.,
founded in 1839 by William Frederick Harnden. It was later merged with other entities to form the more famous Adams Express, headed by
Thanks! What a great piece of documentation! Here's the transcript. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
THE ELUSIVE 1815 HALF EAGLE (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v19n06a21.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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