The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 21, Number 40, October 7, 2018, Article 17


The groundbreaking exhibit of artifacts relating to U.S. Mint chief engravers William Barber and Charles E. Barber will be on display at the upcoming October 2018 Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo. Here's the press release. -Editor

The Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo will feature two groundbreaking new exhibits and lectures on personal artifacts from the family of U.S. Mint chief engravers William Barber and Charles E. Barber. The Expo is open to the public and runs from Thursday to Sunday, October 25–28, 2018, at the Baltimore Convention Center. The exhibits will be on display through Saturday.

The Barber exhibits are being brought to the Expo by the nonprofit Barber Coin Collectors’ Society ( and Liberty Seated Collectors Club ( Both clubs will hold meetings with educational programs during the Expo, and everyone is invited to attend.

The exhibits include recently revealed personal artifacts from the family archives of William and Charles Barber. These artifacts change the popular conception (and misconceptions) of the father and son who served as the fifth and sixth chief engravers of the United States Mint.

Members of the Trepagnier family, Charles Barber’s descendants who currently own the personal archives and have generously allowed them to be displayed, will be in attendance and will meet collectors and talk about their famous ancestors.


The Charles Barber exhibit includes:

  • a painted portrait and six new photographs of Charles E. Barber, which show aspects of his personality not seen in his single previously known portrait
  • a photo showing Charles Barber and George T. Morgan together in 1897
  • a 39-star flag presented to Charles Barber by President Theodore Roosevelt
  • the last remaining five patterns from the famous Charles Barber Collection of patterns still held by the family.
  • the first edition of the Woodin-Adams pattern reference, inscribed to Charles Barber, 1913
  • key-date Barber coins (Liberty Head nickels, and Barber dimes, quarters, and half dollars)
  • Barber’s commemorative coins, Hawaiian coinage, and Cuban coinage
  • Barber’s 1905 passport
  • memos from U.S. Mint departments for Barber’s 1905 European mint trip, some with his handwritten notes
  • a diary of Edith Barber from the family’s European trip, which sheds new light on her father’s relationships
  • copies of Barber’s 1905 trip report, with results matching handwritten notes
  • a 1906 Mint Assay medal, in its original case, portraying Theodore Roosevelt
  • letters to Charles Barber from Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Victor David Brenner

On Friday, October 26, at 3:00 p.m., the Barber Coin Collectors’ Society will present a free educational program entitled “The Charles Barber You Didn’t Know,” in Room 301 of the Convention Center.

Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker has viewed the artifacts and attended an August 2018 presentation by BCCS president John Frost at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia. Tucker called Frost’s research and the generosity of the Trepagnier family “one of the most important numismatic developments of the 21st century.” The research will be featured in the second edition of the Guide Book of Barber Silver Coins, by Q. David Bowers, which will debut this holiday season.


A second exhibit will feature artifacts relating to William Barber—Charles’s father and the fifth chief engraver of the Mint, designer of the U.S. trade dollar and the twenty-cent piece. On display will be:

  • an 1869 presidential proclamation naming William Barber as engraver, from President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward
  • paintings of William Barber and his wife, Anna Maria Barber
  • a portrait medal of William Barber by Charles E. Barber
  • three original pencil/pen coin design sketches by William Barber
  • a U.S. Centennial medal, and Grant second inaugural medal, by Barber
  • a scan of an 1875 letter by William Barber about Carson City Mint dies and breakage
  • an 1875-CC twenty-cent piece struck from a broken reverse die
  • a memo by Mint officials on the death of William Barber
  • a set of trade dollars
  • a set of twenty-cent pieces, including one of William Barber’s patterns
  • a copy of Medallic History of the United States 1776–1876, first edition, by J. Loubat, inscribed to William Barber, 1878
  • nside the Mint Cabinet, by Elizabeth Johnston, inscribed to William Barber, 1876

The Liberty Seated Collectors Club meeting will be held Friday, October 26, at 9:00 a.m., in Room 301 of the Convention Center. Its educational program is “William Barber Revealed!”

The Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo is a leading hobbyist convention in North America, held thrice yearly at the Baltimore Convention Center. It connects hundreds of coin and paper-money dealers with thousands of collectors, and is a venue for educational programs, club meetings, new book launches, and social activities for hobbyists from around the world. More information is online at .

Dave Harper of Numismatic News published an October 5, 2018 column about the new view of Charles Barber. -Editor

Chief Mint Engraver Charles E. Barber has been portrayed as someone of little talent and touchy ego who watched as Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Bela Lyon Pratt, and Victor David Brenner ran rings around him.

An often used photograph of the chief engraver, who served 1880-1917, shows him as an old man with hands folded.

There is no defense against being old, and writers have created a portrait of a crotchety man who owed his position to his father, William, who had died suddenly in 1879.

Ground-breaking research by the Barber Coin Collectors’ Society and the Liberty Seated Collectors Club is slowly changing that perception.

We are learning just how much of what we thought we knew about Charles Barber is simply baseless caricature.

To read the complete article, see:
Mint’s Charles E. Barber gets historical makeover (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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