The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 29, July 21, 2019, Article 14


In earlier issues we discussed places of numismatic interest in New York City. Jim Neiswinter offers this itinerary for a self-directed walking tour. Thanks! Try it sometime! -Editor

Start the tour at the foot of Broadway at Bowling Green. This is the oldest and smallest park in the city. The iron picket fence that surrounds the park was installed by the British in the 1770s.

39 Broadway.just north of the park. There is a plaque on this building that says George Washington lived at this address for 8 months in 1790 before the capital was moved to Philadelphia.

Fugio cent obverse 48 Wall St. The Museum of Finance. This site was the headquarters for the Bank of New York before it became a museum. The BNY was founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1784 and moved to 48 Wall St. in 1796. It was at this site that a hoard of uncirculated Fugio cents was first discovered in 1856, and rediscovered in 1926. These cents were handed out to new customers.

33 Liberty St. The Federal Reserve Bank of N.Y. Two differences between Fort Knox and the Fed: 1. Most of the gold at the Fed belongs to other countries while all the gold at Ft. Knox belongs to the United States. 2. The Fed gives free tours to their underground vault while Ft. Knox does not allow visitors.

96 Fulton St. This former bank was home to the American Numismatic Society from 2004 to 2008 when it moved to its present site at the corner of Canal and Varick St.

146 Fulton St. was the first address for Scott’s Stamp and Coin Co. In 1882 the company moved to 721 Broadway.

Smith of Ann Street re-Engraved 1793 Large Cent 1 Ann St. at the corner of Broadway. From 1852 to 1866 William Smith worked here as an engraver. William Woodward named him “Smith of Ann St.” because he was so impressed with his work of re-engraving low grade 1793 & 94 cents into high grade 1793 cents. These cents fooled many collectors of that era. It was J. N. T. Levick who incorrectly called these cents counterfeits. Directly across Broadway is St. Paul’s church where George Washington was a member.

121 Essex St. This was the home of Augustus Sage where the first meeting of the ANS was held in March 1858. The picture on page 118 in the Dave Bowers book American Numismatics Before the Civil War is of a five story building at this address that was built in 1874, so it was not the building where the first meeting of the Society was held. Sage died in Feb. 1874.

Astor Place and 4th Ave. - Cooper Union: This engineering school opened in 1859. It was here that Abe Lincoln gave his first New York City campaign speech in 1860. The ANS held early meetings there. Called the Cooper Institute when it first opened, it was also the site for coin auctions in the 1860s and 70s.

139 E. 14th St. is where Edouard Frossard had his office starting in 1877.

904 Broadway at the corner of E. 20th St. This is where Joseph Levick opened his coin store in 1860 after moving from Philadelphia. Two years earlier, in a house just down the block at 28 E. 20th St., Teddy Roosevelt was born. This house is a National Historical Site and a museum.

32 E. 23rd St. is where Thomas Elder opened his first coin store in the city in 1902.

This tour would end like it began - at a non numismatic site: The block of W. 28th St. between 5th and 6th Aves. was the center of the music business in this country from the late 1880s to the 1940s. This is where people like Irving Berlin and George Gershwin would go to get their music published. It was known as Tin Pan Alley. There are 4 or 5 brownstones on the north side of the street that are still there that housed the publishing companies. There is talk these buildings might become Historical Sites.

So there you have a mostly numismatic walking tour that would probably take 2 hours to complete with about 4 miles of walking – and we’ve just gotten to midtown.

Jim adds: "I just realized I mentioned 3 of the 4 presidents on Mt. Rushmore. Did Jefferson ever make it to NYC?" I asked Dr. Google, and found an answer on Wikipedia and elsewhere. -Editor

In the spring of 1790, Thomas Jefferson rented a house at 57 Maiden Lane when he moved to New York to serve as the Secretary of State under George Washington. His dinner on June 20, 1790 at that house with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison produced the Compromise of 1790, whereby Hamilton won the decision for the national government to take over and pay the state debts, while Jefferson and Madison obtained the national capital (District of Columbia) for the South. The dinner was celebrated in the song "The Room Where It Happens" in the Broadway musical Hamilton.

So, I guess one could argue that the redemption of colonial currency is a numismatic connection, but the location is worthy of mention regardless. I also reached out to researcher Joel Orosz for comment. -Editor

Joel writes:

The only time Jefferson was in NYC that I know of was while the federal capital was there, from 1789-1790, after which it was moved to Philadelphia. It was in New York, however, that Jefferson submitted to Congress his Report on the Subject of Establishing a Uniformity in the Weights, Measures, and Coins of the United States, which had a significant influence upon the Senatorial Committee that drafted the Mint Act of 1792.

To read the complete article, see: Maiden Lane (Manhattan) (

ANS Example of 1793 Cent re-engraved by Smith of Ann Street:
Copper cent, Philadelphia (Pa.), 1793. 1950.147.27 (

To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:

esylum ad Apr19

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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