The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 22, Number 31, August 4, 2019, Article 27


One lot which caught my eye in the upcoming Stack's Bowers Rarities Night sale features a rare medal of Philadelphia numismatist Joseph J. Mickley along with catalogs and other publications relating to Mickley and his collection. Here's an excerpt - see the complete lot online. A great opportunity for numismatic bibliophiles. -Editor

Lot 5059: Joseph J. Mickley Birth and Death Memorial Medal

Mickley Memorial medal obverse Mickley Memorial medal reverse

"1878" (1879) Joseph J. Mickley Birth and Death Memorial Medal. Silver. 50.8 mm. 74.3 grams. By Lea Ahlborn. Mint State, Edge Bumps. Obv: Bust of the famous numismatist right with the inscriptions JOSEPH J. MICKLEY PRES. SOCIET. NUMISM. ANTIQU. PHILADELPHIE around the periphery and, in smaller letters, NAT. 1799 OB. 1878. at the lower border. Signed by the artist under the bust LEA AHLBORN FEC. Rev: Thick wreath surrounds the inscription STAT SINE MORTE / DECUS.

This medal was designed by Lea Ahlborn of Stockholm and struck in the Swedish Mint in early 1879 under the supervision of Henry J. Mickley. Examples were sold to contemporary collectors through dealer S.K. Harzfeld. It was expected that just about every numismatist at the time would desire an example, but sales proved slow, and today the medals are elusive. Indeed, this is the first specimen that we can recall handling since our (Bowers and Merena's) May 1999 sale of the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part I, which included Mr. Bass' specimen as lot 2122.

Joseph J. Mickley's diary written in 1870, during a trip to Sweden, included this for Tuesday, July 26:

"Visited the Mint. It was not in operation; the mintmaster Ackermann, who was very friendly, went through the establishment with me to show me all the different parts. I saw nothing different from anything I had seen in the machinery of other mints I visited, except a machine for planing the planchets, to give them the proper weight. But the most remarkable about it is that the person engraving the dies is a lady, Mrs. Lea Ahlborn, 44 years of age. He taught her modeling and engraving, when he found she had a talent for it. She presented me with two medals, one for the Mint Cabinet, and the other for myself. She is a very pleasant and amiable lady; speaks German fluently. She has a sister who is a very good wood engraver."

Here are the literature items included in the lot. -Editor

Dates of the United States Coins and their Degrees of Rarity The Mickley Collection

Joseph J. Mickley, Dates of United States Coins and Their Degrees of Rarity, Philadelphia, 1858, (4) pages hardbound in a modern glossy black cloth cover with extra leaves added for bulk. One-inch tear at the head of the first page, else a Fine and unmarked copy. This is Mickley's only published numismatic title. From our (Bowers and Merena's) sale of the Armand Champa Library, Part I November 1994, lot 413. Lot tag included.

W. Elliott Woodward, Fine Paper copy, Catalogue of the Numismatic Collection formed by Joseph J. Mickley, Esq. of Philadelphia, Now the Property of W. Elliott Woodward of Roxbury, Mass., October 28, 1867 and the five following evenings, 196 pages, 3,349 lots, hand-priced in black ink, contemporary black half calf, marbled boards, portion of original front wrapper mount on front board, binding scuffed but tight, tear to the bottom of page 103, others with light discoloration and minor creases, but the whole a pleasing Very Good. Mickley's 1804 silver dollar is lot 1696 in this catalog, at the top of page 99. One of the rarest W.E. Woodward special edition catalogues with no more than three copies known. Ex numismatic book collection of the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Connecticut; our (Bowers and Merena's) sale of the Armand Champa Library, Part III, September 1995, lot 2681.

(compiled by) Minnie F. Mickley, The Genealogy of the Mickley Family of America, originally published by the Mickleys, Pennsylvania, 1893, this undated modern reproduction published by Tuttle Antiquarian Books, Rutland, Vermont, 183 pages, softbound in brown covers, binding and pages tight and clean, a neatly made and well preserved reproduction, As New.

To read the complete lot description, see:
"1878" (1879) Joseph J. Mickley Birth and Death Memorial Medal, accompanied by a treasure trove of literature pertaining to the renowned... (

Kraljevich esylum9

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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