The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is the transcription of an interesting 1890 letter to the U.S. Mint. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. Thanks.
1890 Pencil Rubbing of a Counterfeit Eagle
Continued transcription of the National Archives content reveals additional tidbits, in this case an 1890 letter from A. B. Turner to the U.S. Mint. Turner asks about an 1799 U.S. ten-dollar gold piece, and encloses a pencil rubbing. The piece is described as “silver,” with the weight of a ten-dollar gold coin. If truly silver in appearance, the piece might been a counterfeit with the outer coating worn off. The Mint appears to have responded that the piece had no premium value beyond the gold content, valued at $10.60 (the Coinage Act of 1834 effectively decreased the weight of the ten-dollar piece from 17.5 to 16.718 grams). This was spot on – a 1799 eagle sold for $10.60 in the R. Coulton Davis sale (January 1890), conducted by New York Stamp and Coin.
While the Mint correctly appraised the value of a genuine 1799 gold eagle, they failed to recognize that the coin rubbing was that of a counterfeit. Of course, they did not have the excellent Bass-Dannreuther reference on early gold varieties at hand. Dannreuther identifies nine varieties of the 1799 eagle, none of which match the date style here, which presents a second 9 that is tilted toward the right. Thanks to Dennis Wierzba for catching this. Dennis further points out a contemporary presentation of a 1799 counterfeit ten, in Woodward’s Randall sale (6/29/1885, lot 1253).
Link to National Archives & Records Administration material on Newman Portal:
Link to transcribed letter from A. B. Turner:
Link to R. Coulton Davis sale on Newman Portal:
Link to Randall sale on Newman Portal:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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