The latest issue of JEAN, the Journal of Early American Numismatics has been published by the American Numismatic Society. Here is the table of contents and an excerpt from the Editor's Preface by Christopher R. McDowell.
Table of Contents
The King's College, New York, Literary Society Medals
Benjamin Dudley: Maker of the Nova Constellatio Patterns
The Continental Dollar:
Some Observations and Suggested Research
John Sallay, Patrick McMahon
The Continental Dollar:
Evidence from the ANS Collection
on the Unstruck Side of Uniface Coins
Roger A. Moore, James A. Biancarosa, Daniel Carr
Coronas, Clacos, and Cacao:
The Plea for Copper Coinage in New Spain (1764–1771)
Jesse Kraft, Ángel Navarro Zayas
Thomas Goadsby: New Jersey Coiner
Gary A. Trudgen
The Early Coinage of Tortola:
Numismatic Traces of a Most Heinous Murderer?
Wow - what a great collection of writers and topics.
Quality begets quality - just when you think a JEAN issue can't be beat, along comes one even better!
Welcome to the fifth year of the Journal of Early American Numismatics (JEAN),
the successor publication to The Colonial Newsletter (CNL). We have grown from
the five-page acorn planted in October 1960 to the leafy volume you hold today. CNL and JEAN have brought our subscribers the very best in numismatic research for the past 62 years; that strong tradition continues today. This is a fantastic issue. It is the best we have ever published. I don't know how we can ever hope to do better than this, but we shall try.
anchor article in this issue is a brilliant piece by John Sallay. His monograph may be one of the best-written articles we have ever published. If it does not win accolades, I will be shocked. Indeed, it is my opinion that it is a strong candidate for the numismatic article of the year along with two other articles in this issue. The editorial staff struggled to improve it. Indeed, one editor wrote me back after I sent it out for review that he had no edits—if only every article were that way. John's research is impeccable, and the subject matter is fascinating. These medals are crucial pieces of Americana. They were issued to students for academic merit before the Revolution at New York's King's College, now Columbia University. In learning about these engraved medals, you will get a great sense of pre-Revolutionary New York City. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that they were engraved by Elisha Gallaudet (E.G.), the erstwhile engraver of the Continental
Julia Casey provides her research to us on the Nova Constellatio coinage.
Reasonable people may disagree, but I think this is Julia's best article yet. It is everything I like in a JEAN article. There are certain past numismatic researchers whose musings and speculations are accepted today as the gospel truth without any thought or scrutiny. My favorite articles are iconoclastic, written by brave modern researchers willing to challenge conventional wisdom and strike a new path guided by original research and truth. This is such an article. Julia takes on the Nova Constellatio mystery, casting aside everything we once thought was true. We are now shown a new path that seems much brighter than that which we once stumbled blindly along. It is difficult for me to judge if the truths revealed in this article will immediately take hold; old numismatic habits die hard, but, in my opinion, Julia has it right. When all is said and done, this may be the most important and influential article in this issue.
The next article may be familiar to some. It is a reprint of a superb article on the Continental dollar by John Sallay and Patrick McMahon that recently appeared in the MCA Advisory. However, JEAN's staff have taken it and added some excellent materials—images of the edges of European coins from the ANS vault that are similar in appearance to the edge markings on the Continental dollar. I feel these images and the brief notes added by Dr. Kraft greatly enhance the piece. The edge is the third side of a coin and the side most often ignored. However, edge markings may hold key clues as to the origin of the Continental dollar. At this point, the evidence is compelling that the Continental dollar was not struck in America or issued as a circulating currency in America or for America. There will always be doubters among us—after all, there is still a Flat Earth Society, which I understand has a robust membership. While we lack the smoking gun to prove the European origin theory, the circumstantial evidence piles up. In Ye Editor's opinion, it is a matter of time before the critical piece of the puzzle is located.
Our next offering is a technical article by Dr. Roger Moore with the assistance of several co-authors. As of late, this journal has neglected technical pieces in favor of historical monographs. Dr. Moore and his colleagues help right the ship with a scientific approach to
ghost images on old copper coins. Sometimes the answer to a question requires old-fashion elbow grease, table-top experimentation, trial and error, and the scientific method. Many of our subscribers come from a scientific background and yearn for such articles. Besides articles espousing XRF analysis's virtues, Ye Editor receives few technical articles submitted for peer review and publication. This is an open invitation to all our readers with a scientific bent to please put your numismatic experiments on paper and submit them for publication.
Drs. Kraft and Zayas have prepared a spectacular article on a specific type of New World currency. Since Watson met Crick, there has not been a better pairing of minds and abilities than Kraft and Zayas. Their article combines Zayas's unparalleled Spanish colonial numismatic research abilities with Kraft's writing skills and easy access to the ANS collection. In editing this piece, I read it four times, maybe five. Each time I read it, I appreciated it more. This article helps to explain that New Spain suffered from the same lack of fractional currency as the English colonies in America. The Spanish Main had a sizable Indigenous population integrated into the economy with their own monetary traditions, including the use of cocoa beans as money. The Indigenous merchants and people did not want to give up their traditions, but these traditions did not make sense within the economic context of Europe. As the silver and gold were drained from the New World, Spain found trading with its possessions difficult since they had no specie to buy European goods. Kraft and Zayas discuss Mexico's difficult transition to a modern economic system by examining an unusual form of currency, accompanied by images of pieces found in the ANS collection.
My friend Gary Trudgen is back with another biographical article, this time on Thomas Goadsby. Recently we transcribed and published a portion of Goadsby's business records. Goadsby had more than one finger in the early American financial pie. Understanding where he was and what he was involved with elucidates various colonial coinages. As our subscribers may be aware, I believe that Gary's biographical approach holds our best hope of revealing the answers to many of the numismatic questions that remain. Over the course of the past four decades, Gary has quietly and persistently accomplished more than any other researcher to decipher the logistics of the Atlee Brewery and Machin's Mills operations. Gary's writings have taken us from a place of myth and speculation about these counterfeiting operations to one of enlightenment and fact. Had Gary published all his research at one time, he would be placed on the same pedestal as Crosby and Newman, but because he slowly peeled back the onion over many decades, we became acclimated to the extent of the full impact of his revelations. I believe Gary to be the greatest living numismatic scholar. Everything he writes is important. This current article is no exception. It is our great pleasure to bring his words to our subscribers.
Our final article comes to us from another friend, Jeff Rock. Poor Jeff. He sent me a pithy eight-page article to look over, and after our editorial team got done with it, it had expanded to the piece we publish today. Jeff had to work feverously to accommodate our publishing deadline, and his article now covers all the pieces struck on or for the island of Tortola (in today's British Virgin Islands) during the Colonial Era. The story of Tortola's monetary woes is a familiar one—the lack of fractional currency made it hard to carry on commerce. However, Tortola had its own answer to the problem. Jeff explores the Tortola coinage through the prism of slavery and brutality on the island. I do not doubt that this will be a foundational article on the topic.
In closing, JEAN subscriptions continue to increase, and we remain a strong and vibrant publication. Thank you to our loyal subscribers. Your continued interest and support of JEAN makes everything we do possible.
Christopher R. McDowell
May 28, 2022
For more information on the American Numismatic Society, see:
For more information on the Journal of Early American Numismatics, see:
Journal of Early American Numismatics (was Colonial Newsletter)
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