Cary Bown has some questions for our readers on the Baldwin Vaquero $10 of 1850. Can anyone help?
In the Issue #2 July 2003 of the fixed price list Numismatic Perspective issued by American Numismatic Galleries, LLC, the lead article, titled The Inspiration of the Baldwin Vaquero $10 of 1850, the author (at the time of publication, Q. David Bowers was associated with American Numismatic Galleries, LLC) asserts that the inspiration for Albert Kuner's design of the coin's obverse originated from a print titled "Californians Throwing the Lasso" credited to Wm. Smyth, which was first contained in F.W. Beechey's book Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering's Strait to Cooperate with the Polar Expeditions... published in 1831 by Colburn and Bentley in London. In this article, the author states that the print "while famous in the 19th century, is but little known today".
Near contemporaneously (to the best of my recollection), there was another article (perhaps an auction catalog description or advertisement) that took a detailed look at the print and made a comparison to the coin's obverse and concluded that there was on the order of (I'm paraphrasing here) "30 points of congruence" between the print and the coin (noting the number of loops in the horse's tack, number of buttons on the vaquero's clothing, etc.). Since that time, this association has become well accepted in the numismatic community with at least a couple of auction catalog descriptions noting the association (The Old West and Franklin Collections - August 2006, and more recently Heritage Auction April 2014, CNS Chicago).
Was Q. David Bowers the author of the article noted above, if not he, then who?
Was that article the first to point out the relationship between Kuner's obverse design for the Vaquero and the spirited sketch of a Californian lassoing a bull, taken from life by Mr. Smyth, in which the method, as well as the costume of the natives is admirably delineated.? If not, then who authored the first and where is it?
Is there a story behind who, when, where and how the association was first realized (somewhat of a Eureka moment)?
Is the use of the word describing the print as "famous" justified and on what basis (other than its appearance in a number of other 19th and early 20th century publications such as Alexander Forbes' California: A History of Upper and Lower California from Their First Discovery to the Present Time…, London 1839) can it be described thusly?
Where is the article mentioning "30 points of congruence"?
Any answers to those questions, or any related information on the Smyth-Kuner association, is most appreciated and my apologies to anyone to whom these questions have already been posed if I have not allowed sufficient time to respond before enlisting the aid of the wider numismatic community.
To read the complete Heritage lot description, see:
1850 $10 Baldwin Ten Dollar MS61 PCGS. K-3, R.6....
Wayne Homren, Editor
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