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  1. "Mrs. Thomas Leiper and Her Daughter, Helen Hamilton Leiper" as shown on Oil on Canvas, 1794 by Charles Willson Peale. Do you recognize the features in the little one's face or perhaps on her mom's face? She would have been roughly two years old in the picture, having been born on April 20th 1792. After having grown up in Philadelphia, in 1814 she married Robert Maskell Patterson M.D. and had seven children. Philadelphia in 1792 was home to our first Mint. Mr. Patterson's dad was Robert Patterson L.L.D. who was the Director of the Mint from 1806 to 1824, having been appointed by President Jefferson. Mr. Robert Maskell Patterson M.D.was appointed Director of the Mint by President Andrew Jackson from July 1, 1835 to July 1851, having succeeded his brother-in-law Samuel Moore in that position who was appointed by President Monroe. A family monopoly for over 45 years, 1806 to 1851. The War of 1812 ended February 18, 1815 between Britain and the United States. Copper planchets did not arrive in casks from Matthew R. Bolton's English company until late in 1815. 1815 was the only year in which the United States did not coin any cents. On August 22 through the 24th of 1814 the British had dealt a major blow when a force attacked Washington burning the White House and among other buildings the Treasury. These events compiled to allow a refocus on 1816. It is well documented that 1814 was the last year for the Classic Head Cent with the fillet banner in her hair, due to dislike from the public of Engraver John Reich's design. 1815 then was used to let Design Engraver Robert Scot shape a new portrait. The Matron Head Large Cent design became of age and ruled or reigned from 1816 to mid-year 1835. Now enters the little girl in the picture, Helen Hamilton Leiper of Irish descent. She is now 23 years of age,with a father-in-law as acting Director of the Mint and a new bride having married his Irish descent son in 1814. A daughter-in-law's portrait fit for the 1816 Robert Scot design! Some testimonials: Alexandre Vattemare from France (1796-1864) was a founder of the Boston Public Library and an advocate for public libraries and international library exchange. He wrote in his 1861 book or catalog; "COLLECTION DE MONNAIES ET MEDAILLES DE L'AMERIQUE DU NORD DE 1652 A 1858";"1808 a 1815" bear "le portrait de madame Madison" later the "Effigie de Mme Patterson". Legendary Numismatist and Author Q. David Bowers in his 2018 book titled;"ALEXANDRE VATTEMARE AND THE NUMISMATIC SCENE"; mentions on pages 73 and 74 a catalog by Edward Cogan from 1877 that tells of engravers using Mrs. Patterson from 1816 to 1838. So here is my story of the portrait of the lovely Matron Head Large Cent and I am glad after two hundred plus years she has a name!
  2. I acquired for Dynasty Collectors' Cabinet registry by private sale an 1828 N-3 MS64 Brown Middle-date Large Cent. This 1828 is among the finest known and was the best MS Brown Middle-date Large Cent from the over 3,000 coins collected by the Late Rev. Dr. James Gore King McClure. Heritage Auctions brought 800 of his coins to auction in June of 2016, with only six other MS Middle-date Large Cents being offered. I mention this to emphasize just how hard it is to find Mint State Middle-dates. NGC has a beautiful gallery of the Rev. Dr. James Gore King McClure Collection one can view @ www.ngccoin.com/gallery/mcclure The Rev. Dr. James G.K. McClure passed in 1932. His daughter Harriet McClure Stuart, gave birth to Robert Douglas Stuart Jr. in 1916, so sometime after Robert was about sixteen years old, Grandfather's collection went from his home in Illinois to a safety deposit box at a bank. Young Robert D. Stuart went to Yale College, was C.E.O. of Quaker Oats Company for 38 years, sat on the boards of some Fortune 500 companies and was Ambassador to Norway from 1984-1989. Robert D. Stuart passed in May 2014. Then after roughly seven decades in a safety deposit box, the Great-Grandchildren(James M. Stuart, Marian S. Pillsbury, and Alexander D. Stuart) decided to auction them, recounting how their Dad told them GrandPa would tell how he came to acquire each one of the meticulously arranged coins in custom built trays. GrandPa was Rev. Dr. James G.K. McClure. He was the fourth Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Forest, IL for 25 years, President of Lake Forest College and founder of the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. An eloquent quote from an article he wrote in the 1890s read; "Interest in coins was a large feature of my boyhood days, and that interest, though a very minor part of life now, still exerts its influence, much as the perfume lingers about the vase that once held the flower." Thank You to all the McClure and Stuart family participants for protecting and helping usher this lovely 1828 N-3 Large Cent into the Dynasty Collectors' Cabinet of Mint State Middle-date Large Cents. (See coin below)
  3. My thoughts on brown exactly. I have fifty five large copper middle dates(and counting) and they are all brown. Nice 1892!
  4. Eric P. Newman numismatist from age seven passed away this week. I never met him, only knew of him through his coins and currency auctions of spectacular selections. I was fortunate to have acquired six mint state Large Cents from these auctions which I understand, by estimates raised $72 million since 2013. He founded a coin museum by his name in 2006. Prior to that about 1959 he founded a numismatic educational society to advance our endeavors. He wrote many ground breaking research books on our topic and held unique pieces which he a lone found. He also acquired many pieces from the late also famous collector Col. Edward H.R. Green. I owe him a great debt of gratitude for having given of his time, talent and treasure in his stewardship of all the coins he preserved from what would have certainly been the ravages of time. I am forever grateful for the six coins that are now in my collection because of him.
  5. I collect 1816-1839 Large Cents in MS Brown by Newcomb variety. In trying to grasp the 1823 "Restrike" die progression(without diving into who made how many in what year), this is my belief! Feel free to agree or disagree.
  6. BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE Upon opening www.Amazon.com and typing in the search bar large cent, I saw no fewer than twelve counterfeits offered for sale on the first three pages. The Secretary of the Treasury permission under Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 25 code 504 can only authorize these fake copies after their producer successfully makes a case that they are unduly restricted reproductions. The problem as I see it is a weakening of the laws that boarders on counterfeiting acceptance. Just about all of the local coin shows I have visited this past year have had counterfeit examples for sale! The situation was not that bad two or three years ago. Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 25 body 487 states: "Whoever, without lawful authority, makes any die, hub, or mold, or any part thereof, either of steel or plaster, or any die, hub, or mold designated for the coining or making of any of the genuine gold, silver, nickel, bronze, copper, or other coins coined at the mints of the United States; or Whoever, without lawful authority, possesses any such die, hub, or mold, or any part thereof, or permits the same to be used for or in aid of the counterfeiting of any such coins of the United States-Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than fifteen years, or both." (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 709; Pub. L. 103-322, title XXXIII, @ 330016(1)(K), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147) The next part has a discriminatory title of "Minor coins", not the kind of language that our first Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton who helped form our first Mint would have used. Indeed Large cents and Half cents were the first coinage made to be circulated. The intent was to replace bartering and help those of lesser needs while eliminating a mixed nationality of then used coin. Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 25 code 490 titled Minor coins reads: "Whoever falsely makes, forges, or counterfeits any coin in the resemblance or similitude of any of the one-cent and 5-cent coins minted at the mints of the United States; or Whoever passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or brings into the United States, or possesses any such false, forged, or counterfeited coin, with intent to defraud any person, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both." (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 709; Pub. L. 98-216, @3(b)(1), Feb. 14,1984, 98 Stat. 6; Pub. L. 103-322, title XXXIII, @330016(1)(H), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.) I liked the 15 years punishment under the first code 487. I think the 3 years under code 490 is too lenient. In any case, AMAZON and these people at the local coin shows selling counterfeits are hurting Numismatists and their collections. Counterfeited Large cents and other coins can create instability in numismatic values, incorrect believed existing quantities and consumer/hobby fraud when it comes to representation and price. Most of the AMAZON and dealer coins that are counterfeits are artificially toned with no visual label, so when they are resold it increases the likely hood of fraud. All you have to do is go to: www.letter2congress.rallycongress.com Type a line that says AMAZON is selling counterfeit U.S. large cent coins by Shenzhen Yuan Yu Fang Technology Co. Ltd. and it needs to stop! The first anti-counterfeiting laws were passed in 1790. Congress now as then has the power to act. Thank You To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.
  7. Today's Matron Head Ladies watch their weight! I collect Matron Head large cents but my advice is for all. I suggest every numismatist purchase a pocket size (so small you could fit several in your pocket) LIHGHTHOUSE .01-100G digital scale or similar .1-500G from Amos Advantage.com($24.95 + $7.99 shipping). This little scale from Germany can do more to protect you from counterfeit purchases than you might imagine. First research your coin's birth weight. The Matron Head 1816-1835 varieties were pressed in Philadelphia from a planchet from the Liverpool England manufacturer Boulton & Watt that weighed 10.89 grams. So one could expect a MS68 to be about in the range of 10.60G to 10.80G raw. An AU50 to be a lesser weight say 10.30G to 10.40G and a G4 even lesser weight. I do not possess the spectrum of graded coins to provide all their weights, but checking a few you already have and preparing a simple small Grade/Weight Spreadsheet is the insurance policy you need. Slabbed coins and varying slab designs make for only a few more weight choices or columns on your spreadsheet, eg. Old PCGS Green holder, new NGC side view holder, ANACS holder etc. All your holdered coins can simply be weighed instantly to provide you with comparison weights. The Matron Head large cent designed by then Chief Engraver Robert Scot was a success compared to its predecessors in the fact that its design lasted two decades and was only given a more youthful look in 1835. A $20.00 L.E.D. hand held slide caliper can be used to check the outer diameter of your raw coin or lay it on the slab to get a close approximation displayed by moving its arms closed, up to the coin's edges below. I bought one at Harbor Freight store for $10.00(PITTSBURGH item #47257) that works just fine and gives me the 1&1/8 inch, 1.125 or 28.5mm outer diameter I expect to see. Another good protection layer from counterfeits. There have been many reported counterfeit large cent dates and many other denominations of coins that are counterfeit as well. I myself ran across an 1823 AU to MS with only a 40x lighted loop available at a local coin show. The 1823 sure looked real, even at 40x but the price was ¼ of what it should have sold for. Upon questioning the seller in front of a small crowd, he admitted that it was "a copy "and that was why he was selling it for less (caveat emptor -- beware buyer). One day in the hopeful future PCGS, NGC, ANACS and related web sites may post the estimated weight of a given raw or slabbed coin for easy reference. That would really give the counterfeiters fits! To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.
  8. Venezuela bound 1835 Large Cents By now most large cent collectors have herd something like half the 18 varieties of 1835 cent Newcomb die numbers are difficult to find. The chief suspect was Venezula. In R.W. Julian's story titled "Venezuela first to circulate U.S. coins", posted to numismaticnews.net on August 23, 2011; "In early 1835, through its New York consul, the Government of Venezuela asked Mint Director Samuel Moore if 100,000 U.S. copper cents could be obtained for shipment to that country. In mid-August 1835 another request... for 1 million each of the cent and half cent." Most of these sent large cents are believed to have succumbed to wear, melting or over strikes long ago. Interesting to note though is that in the period roughly between 1830-1860 unusual to us but not them, was the Cachito style of coinage. This was where traders would latterly chop a coin into four quarter sections, making instant smaller denominations. In Venezuela's new revolutionary freedom from Spain which also encompassed Columbia, Peru, Panama, Bolivar, Granada and Ecuador (hope I covered them all). They looked to the U.S. Mint for help. In 1830 they withdrew from the gran Columbia to be known as the United States of Venezuela or simply Venezuela. According to Wikipedia under the currency of Venezuela "Then on March 25, 1835 Congress (their Congress) authorized circulation of a hitherto unfamiliar coinage, copper centavos (cents) of the United States. The main picture I wish to show is posted at the bottom of this story. A similar coin is on the cover of Tomas Stohr's 1975 book Titled "VENEZUELA" CATALOG OF COINS, PATTERNS, TOKENS AND COUNTER STAMPS. One can also find one pictured in the "Coins of Venezuela" Numismatic Venezolana memory game found @ www.monedasdevenezuela.net. Now take a look at their 1858 5 Reales (then equal to about 25 cents). With LIBERTAD on the coronet and stars centered above, could it have been patterened from an earlier Matron Head large cent, say 1835?
  9. FRANK DEWITT ANDREWS IS THIS YOUR 1826 N-2? This is the question I would like to ask but instead ask the help of fellow ole' copper collectors, to help me decide. I am noticing the second letter S in STATES being rotated clockwise marginally along with the two Ts in STATES having their left arms broken and leaning on some 1826 N-6 reverses but not on others. Our founding father of Matron Cent varieties described in his 1881 54-page self-published pamphlet, what has since become known as his 1826 N-2. It has been called minimally different from his 26-A3 or likely the same. Andrews only distinction being broad S/narrow S. Renowned middle date large cent author John D. Wright in his famous 1992 "The Cent Book" points out in regards to the 1826s, "...a minor variation in the size of the S punch on the reverse". Author Greg Reynolds in Coin Link Collecting News, in his article titled "Greatest All-Time Collection of Middle Date Large Cents to be Auctioned(Part2)" dated 01/30/09 notes"The number of the stars on the obverse is generally or at least should be considered a more significant factor than the size of otherwise identical letters on the reverse(back), which varies for some dates in the 1820s and 1830s." Out of respect for Andrews succeeding authors have left blank lines or pages in documenting the die varieties when they came to 1826 N-2 or they write "unknown." No one should forget the excitement that was generated in November 2011 when Tom Deck discovered after 130 years of doubt, the 1881 Andrews' described but long lost 1825 N-5. The N-5 had undergone similar "unknown" treatment. Frank D. Andrews was known to have a photographic memory as well as an avid interest in penning geology, genealogy, numismatics and philatelic among other efforts. He even built a museum to exhibit collections and was a Trustee of the Vineland, New Jersey Historical and Antiquarian Society. Andrews was known to have fashioned handmade envelopes to hold his Large Cents. He became very astute at these endeavors seeking sanity and refuge after having sadly lost his wife. Most importantly he lived in the Matron Head era, whereby these majestic coins were in and out of his hands as circulation pieces. The odds are high that if he recorded the "S" varieties of 1826 N-2, it was so! I digress. I cite two Mint State 1826 N-6 examples with e reverse (vertical line left of the 1st A in America) not the b reverse Andrews' N-2 would have had. The first one has their 2nd S's bottom leg farthest left flat almost perfectly parallel to the preceding 2nd E's bottom leg farthest right flat. In other words, the second S is rotated slightly left. Both Ts in STATES have their left arms broken and tilted. The large cent was in the Heritage Auction of 1/04, 1826 N-6 MS63 Brown NGC #394932-008 Lot 5052. This coin's reverse can be viewed at www.ngccoins.com web site by typing in the serial # and clicking verify. The picture is a little dark naturally so I recommend a better view by clicking at the top of the NGC home page the NGC Regestry tab, Cents, Large Cents, 1816 - 1839, Complete by Newcomb Varieties, Dynasty Collectors' Cabinet, then click the view coin link for the N-6 1826 and click the picture to enlarge it. The second one I wish to cite has their 2nd S's bottom leg farthest left flat angled clockwise, like a helix from bottom left to top right away from the preceding 2nd E's bottom leg farthest right flat. In other words, the second S is rotated right. Both Ts in STATES have their left arms attached and level with the top of the letter. This coin's reverse can be viewed by going to the www.pcgs.com web site and typing in its serial number 13094617 and click Verify. Then click on its picture to enlarge it. I will also post here the set of reverses that depict the two different 1826 N-6 "S"&"T" differences. Having worked in a factory that used die stampings (not of horse or steam power though), I do not believe the dies could have flexed to cause these different features. The differences do not emanate from any planchet difference. The differences are not an early vs. late die state difference since there are no fusing of dentils or die cracks in either coin type cited. The term "Normal Date" is not applicable since it characterizes a marked difference in one or more numerals "not letters like S or T of the same year. Since the second S rotation was happening at the same time the left T arms were broken and tilted the question then becomes at what point does Andrews or anyone have a new N# in their hands?