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Cogan, Edward David (1803-1884), In 1866 he resided at 299 State Street, Brooklyn, New York; 408 State Street, Brooklyn, Kings County, New York; 68 William Street, Brooklyn, New York, later moved to 95 William Street, Brooklyn.

He was born on January 5, 1803 at Walthamstow, Essex County, England, son of Eliezer Cogan (1762-1855) and Mary Atchison (1769-1850). In 1851, he and his wife Louisa (1818-), and their five sons Richard, Thomas, Edwin, William and Charles and daughter Mary Louisa lived in Kent. According to the Passenger List aboard the Tuscarora that departed from Liverpool, England, Edward Cogan and Louisa Cogan together with their six children : Mary Louisa Cogan, Richard Cogan, Edward, Jr. Cogan, William Cogan, Thomas Cogan and Charles Cogan arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 26, 1853. His occupation in England was an accountant. In 1853, they moved from England to Camden, New Jersey, when Charles was an infant. About that same year at Philadelphia he opened a curio shop as a dealer in fine art and books. According to his obituary in The Coin Collector’s Journal, May, 1884, he began in the coin trade in 1855 at his shop at 48 North 10th Street, Philadelphia, which is most probably an exaggeration. As the legendary story goes a man by the name of Ryan, probably identical with Charles Ryan, visited Edward Cogan, a dealer in art works and books in Philadelphia, and while there sold him an electrotype of an old colonial Washington Cent of 1792 for twenty-five cents. "Ryan had told Cogan that a cent with the date 1815 would be worth at least five dollars and that there was a growing demand for United States cents.” [1] The 1815 Cent Mr. Ryan had purportedly told Cogan about, was a myth since none were issued by the U. S. Mint. It was probably jewelers like William Idler of Philadelphia who re-engraved these 1813 cents and sold them, perhaps, as authentic original minted cents to collectors who wanted them and were willing to pay a premium to fill in the gap in their complete sets. The very fact that Cogan necessitated being informed about the coin market evidences the fact he had no prior involvement or knowledge. Seeing another market niche in which to expand his business Cogan was a very apt student and quickly learned much about American numismatics probably from Joseph Jacob Mickley (1799-1878), a learned man with an advanced knowledge in this field and the twenty-six year old named Ebenezer Locke Mason, Jr. (1826-1901), an aspiring coin dealer, who was nearly half Cogan's age at the time. Over the next four or five years Cogan slowly became a full-time coin dealer especially after the impetus of his well-published coin auction held on November 1, 1858, which was a "private sale", i.e., a mail bid or as Attinelli put it, "Bidding by letter", exclusively bidding by sending in bids by U. S. mail. He issued a copper store card in 1859 and another in 1860, which most probably marks the year he became a "full-time dealer," which at this time really meant specialist since coins were never exclusive in the trade until many many years later. Reading the legends on the Cogan tokens confirms this since items other than coins were his wares including books and engravings or art prints.

Five years after his American arrival Cogan had six sons and a daughter : Mary Louisa (1844-), Richard (1845-), Edwin (1848-), William (1850-), Thomas (1851-), Charles (1853-), and George (1858-), with George being the only one born in America.

Fig. 2 Unused Ed Cogan issued Civil War Patriotic Envelope Weiss ST-512 “The Arms of the Keystone State” " - LIBERTY, INDEPENDENCE, VIRTUE. Available for purchase in The Coin Shop on this website. Just click on the link on the left top.

Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, Ed Cogan Civil War Envelopes.

He moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1865. The 1863 IRS Tax Assessment shows his annual income at $152.00. In 1864 IRS Tax Assessment $655.00 annual income. The 1866 IRS Tax Assessment shows his annual income at $1,165.43. Mason published a notice in his first issue regarding the change of address of Cogan the Coin Dealer, formerly of 48 North Tenth Street having moved to 101 William Street, New York. After reading Parrish's article in the American Journal of Numismatics Cogan replied to Mason's inquiry in his Mason's Coin and Stamp Collectors' Magazine that the oldest known record of a public coin auction is dated to June 1828, and from that date nearly two-hundred coin sales have taken place. He ran his first paid ad in Mason’s Magazine in the June 1867 issue. However, previous to that he advertised in theAmerican Journal of Numismatics in 1866. Edward Cogan, Jr applied for Petition of Naturalization in Court of Brooklyn, Vol. 46, No. 63, and had the New York Lawyer and numismatist Benjamin Betts as his witness. On October 16, 1868, Edward Cogan became a Naturalized Citizen of the United States, Supreme Court of New York, Vol. 4, No. 457, witness by Peter Gilroy 614 Third Avenue, New York. It was when Cogan became a Naturalized Citizen of the United States he also became cantankerous.

Fig. 1 Ed Cogan printed and sold various patriotic envelopes during the Civil War. Unused Cogan issue Civil War Patriotic Envelope with portrait of George Washington writing in war tent. Caption : "This is he who was raised up to be not the head of a party, but the father of his country." Black imprint on white Lady's cover (Weiss FP-GW-72) Available for purchase in The Coin Shop on this website. Just click on the link on the left top.

Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, Ed Cogan Civil War Envelopes.

Fig. 4 Ed Cogan writing to the Chapman Brothers postmark September 23, 1878, Brooklyn, New York, 3 P.M. with Scott #136-A46 Green 3c issued March 1870 canceled with Maltese Cross killer. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

Note Lot 822 "California Charm" of 1872, Cogan remarks in his April 12-13, 1877 coin auction catalogue that it is the first he has ever seen.

Proskey will include this in his list published March 1884 in the Coin Collector's Journal.

Fig. 3 Ed Cogan auction circular printed December 7, 1863 for the J. P. W. Neff sale scheduled January 12-14, 1864. sent to W. E. Woodward. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, Ed Cogan. Circular folded as self envelope franked with Black Jack, Scott #73-A32, Postmarked December 8, 1863, Octagonal cancel Clarke No. 101d.

Fig. 7 Weiss CPD-10a, “Death to Traitors” Black (Weiss page 420) Available for purchase in The Coin Shop on this website. Just click on the link on the left top.

Courtesy, Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, Edward David Cogan Collection.

[015]Weiss C-P-D-10b “Death to Traitors” Hand-colored (Weiss page 420)

[016]Weiss C-P-D-11 “Death to Traitors” Black. 4 Lines Name & Address (Weiss page 420)

[017] Weiss E-L-77 Eagle perched on Shield and Flags above U. S. A. (Weiss page 460)

Fig. 6 Ed Cogan business stationery in the 1870's. Above, letter sent to coin dealer John W. Kline at his shop in Philadelphia from 1868 to 1876. Envelope franked with Scott #136-A46 Green 3c issued March 1870. On the back Philadelphia received marking Clarke No. R-12 (4/27/1873 - 9/9/1882). Mailed between 1873 to 1876. Available for purchase in The Coin Shop on this website. Just click on the link on the left top.

Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, Ed Cogan.

Cogan was a donor, in 1878, to the ANS library.

He retired on October 14, 1879 leaving the business to his sons George and Richard. According to the 1880 US Census he retired from the fur business.

At the time of his death April 17, 1884 the obituary in The Coin Collector’s Journal, May, 1884, mistakenly claimed “He was among the first to hold auction sales of coins in America, and it is stated on good authority that his catalogues, which unfortunately were unnumbered, are even yet greater in number than those of any other dealer.” Cogan has 70 coin auctions attributed to him over a span of 21 years from 1858 to 1879, whereas, John W. Haseltine, from 1870 up to April 1884 had 78 sales. To his historical interest for Civil War collectors Cogan published and sold at least 40 different Civil War covers. There are several different ones in the Lupia Numismatic Library, only four of which are used to illustrate this article.

Coin Auctions : (70)

01. November 1, 1858

02. March 7-15, 1859

03. May 21, 1859

04. October 28, 1859



07. June 18, 1860, 16 p. Alfred B. Taylor, Thomas D. Watson


09. 1861 De Haven Collection.

10. March 25-26, 1862

11. April 7-8, 1863

12. September 15-17, 1863

13. January 12-14, 1864 (see circular photo illustration, above)

14. June 29-30, 1864

15. June 29, 1865

16. October 16-20, 1865

17. May 2, 1866

18. December 6-7, 1866

19. April 24-26, 1867

20. June 23-24, 1869. Mortimer MacKenzie, first known plated coin auction catalogue

21. September 27-28, 1869

22. December 17-18, 1869

23. April 22, 1870

24. May 25-27, 1870

25. January 16, 1871

26. February 27-March 3, 1871

27. April 3-5, 1871

28. May 3-4, 1871

29. June 1-2, 1871

30. October 5-6, 1871

31. November 13, 1871

32. May 7-8, 1872

33. November 11, 1872

34. May 19-21, 1873

35. June 9-11, 1873

36. November 20-21, 1873

37. May 5-8, 1874

38. September 24, 1874

39. November 27, 1874

40. December 16, 1874

41. March 1-2, 1875

42. May 7, 1875

43. June 30, 1875

44. October 25-29, 1875

45. January 24-28, 1876

46. April 17-18, 1876

47. June 29-30, 1876

48. October 30-November 1, 1876

49. December 18-19, 1876

50. February 1-2, 1877

51. April 12-13, 1877

52. May 17-18, 1877

53. June 28-29, 1877

54. September 17-18, 1877

55. November 7-9, 1877

56. November 30 - December 1, 1877

57. December 20-21, 1877

58. January 23-24, 1878

59. February 27-28, 1878

60. May 6-9, 1878

61. June 27-28, 1878

62. September 16-20, 1878

63. October 22-25, 1878

64. December 16-18, 1878

65. February 28, 1879

66. May 1-2, 1879

67. May 29, 1879

68. June 20, 1879

69. September 2-3, 1879

70. December 1-3, 1879, Theodore Riley, 1318 lots.


Cogan published, Table of Gold, Silver and Copper Coins. Not Issued by the United States Mint. (New York, 1871).

Civil War Covers :

[001] Weiss FP-GW-1 Not listed as Cogan. Smallest known design. Black print of Washington portrait.

[002] Weiss FP-GW-1 (variant 1)

[003] Weiss FP-GW-1 (variant 2)

[004] Weiss FP-GW-71 “Remember 76” (Weiss page 34)

[005] Weiss FP-GW-72 Washington writing in war tent. (pages 34-5) see photo illustration above in Fig. 1

[006] Weiss SC-NW-2 Beauregard Killed. Fort Sumpter (Weiss page 240)

[007] Weiss ST-512 “The Arms of the Keystone State”

[008] Weiss C-SH-3 “Uncle Sam after privateers”

[009] Weiss C-SH-3 (variant) “Uncle Sam after privateers”

[010] Weiss C-P-A-17 Caricature (Weiss page 412)

[011] Weiss C-P-A-22 “A Southern Privateer. A Northern Private-Ear” (Weiss page 414)

[012]Weiss C-P-C-18 “”Coming Events Cast Their Shadow Before”

[013]Weiss C-P-D-10 “Death to Traitors” Blue (Weiss page 420)

[014]Weiss C-P-D-10a “Death to Traitors” Black (Weiss page 420)

Fig. 5 Ed Cogan postal card sent to the Chapman Brothers on October 28, 1878. The Chapmans were taking bids as agents for their former employer John W. Haseltine's auction of October 30th, 1878. Apparently a dispute over a bid on one of the lots. "In reply to your favor of yesterdays date I beg to say I had no bidding for any thing like $20 for the piece you refer to. Yours faithfully, Edward Cogan."


A few preliminary words are in order to establish a context so the reader may appreciate the Cogan/Mason Feud particularly regarding the personalities of these two stars of the late 1850's on as the two greats and competitors bumping horns. Ed Cogan was the W.C. Fields of the Art Gallery business. He was a highly amusing character and his friends loved his amusing and entertaining style. He was a real card and loved to ham it up when in the spotlight. Ebenezer Locke Mason, Jr., was a professional entertainer, and agent, who could throw his voice, sing, dance, play the piano, and do magic tricks. Charles Steigerwalt said in his obituary : "Mason's business was more of a vaudeville character. . . " The two men Cogan and Mason loved to be the center of attention. Each had a coin business in competition as were their personalities.

There was controversy regarding the Randall catalog initiated by Ed Cogan, who did not get to catalogue Joseph Colvin Randall’s second sale and might have felt that Ebenezer Locke Mason Jr. was muscling in on his turf taking away his client. Keep in mind the pre-existing rivalry putting this in context. These three men were all coin dealers. Apparently Cogan was furious that Mason was the one that Randall chose to deal with over him. In a rageful effort to prove to Randall and the entire collecting world his biased allegations that Mason was an inferior numismatist, inept cataloger, corrupt, money-hungry, dishonest coin dealer, Cogan began to publicly castigate and criticize him verbalizing these very allegations and false accusations either directly or by way of innuendo. Cogan, who previously had conducted nineteen coin auction sales, had not had a coin auction sale since April 24-26, 1867. This left him in a lurch having gone seventeen months without any coin auction, when Mason held Randall’s sale that October. But, he had experienced the longest dry spell since the Civil War that lasted two years and two months. Cogan had experienced a great success as a coin auction cataloger and manager of coin sales beginning in 1858. Prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, he had eight coin auctions that were only from one to five months apart. During the Civil War he experienced a dry spell from 1861 to 1863 and had only three coin sales with only one held annually. From 1863 to 1867 he had an additional dry spell between June of 1864 and June 1865 with only two sales that were one year apart. From 1866 to 1867 the first sale was six months apart from the second sale and the last two were four months apart. He must have thought he was on a roll and expected another sale sometime about August 1867, but no such sale came his way. The year 1867 was a good one for auctions. Bangs & Company had 66 auctions, nine of which were coins. Of the thirty coin auctions held in 1867 Cogan only had one. Eighteen of these thirty sales took place after his sale of Joseph Zanoni and Henry Bogert on April 24-26, 1867. He missed out, for example, on cataloging the Louis Brechemin sale on June 5, 1867 held at Davis & Harvey; the J. K. Curtis sale on June 27, 1867, at Bangs; the S. Chadbourne sale held at Samuel Hatch; the Merritt and Mauterstock sale held on September 30, 1867 at Bangs; another held on October 15, 1867 at Thomas Birch & Son; that of A. S. Robinson, and Joseph J. Mickley both in October, the first on the 22nd and the second on the 28th in 1867, both cataloged by W. E. Woodward and held at Leavitt, Strebeigh & Co; and that of Louis Borg on November 12, 1867 at Henry H. Leeds & Miner.

Cogan saw the world passing him by and he was furious and envious. Stir crazy and negatively motivated Ed Cogan was on a rampage and Ebenezer was his victim. But, Ebenezer was not a random target but one that was established much earlier in June and July of that year. Three months earlier Mason describes Cogan during the auction in his notice of the Nippes Sale that closed July 2nd 1868 during 90-degree weather.

“We think any party, either as principal or agent, who offers coins at public vendue in midsummer is a fit subject for a strait jacket, and ought to be deprived of his liberty, or at least the liberty to sacrifice another person’s property, in the sweltering, suffocating, perspiration engendering dog days. It was rather amusing to see the numismatic heroes strip off their coats and collars, sleeves rolled up, fanning their greasy faces with all the energy of a steam blower. There sat our good big fat friend Cogan, in front of the auctioneer, bidding, sweating, sweltering and suffering for the benefit of the absent bidders, and that little 10 per cent. Friend Cogan was not the only sufferer and wet shirted philosopher. The writer, who turns 215 lbs. avoirdupois, was wringing wet with the huge drops of perspiration, which rolled down cheeks, neck, arms, and legs, until we felt like a man overboard in his best clothes.”

The two coin dealers were competitive and brewing tensions grew from a falling out between them sometime between June and July 1868. Cogan failed to respond to Mason’s inquiries requesting to buy certain coins in June and July. In response to Cogan’s silence he writes : “Hardly fair not to sell to us, when we are willing to pay as much as the other customers. You have coins for sale, and we want them for cash. Why are our letters unanswered? When any other party writes for coins, a prompt answer is returned. Is this right?” (see Mason July 1868, page 41d). Cogan, apparently, instigated the falling out between them evidenced by Ebenezer’s reply in his own magazine. This occurred just three month’s prior to the Randall sale and may give us an open window to the events that lead up to it, namely, the two coin dealer’s negotiating with Randall, and Cogan failing to convince him to have him catalog and manage the sale. Cogan’s snubbing Ebenezer was not a mere tempest in a teapot. This animosity, apparently continued to grow, blister and fester and foment into open war. The famous, or rather, infamous feud between Mason and Cogan resulted in a series of nasty accusatory statements and rebuttals or rejoinders published in the American Journal of Numismatics and finally with Cogan publishing his vituperative "poison pen" private circular regarding the Randall sale.

Cogan never verbalized having been stung by his being described as a “good big fat friend,” but he did show resentment about the comment “, and that little 10 per cent” which he brings up in his later letters. His first was the letter written for the November issue of the American Journal of Numismatics, in which he was supposed to give a rounded, well-balanced, and full description of the Randall sale. Instead, picked hairs at grading and implied that in the Randall sale an attempt had been made for unconscionable profiteering, causes which he claimed prohibited his being able to buy much for himself or fill orders for his customers, thereby creating a cloud and causing doubt regarding the integrity of Ebenezer as a coin dealer.

Cogan begins by saying : “the Sale of Coins held in Philadelphia, on the 28th and 29th of last month, said to be the property of Colvin Randall, Esq. By characterizing it this way he insinuated that the coins in that sale were not necessarily those of Joseph Colvin Randall. Thus begins what develops later on in his report that two colonial pieces Cogan wanted to buy were owned by another party who put them in at the last minute and requested the bidding start at $100 per specimen. The dispute arose over the condition of a colonial coin known as the Inimica Tyrannis, which Ebenezer describes as having an eagle with a slight abrasion or scratch on its head as the device on the obverse, we suppose, but no such specimen is known in the survey of American numismatic literature. No one has ever called attention to this fact before, and it seems that Ebenezer mixed up the Immunis Columbia with the Large Heraldic Eagle reverse in conflating them in his memory when writing his retort to Cogan’s initial report.

The first coin reported by Cogan is the 1794 Dollar which sold for $42. He reported that, “this piece was not up to the description.” This was Cogan’s introduction to criticizing not only the descriptions given of the coins conditions in Ebenezer’s catalog, as well as to their being genuine pieces. The reader of the American Numismatic Journal is given a negative report that set the tone for what follows. It should be understood, however, that 1794 Dollars are rare. Jules Reiver writing on them in 1999 reported that only about 25 to 50 were known to be extent. Perhaps, Cogan’s criticism was not so much the condition of the 1794 Dollar, but the subtle innuendo that it was an altered date. Cogan then cites three early dimes that realized low prices attributing this to their being “much over-described”. He then gives a sour report on the Cents saying they, “were ridiculously over-described”. One of these Cents Cogan voiced at auction was not genuine. So when he uses the phrase that they “were ridiculously over-described” he means they were fakes, as he did at the outset regarding his critique and innuendo regarding the 1794 Dollar. His criticism of the conditions of the coins were not always implications of fakes but sometimes his opinion that they were circulated more than what was suggested by the description given by Ebenezer in the catalog. This could very well be a legitimate complaint of one coin dealer’s view as opposed to another. This sort of criticism is not unique to the Randall sale and has been ongoing in numismatics throughout its history.

In Cogan’s second letter to the American Journal of Numismatics, he replies to Ebenezer’s letter of response to his initial report. Cogan writes : “In consequence of this insinuation I feel myself compelled to enter into a much more detailed account of the cause of my being so thoroughly dissatisfied with the worthy Editor and his "Aiders, and Abettors'; and, if I say too much for Mr. M.'s weak nerves, I can only urge, in the language of a now popular play, that if you are "rough, you puts our back up, and when you puts our back up we shows our teeth, and when we shows our teeth we bites". “Cogan’s opening seems to paraphrase a fictional character by Charles Dickens in one of his works satirically portraying America published in London in 1843, regarding Major Hannibal Chollop, a character in The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. “Our backs is easy ris. We must be cracked-up, or they rises, and we snarls. We shows our teeth, I tell you, fierce. You had better crack us up, you had!” The line given by Cogan, he purports, is a quote of a line from, " The Lancashire Lass; or, Tempted, Tried and True: a Domestic Melodrama, in a Prologue and Four Acts,” by Henry James Byron, a play, that opened at Wallack's on October 26, 1868. The theatre was owned by the English actor, James William Wallack (1816-1873), who built it in 1861, on the corner of Broadway and 13th Street, New York City, New York. In that New York production, J. W. Wallack played the role “A Party by the Name of Johnson.” This fictional character is the one Cogan alludes to as the purported buyer of the 1792 half-disme in the Randall sale. However, Cogan claim’s he is quoting the play is not entirely true. In Act 1, Scene 2, the vengeful, scheming, plotting, blackmailer character “A Party by the Name of Johnson” was about to be thrown out of the house of Gregory Danville, and says to him, “We don’t want to be turned out; ’cos when we gets turned out we gets our back up, and when we gets our back up, we shews our teeth.” [2] As we can see Cogan has rewritten Byron’s play creating a new context with a new whitewashed character who is now an innocent victim righteously fighting back delivering the newly edited line : rough, you puts our back up, and when you puts our back up we shows our teeth, and when we shows our teeth we bites". One wonders if Cogan’s citing the line, paraphrased or not, of the vengeful, scheming, plotting, blackmailer character “A Party by the Name of Johnson” is not a Freudian slip. He like “A Party by the Name of Johnson” was indeed ruthlessly seeking revenge, a vendetta, for a personal perception of harm done to him. What was this perceived harm Ebenezer was supposed to have done to Cogan in his first reply letter? Ebenezer disclosed that they had exchanged confidential correspondence prior to the sale.

“and now for something he said after the sale, which was, in my opinion, improper, and which I objected to on the part of the collectors. It was that in his next sale he intended to introduce a new rule: that, when a coin is bid up to a dollar, if anybody makes another bidding it shall not be less than twenty-five cents. If, however, he should make the attempt, I think he will very quickly find his course checked by the auctioneer; or, by the collectors not attending the sale, and the evil will very soon cure itself.”

The following is the first article that first appeared written by Ed Cogan :




6th November, 1868.


I promised to you an account, in the JOURNAL, of the Sale of Coins held in Philadelphia, on the 28th and 29th of last month, said to be the property of Colvin Randall, Esq. I proceed therefore to give you the prices of the pieces of most interest. 1794 Dollar brought $42; this piece was not up to the description. 1851, Fine Proof, $45; 1852, $41; another 1852 Dollar, not Proof, brought $23; 1858 Dollar, $11. In the Half-Dollars, the finest piece was the 1852, which brought, $4. The Quarters presented no feature worthy of remark beyond the fact of five or six of them being described as Proofs, without stating that they were considerably injured by circulation. The Dime of 1796 brought $2.12; 1798, $3.75; and 1800, $3.25; these were much over-described, as you may suppose from the above prices. In the Half-Dimes, the only two worthy of any mention are the 1795 and the 1846; the first of these was an unusually fine one, and brought $12; the latter, also remarkably fine, for this date, brought $2.75. In regard to the Cents, I regret to say that many of them were ridiculously over-described-in the earlier dates especially. The 1793 Cents, for instance, were sold at the following prices: Lot 374, $6; 375, $1.25; 376, $2.70; 377, $2. No. 378, described as a really beautiful Coin - uncirculated - brought the high price of $9.75. For this, you may readily imagine, I had a pretty tall bidding, but could not think of even offering for it, excepting for my lowest bid, which was $10.10; and I did not even offer anything like the price at which it was knocked down. This piece was very much rubbed, and upon my objecting to its description, I was coolly told that it was uncirculated for a 1793 Cent. 379, $5,50; 380, $3; 381, $1; 381-1/2, $1.12; 396,1797 Cent, $6. The 1799 Cents were over-described; the first lot, 400, brought $7; 401, $15.50; 402, $7; 406, $4; 410, $4.75; 412, $5.50; 413, $3.87; 417, $6; 429, $3.25; 430, $2.75. In the Half-Cents, the only pieces worth mentioning are 517, $3.50; 519, $3.50; 521, $2.62; and 548, $7. This last was an 1841 Half-Cent, and the very reverse of its description. The Pattern-pieces, which fortunately left but little chance for any errors in their description, were the chief objects in the Sale, and brought, in some few cases, very high prices:

Lot 570, Mule Nickel Cent of 1858, $5.25

575, Copper Dollar, 1866, 6.50

577,1838, Proof Dollar, 35.00

578,1839," " 30.00

Another, not in the Catalogue, circulated, 20.00

582, Copper Half-Dollar, 4.00

583, Half-Disme, not the finest ever

offered at Auction by a good many, 24.00

Lot 584, Five-Cent piece in Nickel, $16.00

585, Another variety, 17.00

586, " " 21.00

587, " " 4.00

588, "in Copper, 6.00

589, Three-Cent piece in Copper, 3.50

In the Colonials, the prices of the pieces of most apparent interest that were sold, were 609, Chalmers Shilling, $6; Three-pence, $5; Kentucky Cent, thick die, $5; Massachusetts Half-Cents of 1787 and 1788, $8 each. In the Washington pieces and the Medals, the following are the only pieces worth noticing:

Lot 639, Washington Funeral Medal, $6.00 I Lot 656, Johnson Medal, $17. 50 I Lot 673, Alex. Hamilton, - $12.00

The two first Coins in the Colonial Series, Lots 601 and 601-1/2, the "Non Dependens Status" and" Immunis Columbia", we were told, were put in by another party (and one well-known to collectors) and that they would not be offered unless they were started at One Hundred Dollars each! ! ! I offered to make an offer on the "Non Dependens Status ", on condition of the party having the option of returning it if he did not approve of the manner in which the piece had been represented in the Catalogue. This proposition was rejected by the parties who got up the Sale, as we were told it did not belong to them; but upon the remark being made that they were beautiful pieces, and perfectly uncirculated, I denied that this observation was correct in regard to the first one, when I was told that it was, uncirculated for so rare a Coin, by a party in whose judgment I had placed more confidence than to suppose he would think it necessary to make anything so like an apology for a piece being misrepresented. The pieces were allowed to be withdrawn. The Immunis Columbia was a beautiful specimen, but the idea of putting $100 upon the common type of this series, was simply ridiculous. I had between sixteen and eighteen hundred dollars worth of orders; but from the manner in which the greatest portion of those I was instructed to bid upon were described, I was not able to bid upon them, and purchased only to the extent of four hundred dollars.

Yours faithfully,

To Dr. Chas. E. Anthon. EDWARD COGAN.

We do find Ebenezer praise Cogan in the December 1868 issue saying he has a jovial good nature.



PHILADELPHIA, Nov, 30th, 1868.

PROF. CHAS. E. ANTHON, Editor Am. Journal of Numismatics, New York.

DEAR SIR :-Our attention has been called to a communication in the November number of your journal, entitled, "THE RANDALL SALE IN PHIL:'," over the signature of Edward Cogan.

As this article rather injuriously reflects upon us as Managers of said coin sale, we ask the privilege of making a few corrections upon statements, which have been doubtless, hurriedly and unwillingly penned by our old, and honored friend, Mr. Cogan. That Mr. C. was dissatisfied with the catalogue of the Randall sale, we have the most positive evidence, from his own hand, in a private letter written us before the sale; and we also know, very positively, that his dissatisfaction was not caused entirely by the" over-description" of the coins in the late sale, but arose from another and most important cause, which, although written us in a confidential communication-and we have Mr. Cogan's permission "to make full use of the idea"-we do not think proper, at present to make known; but, suffice it to say, that the reasons given by Mr. C. to us, why he did not purchase the full amount of his orders, were certainly good ones-not connected with the condition of the coins-and would have offended any honorable business man.

Mr. Cogan, in complaining of the description of the coins in the Randall catalogue, is very vague and indefinite. He tells us the “1794 Dollar was not up to the description", but neglects to point out the discrepancy. In describing the rare dollars, how softly, and smoothly-and, we might say, swiftly-he glides over, and omits the fact that the 1838, '39, '51, '52, and' 58 dollars were beautiful, brilliant proofs, without a blemish on their glistening and glittering faces. So, too, in dealing with the half-dollars, he says," the finest piece was the 1852", and this half-dollar was only catalogued" very fine", while there were at least a dozen unblemished, brilliant proof half-dollars in the series. Some of the latter pieces came out of proof sets purchased at N. Y. sales, and were remarkably beautiful. Again, Mr. C., in speaking of the quarter-dolls., is very meagre and unsatisfactory. He leaves the reader to infer that there were no silver quarters that could strictly be termed" proofs", while, on the contrary, there were a dozen brilliant, untarnished proof quarter-dollars. He also quotes, as an example (we presume) of "the ridiculously low" prices the 1793 cents realised, the following: "No, 375, $1.25". He does not tell the reader that the number quoted reads as follows: "375,1793 cent, Ameri, Poor, Very Rare". In the name of numismatic wisdom, is that coin over-described? We would take a bushel of the poorest of the poor Ameri's at the price realised at the sale. Neither did your correspondent, in giving the figures the 1799 cents reached, have the courage to say that somebody depreciated the value by expressing to buyers, before the sale, a doubt of the genuineness of the pieces.

We do not wish to take too much of your space by following Mr. C.'s remarks categorically, and will say, before turning a period, that there is a slight mistake in the following line italicised by him; "it was uncirculated for so rare a coin", which we find near the close of our worthy friend's letter. What we said when speaking of the "INIMICA TYRANNIS* “ (which was really and truly a sharp and very fine coin, but had the slightest, just the slightest, infinitesimal part of a hair - say horse hair - of a touch on the most prominent part, head of eagle), was this, "that it had been customary with all persons cataloging collections to omit the mention (on coins very nearly unique) of a spot so indistinct that a microscope would scarcely make the defect observable, and such excessively rare coins, in this condition, were usually described as uncirculated". This remark, or the substance of it, was addressed aloud to all present at the sale, and if Mr. Cogan recalls the subject he may readily see the error, which he has unintentionally committed. The Half Disme of 1792 was catalogued as follows; "Believed to be the finest offered at public sale". Mr. Cogan says, “Not the finest ever offered at auction by a good many", and yet he must put down the truth-telling figures, "Twenty-four dollars" as the price it realised! We think Mr. Cogan would be somewhat puzzled to find a "good many" Half Dismes, if all the auction sales of coins that have occurred in the U. S. were collected, and as to finding many of this excessively rare coin, in as fine condition, or one that realised as much money as the one in Randall's sale, the idea seems rather preposterous, we may be mistaken, however.

Yours Resp'y, MASON & Co.,

No. 50 North 10th St.

* In Mr. Cogan's account of the sale, he terms this coin, the “NON DEPENDENS STATUS”, rather conclusive evidence that his communication was hurriedly penned.

299 STATE ST., BROOKLYN, N. Y., 8th Dec., 1868.


My DEAR SIR :-In Mason & Co.'s Coin Magazine for this month, I find an article addressed to you, commenting upon my letter giving an account of the Sale of Mr. Randall's Coins, held in Philadelphia on the 28th and 29th of October last, and intended for insertion in the present number of the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF NUMISMATICS. I am sorry to be obliged to ask as a favor, that if possible, you will allow this reply to be inserted in the same number, and regret that I shall not be able to make the communication as brief as I could wish, but trust, that after reading it, you will find sufficient justification for my being allowed a larger space than in ordinary cases would be agreeable.

Mr. Mason has thought himself warranted in saying that, from a private letter of mine, he has positive evidence that my motive, in giving the account of this sale, was not entirely to notice that the Coins were over-described, but arose from another and most important cause-that I had given GOOD reasons for not doing something, and yet says, that these reasons would have offended any honorable man of business. The passage, at its conclusion, is worded so curiously that I will be flogged if I understand it.

In consequence of this insinuation I feel myself compelled to enter into a much more detailed account of the cause of my being so thoroughly dissatisfied with the worthy Editor and his "Aiders, and Abettors'; and, if I say too much for Mr. M.'s weak nerves, I can only urge, in the language of a now popular play, that if you are "rough, you puts our back up, and when you puts our back up we shows our teeth, and when we shows our teeth we bites".

I shall now be obliged to state, from memory, the substance of what I wrote to Mr. Mason before and after the sale. In my first letter, I believe, I expressed my regret for, or dislike of, the high-flown terms he had used in describing some of the Coins, such as ‘Gems,’ ‘Gem of the first water,’ ‘Gem of gems,’ ‘Brilliant,’ ‘Very fine,’ ‘Magnificent,’ ‘Another gem,’ &c., &c., and which created a doubt in the minds of several collectors, about the pieces generally being correctly described. I also asked Mr. Mason whether I should be allowed the same privilege, which had hitherto been always extended to me, by not only the owners of the property, but also by the auctioneers – that of taking away the Coins I purchased and sending the money as soon as received – holding myself, of course, responsible for all I bought. The reply to this request was, that Mr. Randall had determined that he would send all my purchases on to my address for cash delivery, at my expense, that Mr. R. had paid cash for the Coins, and that they were to be sold at any sacrifice. Mr. Mason knows best whether this was done or not. In the letter, to which the worthy Editor refers, I stated that Mr. Randall’s determination had placed me in rather an awkward position, as my orders were very large, and I did not exactly see my way to pay for all Coins I might have to purchase; and I added that it was possible he might, by this course, have thrown me overboard as a buyer for my own stock. I also confessed that I felt hurt at the course his friend had thought proper to take, as it implied a want of confidence in me, which, I must say, I thought Mr. Mason could himself have removed. The letter in reply intimated that the refusal alluded to was the secret cause of my dissatisfaction, by stating in unmistakable words, that ‘endeavor to conceal it as you might, it was curious to see how the truth would bubble to the surface.’ I replied immediately, assuring him, on the unsullied honor of a man, that I was not influenced by this consideration, and I expressed my surprise that he should have attributed dishonorable motives to me; and yet, after he had received this letter, he allowed the offensive paragraph, to which I have referred, to appear in his letter to you. Mr. Mason labors, I think, under some delusion, when he says I did not buy to the full extent of my orders, because – with the exception of those pieces that were, in my opinion, unsatisfactorily described, and some few that went over my limits – I bought every Coin I wanted, and could have paid for double the quantity without any difficulty.

The reasons for my being more than dissatisfied with all who had the management of this sale are the following; and I think, my dear Sir, that you and the collectors generally, will find them more than sufficient, without any necessity of my having resource to anything dishonorable to strengthen my position. In the first place, I considered that there was too much humbug in the whole affair. Some of the pieces had been put in – of which no notice had been given – and reserved at ridiculously high prices, by other parties who had been solicited to help the sale. I knew further that with the latter part of the catalogue Mr. Randall had no more to do than I had; and it was at least very generous of the former to father the whole lot. When I told Mr. R. that, if the best 1793 Cent had been properly described, I could in extremis, have given a very high price for it, he asked, how far it was from being uncirculated; and, when I told him a long way, he very coolly said: ‘Why it is uncirculated for a 1793 Cent.’ Again: – he came up to me and addressed me in the following words: ‘Mr. Cogan, there was never a collection of coins offered at public auction, so truth-fully represented as mine is,’ and added, as a convincing proof of the fact: ‘When a piece is pierced, I have said so.’ Very proper, I admit; and now for something he said after the sale, which was, in my opinion, improper, and which I objected to on the part of the collectors. It was that in his next sale he intended to introduce a new rule: that, when a coin is bid up to a dollar, if anybody makes another bidding it shall not be less than twenty-five cents. If, however, he should make the attempt, I think he will very quickly find his course checked by the auctioneer; or, by the collectors not attending the sale, and the evil will very soon cure itself. If any further proof is necessary to show that I had good reason to be dissatisfied with what had already transpired, it will be found in the additional fact, that when, upon calling upon Mr. Mason the day after the sale, I told him that I thought the sale would do him no good, he replied, ‘If you had called upon me before the sale, I could have told you all about it. I did all I could to prevent it, and protested against these descriptions; but was obliged to yield.’ Yield to what? Why, to the coins being over-described; and, when I again said it would hurt him, he exclaimed, with some earnestness: “You must not blame me, you must blame the other parties.’ Although, I believe, he would wish me now to blame him only, I think the fairest way is for his Aiders’ and Abettors to bear their share of it, and, therefore, I decline to do so. You will not wonder, after all I have reported, that I came away thoroughly disgusted at the manner in which the sale had been conducted.

And now let me call the attention of your readers to the objections that Mr. Mason has raised against my report of the sale. He begins by charging me with having written hurriedly. Granted; and here he has me on two points: first, in regard to the proof sets, which in this case were divided, and I never so much as gave them a thought. I believe all the collectors would know that I alluded to those that are seldom done in Proof condition. The “Inimica Tyrannis” I had called the “Non Dependens Status”; and now only think of the candor of the writer, in throwing in a third point; I had called the 1852 half-dollar only very fine, which I find was described in the catalogue as Brilliant, Very Fine, Magnificent. I thought in my letter I had said enough, and quite enough to satisfy Mr. Mason, about the coins being over-described. However, I was mistaken. I said the 1794 Dollar was not up to description; but this is not enough. What on earth does the good man want? It was described as ‘a Gem of the First Water.’ I deny it was anything of the kind. Mason knows I hate humbug (and I wish he would put his foot down upon it), and, therefore, he could not expect me to be so definite as to say of it, in his own language, that “it had a slight, the slightest infinitesimal part of a hair of a touch on it.” This, I must say, appears to me vague enough – if not silly enough – at all events. Again, he is almost angry with me for not praising his Proof dollars. Why, he writes about these Proofs, as if no one but himself had ever seen or heard of such things before, and, as if they had never been offered in any auction sale! However, to mollify his anger, I say they were beautiful coins, “without a blemish on their glittering faces,” but no better than are often found at sales or in private hands. Touching the 1793 Cents, he would almost persuade the collectors that I thought they sold very low, knowing all the while that, if properly represented, they would have brought four times as much as they did; but he unfortunately pitches upon that poor miserable wretch, lot 375, Ameri. Cent, which he truthfully says was described as poor and very rare; and then, in a quiet rebuking manner, very innocently says: ‘In the name of Numismatic Wisdom, was that coin over-described?’ In the name of Numismatic common sense and truth, I say emphatically it was! It ought to have been called exceedingly or wretchedly poor; but the worthy Editor says he would be glad to buy a Bushel of the poorest of the poor Ameri Cents, at the price this apology for a cent brought, say $1.25. My dear Sir, you could not easily impose a more troublesome task upon me than that of endeavoring to squeeze out of him 62½ cents each for two of them, unless indeed he could persuade some novice that they were not poor for so old a coin. The next attack is about the 1799 Cents, which dwindles down, at the conclusion of the sentence, to the one piece. In regard to the courageous part of his re-marks, I think it is himself who has shown a want of courage, in not saying who it was that had depreciated the “One piece.” Does it refer to me? If so, why not speak out like a man? I confess I was asked my opinion about the first cent in the catalogue, and I pronounced it an altered piece. Was it to be expected that everyone who was dissatisfied with the description of the coin to hunt up Mr. Mason or his Aiders’ and ‘Abettors, and make his complaint to him or them? If so, there would have been some lively work. Why should they? The Editor has said in his Magazine that he had described the coins, and spoke KNOWINGLY about their descriptions, and that the collectors might depend upon them.

About the Half Disme I say that I have known several at auction at $30 to $40, and some quite as good as the one in this sale sold at lower prices. The truth-telling figures amount to very little, as many coins bring much higher figures than their condition warrants. Mr. Mason knows more about the figures in this case than I do, as all I know is, that it was not knocked down to “a party of the name of Johnson” but to himself. I can tell our friend that, not very long before I left Philadelphia, I was shown some by a gentleman who had ten, just as perfect as when they left the die. Very preposterous, is it not? And now the Tit Bit of the Lot: The ‘Inimica Tyrannis.’ Mr. Mason does not deny that he made use of the words, “It is uncirculated for so rare a Coin;” now, can this be wondered at, when he proves, if he proves anything, that it must have been so, as it requires a microscope – I should think a tolerably powerful one – to discover that it was not. As I did not happen to have a microscope to take with me to the Randall sale, I was obliged to make use of a pair of eyes that I have carried about with me for now nearly sixty-six years, and could, by their aid, discover instantly that it was rubbed too much for me to bid upon it. I was not allowed to bid on it conditionally, as the piece, I was told, did not belong to them. Now as the party, who put the piece in, was in the room (and even if he had borrowed it for the purpose of doing so), surely he had sufficient control over it to have given his sanction if he had been consulted. Had the piece been such as Mr. Mason has represented it to be – and which, without hesitation, I deny in toto – I certainly ought to have endeavored to purchase it for my friend, and thereby secured my little 10 per cent commission, as he termed it some time ago.

I will now leave this objection with one further remark, and it is this: that I am either no judge whatever of an uncirculated piece, or Mr. Mason has written the most contemptible, and, in some respects, unintelligible and withal untruthful twaddle, that ever was written, and he ought to have been ashamed to insert it in his Magazine.

A few words more, and I have done. I told friend Mason, in one of my letters, that the exposure to these errors in the representations of the coins would do a great deal more good than harm, and that bolstering them up (and I may now add sneering at those who find fault with them, as I find is done in the same number of his Magazine, under the title of “The Gem Coin Sale” – and a precious gem of the kind it is, possibly written by one of his “Aiders and ‘Abettors”) will do a great deal more harm than good. Unless Mr. Mason was compelled to yield to others in the insertion of this article, it looks very much as if it had his sympathy; if so, I am sorry for him. I earnestly advised that worthy Editor, as a friend, to take no notice of my remarks about the sale, or, if he did, to say mighty little, and reminded him of an old English proverb, more forcible than elegant. At all events the advice was well meant.

Finally, although in writing this communication I feel I cannot be entitled to the compliment of having written “Multum in parvo”, I hope that when your readers see the tone of the remarks made by Mr. Mason, I shall not be charged with having written “Parvum in multo”. I felt hurt and have written as I felt, and am willing to hope that it will not be altogether unproductive of some good results.

Yours, faithfully,


A privately printed and distributed letter that was a response to the criticism of Cogan that appeared in the November 1868 and December issues of the American Journal of Numismatics.

His letter on the results of Ebenezer Locke Mason’s first coin auction sale of October 28, 1868, featuring material from the collection of J. Colvin Randall, was sharply critical of the grading.

The controversy ripens in the December issue where letters from both Mason and Cogan are published and comes to the boiling point in this letter, written in response to a letter appearing in the January 1870 issue of Mason’s Coin & Stamp Collectors’ Magazine. Cogan begins: "In Mason & Co.’s Magazine for last month, I find a very gassy reply to a letter of mine, commenting upon the sale of Coins held in Philadelphia in October last. As I could not with propriety ask to be allowed to refer again to this subject, in our New-York Journal, I have taken this means of replying to it, to put myself right with the Collectors, by showing that I was perfectly justified in what I have said in regard to the misrepresentations of the Coins in the Randall Sale."

An extensive apologia/polemic ensues, followed by: "In conclusion I will state that I am not conscious of having said a single thing in what I have written that is not truthful and; notwithstanding all his wordy endeavors to bring me into contempt with the collectors, I hope I may safely say that it is not in the power of Mr. E. Mason, Jr., Editor of Mason & Co.’s Magazine, or a dozen men like him, under the circumstances as they have now been put before my friends, to succeed in doing so, and subscribe myself certainly not a ‘Notoriety-Seeking Coin-Dealer,’ but Very faithfully yours, Edward Cogan."

No. 299 STATE ST., BROOKLYN, N. Y., }

2d February, 1869.


In Mason & Co.’s Magazine for last month, I find a very gassy reply to a letter of mine, commenting upon the sale of Coins held in Philadelphia in October last. As I could not with propriety ask to be allowed to refer again to this subject, in our New-York Journal, I have taken this means of replying to it, to put myself right with the Collectors, by showing that I was perfectly justified in what I have said in regard to the misrepresentations of the Coins in the Randall Sale. If the Editor had taken my advice, and held his tongue about the remarks in my first letter, he would have taken a much wiser course than the one he has thought proper to adopt; and if he has been driven to this course by outside pressure, I am sorry for him; but he must not blame me for it.

In reply to this letter, I will first state: Mr. Mason, on the 11th of January, immediately on receipt of the Journal containing my observations, wrote me that he had read them with perfect good humor, but adds "that they were more forcible than courteous, and that some of them call loudly for rebuke." Again, on the 13th, he says he has sent off a brief reply to the Editor of the New-York Journal, and adds the following remark, which I have underlined: "And I have, I fully believe, treated yon with the greatest respect, and have no wish to offend you in any way." The Editor has his own Magazine in which to vent his good humor and his nonsense at the same time, and can do so, in doses to please himself, at all times; and he has surely given a pretty sample of each, in the letter alluded to; this perhaps is giving the introductory portion of his remarks more notice than they deserve. I have no doubt, however, that when he laid down his pen, he felt as the sailor did when he presented a draft of two hundred pounds at the banker's, exclaiming "there's a stinger for you, Bob." I felt Mr. Mason's remarks just as I should the bite of a mosquito or a bed-bug; and it may be satisfactory to him to know that I am free to acknowledge that they had at least this trifling effect. The Editor first pounces upon my quotation from a popular play, ending: "when we shows our teeth, we bites;" and which, in his blissful ignorance, he doubtless thinks it would be folly to be wise. He says, ho quotes from a Bowery play-house," fixing evidently intentionally on the lowest grade of theatres. I mention this, first, to show the animus of the good humored individual; and secondly, to show his slap-dash way of asserting where it was taken from, and without knowing anything at all about it; for it happens that the play, "The Lancashire Lass," has never been performed at either of the Bowery Theatres. It has, however, at Wallack's, in New-York, Mrs. Drew's Arch Street Theatre, in Philadelphia, and at Mrs. Conway's. But it is in perfect harmony with the habits of the worthy editor, who is by no means over anxious to ascertain whether what he pops into his Magazine is truthful or not. In regard to the quotation, I am perfectly willing to admit I meant to make him feel; and there can be no doubt that in that respect, it was a marked success. Secondly.-And now for "the only scattering shot" which hurt him, viz., the assertion that he made use of the words: "it was uncirculated for so rare a coin." Is it uncharitable here to ask whether he is fighting with the shadow and not the substance? for it is the latter that I as emphatically again contend for, as he emphatically denies that he ever made the assertion; and that he did, can be confirmed by a gentleman in New-York, who sat close to Mason in the sale-room, and says he distinctly heard him make the remark, exactly in substance as I have reported. Query, did he say piece instead of coin! This gentleman says he afterwards heard him say something about coins being described as uncirculated in this condition. 'What he reports himself as having said, is so widely different, that I could not possibly have so completely misunderstood him. When Mr. Randall said that the two coins were perfectly uncirculated, I said, "Mr. Randall, I deny that in regard to the first;" and then-I was sitting in the rostrum by the side of the auctioneer-Mr. Mason looked up at me full in the face, and said, "It is uncirculated for so rare a coin;” and I replied : “I am sorry, Mason, you think it right to make any apology for a piece being overdescribed." I could not have made this observation if his version of the affair had been correct, because I have had occasion myself to find fault with pieces being misrepresented in catalogues, but deny that it has been the custom. Even admitting his position, for a moment, to be tenable, he is, at all events, pleading guilty of doing what he knows to be a species of deception, and therefore does not shine out very brilliantly under any phase of the matter. Two wrongs have never yet made a right.

Mr. Mason, however, has here raised a direct question of veracity between us. After having said that I have a friend who was present at the sale and who can confirm my assertion, I will here quote his own words in reply. In his first letter, dated the 30th of November, he thus reports himself: "What we said, when speaking of the Inimica. Tyrannis" (here follows the memorable description of the coin, as he tries to persuade us it appeared to his numismatic or numismatographic eyes) "was this, that it had been customary, with all persons cataloguing collections, to omit the mention (on coins nearly unique) of a spot so indistinct, that a microscope would scarcely make the defect observable, and such excessively rare coins, in this condition, were usually described as uncirculated." This is wonderfully different from my report, which only contains eight words. He continues : "This remark, or the substance of it, was addressed aloud to all persons at the sale.” All I can say is, that the observations he made afterwards were, at all events, not loud enough for me to hear, but I have never denied that he made them. Now, my friends, just observe what my brother reports himself as having said in his good-humored effusion of 12th ulto, and mark you, without any qualification whatever. It is this: "W e remarked at the saIe, when Mr. C. caviled at the descriptions of the coins" (in a loud tone)-this loud tone, by the way, must refer to me, as I did not hear his postscript remarks-"that it had been customary to catalogue very rare coins, slightly rubbed as uncirculated''' He has simmered down, you see, between the 30th November, 1868, and the 12th January, 1869, to the foregoing few UNQUALIFIED words. He seems to me, really, from these two reports, only to have been aware that he said something, but what he evidently does not exactly know, and probably cares as little about, for, as you will see presently, he -was obliged to say something in reply to any one who had the temerity to attack the Randall sale. But why not say the sale of Randall and Co.? I confess it seems rather hard that this poor gentleman should he spoken of, as if he alone, with the worthy Editor, had been to blame, when he has admitted that he “aiders and abettors” in describing the coins. In future, therefore, my worthy friend, adopt my idea, and call it at once the sale of Randall & Co. I am for sharing the odium between the various partners. I admit there is no occasion for mentioning any other name or names, although they may be tolerably well known. I am sorry to have felt myself compelled to write so much on this particular paragraph in the editor's letter, but must say, that, I am quite as likely to have been truthful in what I have stated, as he is evidently untruthful in what he reports himself as having said, as the two remarks do not tally.

Thirdly,.-In speaking of the ridiculous terms used in describing coins, he says," Mr. C. objects to the terms , very fine' brilliants," &c. This is false for he knows that it is the misapplication of them that they find fault with, and proceeds, " forgetting: in his anxiety to annihilate us, that his own catalogued collections have some of these terms conspicuously and properly placed to the coins described." I thank him for the compliment, but that is precisely the difference between us, as his were improperly placed there.

I will defy Mr. Mason to point out a single instance where I have ever used the terms" brilliant, very fine, magnificent" to anyone coin, or the" gem of gems, or brilliant gem," in any of my catalogued collections.

Fourthly,-I said he asserted that if I had called upon him before the sale, he could have told me all about it, Now mark how evasive he is. He does not and dare not deny that he said so, because it was said in his store, in the presence of four persons; but listen to the innocent individual. "How we were to tell him all about the sale before it occurred is an unfathomable mystery to us." There is no confusion, mystery, or anything at all unfathomable about it, as he knew I alluded to the description of the pieces, which he had said in his Magazine, long before the sale, he had cataloged, and therefore spoke knowingly about them, and that the collector" might depend upon the description. He passes over the assertion he made instantly after he had made. the one referred to, and which was, "that he had protested against these descriptions and did all he could to prevent them, but was compelled to yield, and that I must blame the other parties and not him." This was also made in the presence of the same persons, one of whom said to me afterwards, "What a silly fellow Mason was to make these admissions."

Fifthly.-And now "for the unkindest cut of all,"-my saying that one of his paragraphs, in his first published letter, was contemptible, unintelligible, untruthful twaddle, and that he ought to have been ashamed to put it in his Magazine, He calls this" uncourteous, uncalled for, ungenerous and unjust.·' I deny that the remark was either of these. I said exactly what I meant, and meant exactly what I said. What does the man take me for? Am I to sit quietly by and refuse to speak my mind in a plain, straightforward way-if not a very agreeable one to the Editor of Mason &; Co.'s :Magazine-while I am to receive (as my readers will see presently from his own letter I have received) the pointed shafts of a kind of patent good humor, taken out for this special occasion, hurled at me from a sort of "Tria juncta in uno," and especially such a terrific and fiery uno as the worthy Editor himself? He mistakes me greatly if he thinks I throw my words about as idly as ho does, or that I commit to paper and suffer to be printed opinions and statements that I should have reason to be ashamed of afterwards. If he has forgotten, I have not, that “Words once flown, are in the hearer's power, not your own."

I told Mr, M, not many days back, that if he can convince me I have. said anything that is untrue in my letters, or done him any injustice, I shall neither be afraid or ashamed, but on the contrary, pleased to make the most ample apology for it; but when I feel conscious I am right, I never have yielded and I never will and as in the present instance I have only said what was true, I see no reason whatever to regret having written what I did, or to wish one single word unsaid.

Sixthly,-What this injured Coin·Dealer means by saying "6that it is quite satisfactory to know that the only complaint of unfairness (and, by the way, I shall shortly show his full admission of the unfairness of the descriptions) came from a dealer who may have been slighted in not receiving early notice of an intended coin sale." I say, what he means I cannot possibly divine. 'Why, bless my soul, it was spoken of in his Magazine long enough before it came off, and Mason and one of his aiders and abettors told me in Philadelphia, about a month before, that it was fixed for the 28th or 29th of October. I consider this a piece of uncalled-for nonsense, for, in the name of common sense, what did it matter to me when the great sale was to be, as long as I got the catalogues in time to forward them to those collectors who might wish to forward any biddings? However, I must take it from whence it comes.

Seventhly,-Before allowing my readers to retire to the science of "Numismatography" (vide Webster, &c.,) I most respectfully decline acknowledging myself A Notoriety-Seeking Coin-Dealer," and while I have no possible objection to Mr. Mason admitting himself to be one (although I may pity his taste,) he must excuse me for protesting against being linked with him. In truth, I have an idea" looming in the distance," that one of his motives for continuing this correspondence is, that it may add to his "notoriety," whether enviable or not may be doubtful. One of my reasons for thinking such may be the case is, that he has been anxious, from the first, to have a stand-up fight in the Magazine and Journal, and hoped to get some fun out of it for his publication. Where the fun has come in I must leave him to point out. I think if he had borne in mind the old English proverb I called to his memory, before he had buckled on his armor, he would have shown more sense than he has in all that he has written on the question at issue. As I have told him, the whole thing is in a nutshell. The coins, on the whole, were or were not over-described. I have said they were, and Mr. Mason has not offered the first scintilla of evidence to prove that they were not. Everything outside of this simple fact has been caused by this "Notoriety-seeking Coin-Dealer" and those who helped him to gratify his eager desire to have this stand-up fight. Reviewing all that he has written, and the startling admissions he has made in the letter I am about to quote from, I must say he puts me forcibly in mind of the celebrated Irish Barrister who undertook to defend Curvoisier on his trial for the murder of Lord Russell, and at the close of his address solemnly called Almighty God to witness that he believed the prisoner at the bar to be an innocent man, having all the while the man's confession of the murder in his pocket. This gentleman, a few days after, ceased to practice at the bar.

I am now about to make some quotations from this worthy man's letter to me, dated the 13th of last month, the underlining of which is just as it came to me from the writer. After saying "he would not use disrespectful terms to one he had always held in high esteem," he proceeds : “I would say, for your private ear, that some of the important pieces were described under circumstances which forced descriptions the coins would not bear." (By this the collectors will see how far I was justified in my remarks about the misrepresentation of the condition of the pieces). Again, he speaks of the "sweeping charge of over-description of the whole collection." (This is not correct, but an exaggeration, as I never mentioned the entire collection, but even stated pieces that spoke for themselves). I could not acknowledge many things which I would be pleased to, so I have avoided replying to those which perhaps admitted of no proper defense. Further on he says: "I was under the necessity of replying to any article made public attacking the sale." (Those outsiders doubtless helped him in the good humored remarks he has made in his Magazine.) And now hear further: "I wrote the article about the “readers of the Magazine depending on the descriptions of the coins, &c., before I had catalogued them, and the difficulties I encountered were not then anticipated, or a slightly different version of the pieces might have been rendered." (I think it might, indeed; but why did he say that he had catalogued them, and therefore spoke knowingly-in italics, remember-about them, and say the collectors might depend upon the descriptions, when he had not done anything of the kind. This bears out my charge against the Editor of not being over-particular about the truth of his assertions in his Magazine). He concludes thus: "I wrote a brief reply directly after receiving the December number of the N Y Journal, and sent it in, and I have, I fully believe, treated you with the greatest respect, and have no wish to offend you in any way. My obligations to others are now wiped out, and I shall write in future untramelled."

After this crushing admission of his guilt, I do not know what my friends may think about it, but I cannot myself help saying that his assumption of injured innocence is little less than a consummate piece of effrontery. Had Mr. Mason, in his reply to my first letter in the Journal, confined himself to pointing out any errors he thought I had made in my remarks, this disagreeable correspondence would have been avoided, and I shall now leave the field entirely in possession of the good humored Editor, and let him blate as much as he pleases. In conclusion I will state that I am not conscious of having said a single thing in what I have written that is not truthful and; notwithstanding all his wordy endeavors to bring me into contempt with the collectors, I hope I may safely say that it is not in the power of Mr. E. Mason, Jr., Editor of Mason & Co.’s Magazine, or a dozen men like him, under the circumstances as they have now been put before my friends, to succeed in doing so, and subscribe myself certainly not a “Notoriety-Seeking Coin-Dealer,” but Very faithfully yours,


Regardless, we do find Mason later on not holding any grudge and affably praised Cogan in the December 1868 issue saying he has a jovial good nature. Cogan’s next sale was not until June 23-24, 1869 for Mortimer Livingston MacKenzie when he published the first ever photograph plated coin auction catalog, to celebrate his comeback.

New York City Directory of 1869 : Cogan Edward, coins, 68 William, h 299 State, B'klyn

He purchased : 1792 Washington Cent for $30.00 at the MacKenzie Sale in New York held by himself on 9 June, 1869.

Levick wrote this about Cogan : “If the readers of the introduction to the discussion of the '93 cent, in the last number, have not already become wearied of me, I should like to digress from that subject-with a view to gain time for all possible accuracy in my remarks and photographs-and indulge during the interval in a few reminiscences of coin-collecting in general, dating from a time when the study of numismatics was confined to comparatively few persons; and I trust that my recollections may not be tedious or uninteresting. Western and Southern subscribers undoubtedly have no objection to hear a few incidents in connection with the early history of our pursuit, for it is they who seem to appreciate the JOURNAL most highly. This I infer from the fact that I am the recipient of more letters from those quarters than from elsewhere, and they express great satisfaction and delight in reading the JOURNAL. Letter-writing on the experiences of collectors, such as the very few furnished by our worthy townsman, Mr. Cogan, seem to take the popular fancy best; for he has received numerous communications urging him to furnish more such articles.

The Philadelphians undoubtedly recollect how particularly pleasant it was to visit Mr. Cogan's store, aside from business, for the reason that he always made it so, by his continually having something rich and rare to exhibit. As he is a gentleman of great conversational powers and amiable temper, besides being well supplied with anecdotes and jokes, his place was well attended; in truth, it was difficult for the collectors to remain away from his store over twenty-four hours at any time. As for me, I dropped all other pleasures, preferring to go to Mr. Cogan's to see what was to be seen and learn any news that might be stirring in the numismatic world. Go at what hour you might, you would be sure of meeting some one, and frequently strangers from New York, Boston, Baltimore, and other parts of the country. In the evenings, most generally, the same faces were recognized, and many friendships were formed thereby.”

Fig. 8. Eagle perched on Shield and Flags above U. S. A. Weiss E-L-77. Available for purchase in The Coin Shop on this website. Just click on the link on the left top.

Courtesy, Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, Edward David Cogan Collection.

[018]Weiss E-L-103 “Hartford Coat of Arms. U.S.A.” For sale by E. Cogan (Weiss page 462)

[019]Weiss E-R-157 U.S.A. E Pluribus Unum. Eagle with shield in talons. (Weiss page 466)

[020]Weiss E-R-157 (variant) U.S.A. E Pluribus Unum.

[021]Weiss F-SI-118 U.S.A. Printed by Car Bell. For sale by E. Cogan (Weiss page 630)

[022]Weiss F-ST-122 “Columbia Rules the Ocean” (Weiss page 654)

[023]Weiss O-W-2 Bell/Cogan (Weiss page 702)

[024]Weiss O-W-8 Bell/Cogan (Weiss page 702)

[025]Weiss O-US-2 “U.S.” same as above (Weiss page 702)

[026]Weiss O-US-6 “U.S.” same as above (Weiss page 702)

[027]Weiss O-US-6a “U.S.” same as above (Weiss page 702)

[028]Weiss O-US-8 “U.S.” same as above (Weiss page 702)

[029]Weiss O-US-10 “U.S.” Bell/Cogan (Weiss page 704)

[030]Weiss O-US-13 “U.S.” Bell/Cogan (Weiss page 704)

[031]Weiss O-US-16 “U.S.A.” Bell/Cogan (Weiss page 704)

[032]Weiss O-US-17 “U.S.A.” Bell/Cogan (Weiss page 704)

[033]Weiss O-US-20 “U.S.A.” Bell/Cogan (Weiss page 704)

[034]Weiss O-US-27 “U.S.A. Bell/Cogan Qui Transtulit Sustinet” (Weiss page 704)

[035]Weiss O-US-28 “U.S.A.” Bell/Cogan (Weiss page 704)

[036]Weiss O-US-28 (variant) “U.S.A.”

[037]Weiss O-US-31 “U.S.A.” (Weiss page 704)

[038]Weiss O-US-31 (variant) “U.S.A.”

[039]Weiss O-US-33 “U.S.A.” (Weiss page 704)

[040]Weiss O-US-33 (variant) “U.S.A.” (Weiss page 704)


[1] Howard L. Adelson, The American Numismatic Society, 1858-1958 (1959) : See also, “The Father of the Coin Trade in America,” The Numismatist, XXIX, No. 6, June (1916) : 267-268; Pete Smith, “America’s First Coin Dealer,” The Numismatist, Vol. 107, No. 9, September (1994) : 1271

[2] Henry J. Byron, The Lancashire Lass; or, Tempted, Tried and True: a Domestic Melodrama, in a Prologue and Four Acts. (London : Samuel French, 1868) : 33

Bibliography :

Proceedings of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society of New York At the Annual Meeting, March 18, 1879: page 13

Joseph N. T. Levick, "REMINISCENCES OF COIN-COLLECTING," American Numismatic Journal,

Mason, III, No. 7, July (1869) : 73c, 77b, 78a, 78c; III, No. 8, August (1869) : 87b; IV, No. 1, January (1870) : 9; (Longacre specimens) IV, No. 2, February (1870) : 27; IV, No. 3, March (1870) : 43; IV, No. 3, March (1870) : 44; “Cogan’s New York Coin Sale, April 22,” (Mason on Cogan’s 23rd sale), IV, No. 5, May (1870) : 74; IV, No. 8, August (1870) : 129; (27th Sale, April 3-5) V, No. 3, March (1871) : 50; Cited by his initials E. C., I, No. 3, June (1867) : 27b; No. 5, August (1867) : 45c; II, No. 2, May (1868) : 20a; H-I, No. 1, June (1879) : 8a;

Mason, I, No. 1, April (1867) : 6; No. 2, May (1867) : 12, 13, 14, 15; No. 3, June (1867) : 20-21, 27d, 28d; No. 4, July (1867) : 37a, 37b; No. 6, September (1867) : 51c; No. 7, November (1867) : 62b; No. 8, November (1867) : 71b; No. 9, December (1867) : 81d-82; No. 11, February (1868) : 103;

Mason, II, No. 4, July (1868) : 36a, 41d; No. 5, August (1868) : 46; No. 6, September (1868) : 56; No. 7, October (1868) : 65d; No. 9-12, December (1868) : 87, 100, 107b-c;

Mason, III, No. 1, January (1869) : 5; No. 2, February (1869) : 15a-16b; No. 3, March (1869) : 27, 33, 37; No. 5, May (1869) : 50a, 50d, 51a, 54d; No. 6, June (1869) : 64a-d; III, No. 7, July (1869) : 73a-74d;

Mason, IV, No. 7, July (1870) : 108, 109;

Mason, V, No. 1, January (1871) : 17; V, No. 2, February (1871) : 31, 33, 34; V, No. 3, March (1871) : 47; (guarantee genuine) V, No. 4, April (1871) : 65; V, No. 7, July (1871) : 110, 112; “Sale of the Elliot Numismatic Collection,” (Cogan accepting bids for Mason’s 15th sale), V, No. 9, September (1871) : 144; (Cogan accepting bids for Mason’s 16th sale),V, No. 11, November (1871) : 172; (Cogan’s 31st sale) V, No. 12, December (1871) : 184; V, No. 12, December (1871) : 191; “Cogan’s New York Coin Sale,” (Mason on Cogan’s 31st sale), V, No. 12, December (1871) : 193;

Mason, VI, No. 1, January (1872) : 16; (Buyer at the Searing sale) B-I, No. 2, July (1880) : 5c; (Moore sale) H-I, No. 1, June (1879) : 3a; H-I, No. 3, December (1879) : 27a; Sale of the Smith Cabinet,” (Mason), H-II, No. 3, December (1880) : 18c-19a; H-II, No. 3, December (1880) : 21c, 22d; H-II, No. 4, March (1881) : 31c; C-VI, No. 2, September (1882) : 36; (photo) M-I, No. 3, August (1884) : 40; M-I, No. 6, November (1884) : 61-63; (Obit in AJN) M-I, No. 8, January (1885) : 88; Called C, M-I, No. 8, January (1885) : 89; M-I, No. 12, May (1885) : 122; ; M-XIII, No. 1, June (1890) : 12; M-XIII, No. 2, September (1890) : 4;

Decorah Numismatic Journal, January, 1875, back cover advertisement.

John Weston Adams, United States Numismatic Literature Vol. 1, xiii, 17-24, 25, 42, 81, 105, 154-158.

Rulau, Russell, Standard Catalog of United States Tokens 1700-1900 (Iola, 1994);

Pete Smith, “American Numismatic Pioneers : An Index to Sources,” Asylum Vol. XXII, No. 3, Consecutive Issue No. 87, Summer (2004) : 304;

Emmanuel Joseph Attinelli. A Bibliography of American Numismatic Auction Catalogues 1828-1875 (reprint 1976)

Adelson, Howard L., The American Numismatic Society, 1858-1959. (New York, ANS, 1958);

Frossard, Numisma (1877-1891);

Bourne, Remy, Fixed Price Lists & Premium Paid For Lists of United States Coin Dealers 1822-1900 (Minneapolis, 1988);

Smith-I 58

Pete Smith, “America’s First Coin Dealer,” The Numismatist, Vol. 107, No. 9, September (1994) : 1271

Cogan’s Letter to the Editor, American Journal of Numismatics, March (1867) : 86-87; “Historiographer’s Report,” Proceedings (March 17, 1885) : 13-14;

Obituary, American Journal of Numismatics, July (1884) : 23; “The Father of the Coin Trade in America,” The Numismatist, XXIX, No. 6, June (1916) : 267-268;

Bowers, Q. David, The History of United States Coinage As Illustrated by the Garrett Collection. (Los Angeles, CA : Bowers & Ruddy Galleries, Inc., 1979) :16-17

Tom Clarke, A Catalog of Philadelphia Postmarks (1990) Vol. 2, 14-2, 14-3

Weiss, Jr., William R., The Catalog of Union Civil War Patriotic Covers (n. p., 1995) 839 (1) p.