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Collecting : A Fundamental Human Skill

Collecting as a human activity certainly preceded the advent of Europeans arriving to the Americas. Native Americans incorporated collecting in

their culture when the first groups of Eurasians entered into the North American Continent 14,500 B.C. via Beringia, the land mass that

once connected Siberia to Alaska. Some came on foot across the landscape and others by boats evidenced by the archaeological findings at Cedros Island.

Since 2004 a debate has emerged over evidence provided by Albert C. Goodyear that could push back that date to 50,000 B.C. No great impetus has been given this theory since it lacks strong evidence in archaeological records.

Regardless of the actual date these Eurasians became the first people to be indigenous to the Americas and Canada and were of the hunter-gatherer culture. As its name suggests gathering is in itself a form of collecting. The collecting patterns of human behavior as hunter gatherers is called foraging. Recent studies by Goldstone & Ashpole have shown that knowledge affects the efficiency with which people harvest resources in their environments. This still holds true for the collector no longer living in the wild of frontiers but in developed countries.

Aaron R. Feldman's positional statement "Buy the Book Before the Coin" in his landmark March 1966 advertisement in The Numismatist touched the

pulse of this basic human need in successful hunter gathering within the numismatic community. When a Fellow of Rutgers University, School of

Communications, Information and Library Studies, emphasis was placed on "Human Information Seeking Behavior". In our current situation people are

more inclined to seek information at the proverbial "touch of a finger" leading them here on the internet to this site. This is the logic behind the development

of The Numismatic Mall to open wide the doors to knowledge about collecting in general and especially about collecting philatelics and numismatics in its many branches.

In this essay you will find included the essential key topics discussed accompanied by timelines and occasional charts that provide a picture of the

influences that bore on the subject of philatelic and numismatic collecting and their results.

The Archaeological Record in America

The Eurasian peoples who traversed the American plains and mountains foraging for foodstuffs went beyond the mere collecting behavioral patterns for survival of the body since human beings have a need for the survival of the mind and soul as well. Josef Pieper has pointed out rather lucidly in his seminal work Leisure the Basis of Culture, that the needs and drives of the human soul are what build culture to satisfy the deeper longing for spiritual meaning and the longing for the brotherhood of mankind. Culture is not merely an amusement park where the adage "All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy" has a hollow ring for seeking nothing more than pure pleasure and amusement, but rather, to better understand oneself, the world and to grow as an authentically loving and caring human being. The exploitation of collecting if done purely for monetary profit is to have missed the aim and purpose completely since collecting in that event only becomes an extension of the workforce rather than a means for self improvement and spiritual growth through positive recreation and reflection.

Collecting is not in itself intended to be exploited in the Weberian internalization of the "Protestant Work Ethic" of "Work-For-Works -Sake" blindly working for the accumulation of financial wealth for wealths sake, but rather, to open up the door to another form of wealth in personal enrichment and growth in virtue and moral integrity. This is evidenced in our forebears as they foraged through the plains, hills and mountains finding not only food for the body but for the soul. They collected things that were assembled together seeking meaning and value for themselves and their community. Native American peoples provide us with a unique window into Indigenous American Culture that grew and developed and preserved through the course of 14,000 to 15,000 years.

The Archaic Period beginning 12,000 BC through the Woodland Culture of the North American Indians dating from 1000 BC to 1000 AD and the Mississippian Cultures 800 to 1500 AD provide many relics of their collecting patterns. Considering the fact that the oldest known archaeological human artifacts found in Ethiopia date 2.6 million years ago the Americas are rightly called "The New World" even if Goodyear is correct that people first inhabited here 50,000 B.C.

The Americas are without doubt earth's final frontier. There have been other pre-Columbian migrations of people that followed after the Eurasians. Some have theorized that ancient Egyptians had come to South America. Diodorus, tells us that about 100 BC the Carthaginians had discovered a land out into the Atlantic Ocean. In the 6th century St. Brendan the Navigator sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. When the first Vikings came in 982 led by Erik the Red he landed on Greenland. Erik's son Lief sailed south and discovered the North American Continent. It is not yet clear from the archaeological record the certainty of all the pre-Columbian claims and what form of collecting these people may have engaged in other than hunter-gatherer behaviors of any frontiers plains people like the early Eurasians who preceded them.

Collecting in America certainly took on a different shape after the Europeans entered into the Caribbean, and the North and South American Continents. These early travelers and settlers brought their collecting patterns and collections with them when they settled here. The collecting fields of these people were many and varied and kept them entertained and amused while providing them with a source of study and learning.



The collecting fields of the people of the Americas falls mainly into three categories : Natural History; Antiques and Antiquities, and Curios and Curiosities. Regardless of which category people collected in the primary focus was learning in order to develop oneself intellectually, mentally, morally and spiritually.

1. Naturalists

Early settlers were collectors along the lines of the European tradition where being a naturalist, i.e., someone who is fascinated by nature or natural history brought many to collect various curio pieces found in nature. The naturalist tradition in England developed under William Gilbert (1540-1603) and this same enthusiasm was brought to America by the English colonists. It was the Swiss immigrant to America, Pierre Eugène Du Simitière (1737-1784), who established the first American Museum of Natural History in 1782. The Massachusetts Professorship of Natural History was founded at Harvard College by subscription in 1805 and the first Professor was William Dandridge Peck (1763-1822), who served in that capacity until his death. Surprising as it may seem American naturalists were not organized as a group until the late 19th century perhaps since being a naturalist was so common among the American population that it did not require a catalyst to raise the consciousness of the collecting community. It wasn't until March of 1867 that American Naturalist, A Monthly Magazine of Natural History was first published coetaneous with Mason's Coin and Stamp Collectors' Magazine. When American hobbies became the rage during the Reconstruction Era we see the rise of the American naturalists into publications and eventually organized. The American Society of Naturalists did not become organized until 1883, after the centennial of Pierre Eugène Du Simitière's first American Museum of Natural History in 1782.

2. Antiquarians

The collecting of antiques and antiquities is in itself an ancient form of collecting known to have been practiced by ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians. It is only natural that the human spirit finds fascination and interest in antique and ancient objects opening wide the doors to the imagination and expanding our knowledge and appreciation of human industry through artifacts. The antiques and antiquities that educated Europeans owned bringing them with them to the Americas included numismatics. The community of antiquarians and the rise of historical societies emerged in America from 1790 to 1840 with the establishment of institutions dedicated to the study and conservation of America's past. For a more in depth study see John N. Lupia, III, American Numismatic Auctions To 1875, Volume 1 : 1738-1850.

3. Curio Collectors

A cabinet of curiosities was a phenomenon that emerged in Europe during the Renaissance. Sir Hans Sloane (1660- 1753), an English physician was a prominent 18th century curiosity collector who amassed a very large ethnographic collection of 350 artifacts from various tribes around the world including the North American Indians, Alaskan Inuit, various South American Indians, Lapland, Siberian, East and West Indies and Jamaica, which he donated to the British Museum. Sloane became the model for the American curiosity collector of Indian relics and artifacts as well as curiosities of all kinds. "In 1743, Pennsylvania botanist John Bartram received a silver cup from Sir Hans Sloane, recently retired president of the Royal Society in London, with some large writing on it." [1]

The Reverend Thomas Smith (1775-1830), published his remarkable 12 volume opus titled: The Wonders of Nature and Art; or, A Concise Account of Whatever is Most Curious and Remarkable in the World; Whether Relating to Its Animal, Vegetable and Mineral Productions, Or to the Manufactures, Buildings and Inventions of Its Inhabitants, Compiled from Historical and Geographical Works of Established Celebrity, and Illustrated with the Discoveries of Modern Travellers. 1803-4. A revised edition immediately followed by Dr. James Mease published at Philadelphia in 1806 to satiate the American thirst for the curious.

Curios and curiosities are those odd and unusual objects that do not fit neatly into traditional European taxonomies. These are usually exotic pieces from foreign lands, customs and cultures, or otherwise may be from western tradition but are atypical, unusual in the sense that they were uncommon or rare because of the material or skill required to create them or for their sheer age in thousands of years like Greek and Roman coins. When we find cabinets filled with natural curiosities from nature and things like coins they were usually referred to as cabinets of natural and artificial curiosities. Due to the accumulation of vast collections some containing thousands of specimens collectors had to be students of anagraphy, i.e, instructed in the art and science of cataloguing.

American and European Cabinets

Originally a cabinet was the name given during the Renaissance to a room where various collections of different subject areas were stored. By the late 16th century we begin to find furniture cabinets modeled with drawers and shelving to store and house collectibles. Early American collections were very carefully preserved and conserved with each object having a slip of paper identifying it with some brief note. Coins are known to have been kept in coin cabinets since at least the 16th century. Many beautiful and elaborate coin cabinets are still conserved in many European museums that date from the 16th and 17th centuries. Europeans who brought coins with them certainly brought them with the coin cabinets theyowned. The antique coin cabinet of Reuben Haines III (1786-1831) of Wyck in Germantown, Pennsylvania, for example, is still conserved in Wyck House Museum.

English Models For American Collectors and Collecting

Since America and American society as we know them today were largely formed by Europeans especially the English of Great Britain it is only natural that we shall shall find American numismatics and philatelics will imitate the English models of coin and stamp collecting and dealing as well as their associative fields in museums, antiquarian and historical societies. The English model for a museum or cabinet was first developed by John Tradescant, Gardner to King Charles I of England. His catalogue Museum Tradescantianum (1656) contains 14 divisions : (1) Birds with eggs, (2) Four footed Beasts, (3) Fish, (4) Shells, (5) Insects, (6) Minerals, (7) Fruits, Drugs, &c., (8) Artificial Curiosities, (9) Miscellaneous curiosities, (10) Warlike Instruments, (11) Habits [costumes], (12) Utensils & Household stuff, (13) Coins, (14) Medals. These fourteen divisions still hold their place over 360 years later. There are many varieties of things that can be crammed into division number 9 "Miscellaneous curiosities" including rare books, maps, atlases, and many other items not appropriate in the other divisions.

A. Natural History

The earliest European immigrant collectors in America didn't collect only coins but enjoyed a wider range of collectibles than most collectors do today. Natural history or collecting specimens of various items from the wild fall into thirteen broader classes which have some overlapping among them. So we already see that Tradescant's taxonomy of his first seven divisions are inadequate : (1) Birds with eggs, (2) Four footed Beasts, (3) Fish, (4) Shells, (5) Insects, (6) Minerals, (7) Fruits, Drugs, &c.


Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

William D. Averell (1853-1928), for example, was a coin dealer and sea shell dealer and published The Conchologists' Exchange, and The Nautilus, For Conchologists. He was followed by Walter Freeman Webb (1869-1957), another coin dealer who wrote the book on conchology.


In 1551, Pierre Belon du Mans published Histoire naturelle des estranges poissons, which contains the earliest known western illustration of a hippopotamus, and in 1553, De aquatilibus, which initiated the science of ichthyology. In 1613, John Denny, published The Secrets of Angling. In 1799, the East India Marine Society was founded at Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts and created a "cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities" collected by the Salem sea captains on the voyages as far as Cape Horn, Asia, Africa, Oceania and India as well as the northwest coast of America. This society and its collection eventually became the Peabody Essex Museum. At Harvard College, William Dandridge Peck (1763-1822), whom we have already seen previously specialized in ichthyology while Professor of Natural History there from 1805-1822.

The collecting of fish skeletons, starfish, seahorses, mother-of-pearl, sponges, and various marine specimens were also a known field that occupied early settlers. Many artistic illustrations for numismatic literature often contains motifs of marine collecting showing another affiliated hobby to coin collecting. In fact, the earliest coin auction of ancient Roman coins held in America in 1770 was an auction of Fly Fishing rods, and flies found in John N. Lupia, III, American Numismatic Auctions To 1875, Volume 1 : 1738-1850.


The collecting of reptiles including frogs, toads, snakes, turtles and tortoises and all other forms of reptiles including alligator and crocodile skins were another favorite American pass time. Among these the collection of tortoise shells became an industry especially for carving them into combs, and alligator skins into handbags, luggage, and shoes. The cover of Plain Talk, a magazine that was published from 1885 to 1888, that once served as the official organ of the American Numismatic Association (founded in October 1891) shows an illustration drawn by F. Myers of an alligator among the collecting fields. Among other collectible objects we find that many very elaborate tortoiseshell combs from the 19th century are very prized museum pieces today.


The collecting of fossils in America began to grow during the 18th century. The development of fossil hunting and collecting grew along with the collectors of animal teeth and ivory that became a craze in the early 18th century. Many fossil finds were discovered in the early colonies along the rivers, brooks and streams where stones revealed the impressions left by prehistoric shellfish and, plants coral. We find many advertisements found in 19th century hobby magazines offering to sell trilobites to collectors.

Among the earliest known fossil collection sold at auction in America was that held in 1822 (though not the first by far). Catalogue of an Extensive and Valuable Collection of Metallick Fossils,: Collected Between Buenos Ayres, on the River of Plate, and the Mines of Chota, in the Northern Part of Peru, by Timothy, Baron of Nordenflycht, Director of the Peruvian Mines, from 1788, to 1813. : To be Sold at Auction, on Wednesday, April 3, 1822, at F. Wilby & Co.'s Office, No. 9, Kilby-Street


The collecting and study of bird's eggs (oology) and bird nests (caliology) is an old European art of collecting and study. This was brought into America with the early settlers who watched and studied the birds of North America and obtained specimens of both their eggs and nests collecting them and studying them to learn the behavior of American birds as well as to identify their species. Matthew Adams Stickney (1805-1894), the great American coin collector owned one of the largest collections of bird's eggs in America.


The enjoyment, study and use of birds has a long European tradition dating to medieval times. About 1240 Frederick II wrote a treatise on ornithology and Falconry, De Arte Venandi cum Avibus, "On The Art of Hunting with Birds". During the 16th century the study of birds and their use once more took a deeper look into science. In 1555, Pierre Belon du Mans published L'Histoire de la nature des oyseaux, which contained drawings of bird skeletons compared to that of humans and initiated the science of ornithology. In 1575, George Turberville published in England the Book of Falconrie or Hawking. In 1599, Ulissi Aldrovandi (1522-1605) published a work on ornithology. The collecting of birds and the preservation of them in taxidermy is an old art American collectors enjoyed as the Old World gentlemen enjoyed the art of falconry, collecting and caging birds and having their best specimens conserved and stuffed. The homes of the affluent frequently contained an aviary where birds were kept and bred. Peristerophily or pigeon collecting has also been a long time hobby in America. Its modern origins date to 1572 when Dutch pigeon breeders trained them to be carriers of letters during the siege of Haarlem.


The collecting of minerals in the Old World became fore developed after Georg Agricola wrote his treatise, De re metallica, in 1530, the first work ever written on mineralogy. In 1544, Georg Agricola initiated the study of geology. The collecting of minerals in the New World went hand in hand with the discovery of the land and investigation into edaphology, the study of the soil itself, and agrology, i.e., the study of the soil for agricultural purposes, and the mineral treasures the earth held. Geological maps were very important early creations in the New World since mining and the study of the earth and its topography were important for the production of industry. The buying and selling of minerals and geodes became very popular during the 19th century in America.


The collecting of gems and semi-precious stones by American collectors also has its roots in Europe. Some of the early settlers who belonged to the educated classes that had such collections brought them with them. The collection of gems grew very strong during the 19th century especially anaglyptic, i.e. stones that were carved or cut and engraved in bas relief by glyptography fashioned by artists of antiquity and throughout European history. The American Museum of Natural History collection formed in 1869 had minerals and gems since its inception. Stratford C. Harvey Bailey, a New York attorney had been collecting minerals and gems for many years and amassed somewhere between 5,000 to 7,000 specimens. Bailey placed his collection on display in New York and sold it to the American Museum of Natural History. George Frederick Kunz (1856-1932), a gemologist working for Tiffany and Company, New York, helped form some of America's greatest mineral and gem collections.


Fig. 1 A coral cabinet of various sea shells in the Naturkundemuseum, Berlin.

The collecting of sea shells and conch shells and corals were an entire field in themselves called conchology. Many curio cabinets, table tops, mantles, and shelves were decorated with various sea shells and conches and some were engraved. In Europe the use of shells became an idiom in the Roccoco, or "Late Baroque", was an excessively decorative 18th century European style during a period of excess and employed shells popularly called from the French "rockery" rocaille and was the final expression of the baroque movement.

These rocaille ornaments often seen on Rococo furniture, picture frames, and architectural ornaments either are clearly shells or else they resemble shells, or are sometimes fashioned into the irregular shapes of small pebbles.

We find the subject of conchology with frequent references in American 19th century hobby magazines devoted to coin collecting. This tells us that many numismatists of the past also collected sea shells as an affiliated hobby to numismatics.

One of the early American editions on Conchology was written by Dr. William Samuel Waithman Rushenbereger (1807-1895), published in 1845, at Philadelphia.

Benjamin Vreeland of Passaic, New Jersey was a Plant Collector. Here we see his personal envelope with corner card identifying him as a plant collector, postmarked October 22, 1892. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Modern botany has a tradition in Europe beginning in the 16th century with Rembert Dodoens, Herbarium published in 1553. The Portuguese Sephardic naturalist Garcia de Orta, published at Goa in 1563, Colóquios dos simples e drogas he cousas medicinais da Índia ("Conversations on the simples, drugs and medicinal substances of India"). In 1565, the Spanish physician and botanist Nicolás Monardes (1493–1588), published Historia medicinal de las cosas que se traen de nuestras Indias Occidentales ("Medical study of the products imported from our West Indian possessions"). Monardes work was about the medicinal application of plants found in the New World and excited interest among the new settlers and colonists to America to continue the study of American flora. In 1698, James Petiver published in the Transactions of the Royal Society, London, "An Account of Some Indian Plants etc. with their names, descriptions and vertues; communicated in a letter from Mr. James Petiver to Mr. Samuel Brown, surgeon of Fort St. George". This was followed in 1700 with another essay also published in the Transactions of the Royal Society, London, "An account of part of a collection of curious plants and drugs, lately given to the Royal Society of the East India Company."

The collecting of flora, grasses, plants, flowers and leaves and pressing them for conservation or keeping them in other forms of storage were another form of study and learning and amusement for Americans who settled here. Agrostology and graminology, for example, are the study of grasses and this was accomplished by the early collectors who conserved and cataloged their specimens. This fine art also grew and was passed on throughout time and people even today enjoy this favorite old world pass time.


In 1609, Charles Butler, published, De feminine monarchie, or a Treatise concerning Bees, promoting apiculture, or beekeeping. In 1706, James Petiver (1665-1718), published Gazophylacium, which was an illustrated text on entomology.

The collecting and storage of live and dead insects has always been another American favorite pass time for fun and study. Insectaria or places where these insects were kept were not only confined to institutions but people could keep them in glass bottles with screen lids or the dried out carcasses in curio cabinets and in boxes. Another work by James Petiver was Papilionum Brittaniae Iconespublished in 1717, that illustrated various British butterflies. Lepidopterology, or the collecting and study of butterflies and moths, for example, has been an American favorite throughout its history.

Fig. 2. Private cover issued by the local Postmaster John W. Phillips, who proudly advertised himself as a "Curio Collector" illustrated with three flying insects, postmarked November 20, 1886, Zelienople, Pennsylvania. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library - Special Collection- Dealer & Collector Covers.


The collecting of animal bones and teeth is as ancient as the human race. Prized ivory tusks, teeth of fierce animals and horns of deer, stags, rams, goats, caribou, and so on, were at first the cherished prizes of the hunter. It was the discovery of the wooly mammoth and mastodon in North America that began in 1705 when a five pound tooth was found in the Hudson River Valley by a Dutch farmer at Claverack, New York, that initiated the craze of excavating for paleontological finds. This eventually led to the first American Museum at Charleston, South Carolina in 1773 and also that a little over a decade later on in 1786 by Charles Wilson Peale at Philadelphia that housed many natural wonders. By the mid 18th century scrimshaw or the scrollwork and engraving done on ivory or whale teeth, etc., became all the rage in America and was collected by many Americans.


The conservation of animal skins and furs were among one of the earliest industries in America. In 1599, Captain Chauvin established a colony in Quebec, Canada for the fur trade. In 1613, fur trade was developed with the Mohawk and Mohican tribes by Adriaen Block and Dallas Carite. Dutch fur traders spread throughout the region of New Yorkin what was then called New Netherlands and New Amsterdam, with a trading center in Albany at Fort Orange. As the fur trade evolved along with American economics furs of many varieties became accessible and collected becoming part and parcel of many American homes.


The conservation of dead animals is a very ancient art that allowed for the collecting of variously conserved specimens. Taxidermy conserved birds, reptiles, and all varieties of animals, which reached its height of popularity as collectibles in America during the Victorian Period.

B. Antiques and Antiquities



The collecting of ancient pottery, coins and other artifacts is a very old European occupation that was known to exist since medieval times. Erwin Panofsky's landmark work, Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art (1960) affords one the opportunity to see and learn how antique models of various objets d'art were highly prized and inspired artist throughout the medieval period reaching its highest accomplishments during the Renaissance that first flourished in Florence, Italy. Ancient Greek and Roman coins and medals were always part of the noble class possessions. The educated European who partook of this form of collecting brought their collections with them to their new settlements in America.


The collecting of medieval and Renaissance art and manuscripts and early printed books or incunabula together with the coinages and various medals minted throughout Europe during these historic periods were also very much prized items found in most European collections of the nobility and men of letters. These educated Europeans brought their collections with them to their new settlements in America.


During the 15th century Italian maiolica was a tin-glazed lusterware. In the 16th century the Portuguese brought porcelain from China into Europe. In 1575, we find the first European imitations of Chinese porcelain made in Venice, Florence and Urbino, Italy. German, Italian, English and French china ware became very popular throughout Europe and in America. The collecting of objets d'art from the far east in China and Japan and all of Asia was a craze during the 17-18th century throughout Europe and America. During the late 18th century American sea merchants established trade with China. It became fashionable to collect fine china, vases, statutes and sorts of Orientalia among the affluent in America who had their own collections. We find many famous numismatists and coin dealers also selling and buying fine china during the 19th century.


Antiquarians , scholars, and ecclesiastics were great collectors of old papers, manuscripts, documents, and correspondence letters. Centuries before the word philately was coined these collectors had old mail with seals, and handstamps, old parchment letters and manuscripts, and were original sources mined for the information which they could learn and write about.


Book collecting became a craze beginning in the 15th century when many and varied incunabulae were printed from 1455 on. Printed books with colored inks and ornate bindings became fashionable for the building up of a library. Private libraries of the aristocracy are formed in the Renaissance and ever since.


The collecting and study of weapons is also an ancient pass time which took root in America with collectors acquiring and displaying swords and guns.



The collecting of American Indian relics began with the early settlers and grew and developed throughout American history. We find as early as 1627 the use of wampum as money in Plymouth, Massachusetts.


The collecting of rare books and manuscripts was always existing in America from the very beginning. Not only were collectors looking for rare books and manuscripts for their invaluable contents and subject matter but also for the appealing aesthetics of the collectible art of bookbinding. Codicology, which is the study of manuscripts as well as paleography, which studies the various hands or penmanship were two scholarly disciplines that grew in America among those who collected this genre of antiques.


The collecting of American Almanacs dates back to the 17th century when the production and publication of Almanacs in American began. During the 19th century most serious numismatic collectors owned an almanac collection and coin magazines of this period often discuss them and contain advertisements for collectors to either trade items for them or else to purchase them.


The collecting of autographs was a very popular hobby in America especially since the 19th century. It was very fashionable and popular for serious American collectors to collect autographs of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Revolutionary War heros and American Presidents and other political favorites.


The collecting of fine and decorative art has been largely confined to the affluent and middle class in America for the obvious reason of their inherent value. Collecting statues, paintings, carvings in various media, drawings, and other works of the fine and decorative arts has always been fashionable and popular. The decorative arts include miniatures,music boxes, musical instruments, small statuary, glassware and glass works including stained glass and studio glass, fine china, silverware and silver pieces, porcelain, ceramics and pottery, furniture, jewelry, and chalcography, i.e., engravings on copper or brass, as well as other similar works that have functionality and practical use for interior decoration.


The collecting of needlepoint and fine tapestries and Persian carpets is a form of collecting that is available to most classes of Americans. Part of an early American girl's education and training was to learn needlepoint and basic stitching in order to create works of embroidery for the home and darn and mend garments and linens essential for daily living. The famous American sampler was an art form taught to young girls who learned how to stitch and do needlepoint creating many colorful and interesting geometric patterns and designs together with the alphabet and rudimentary numbers. The oldest known specimen was made by Loara Standish of the Plymouth colony about 1645. Most of these works created by American girls as part of their coming of age initiation became family heirlooms and eventually became framed or were kept in curio cabinets for display, admiration and inspiration. The import of oriental or Persian rugs and carpets opened up the field of decorating floors and walls in American home interiors with them and to study the varieties and meanings behind them expanding the American understanding and appreciation of world cultures.


The collecting of maps and atlases. Originally these were in high demand for planning travel routes and courses for international trade and cartographers were sought to collect the freshest advices on navigational maps from sea captains in order to plot and chart more accurate outlines of shorelines and land masses. By the sixteenth century cartography flowered and maps were continually revised and expanded with an ever increasing knowledge of geography. When the European Curiosity Cabinet emerged maps and atlases were among the precious keepsakes and were prized possessions just as they are today in the best collections in the world.

In America cartographic studies found its best establishment in the American Geographical Society (AGS) organized by professional geographers, founded in 1851 in New York City. A hundred and twenty years later at Chicago's Newberry Library, in 1971, the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center For the History of Cartography was founded.


The collecting of psalligraphy, i.e., paper cut outs creating pictures, and framing them is a very old European and early American pass time. Many portraits were made by cutting out silhouettes and using a darker colored paper as a backer. Many decorative pictures were created by paper cutting and the art form was very highly refined during the 18th and 19th centuries. Silhouette portraits were made with a physionotrace, a device invented by Gilles Louis Chretien in the 1780's allowing a sitter to pose in profile behind a quadrille screen through which light passed leaving the perfect shadow silhouette of the profile allowing an artist to carefully reproduce each square.


The collecting of rubbings from tombstones, inscriptions, and coins has always been a viable art form and collecting sport. We find many references to coin and inscription rubbings in the literature of the 18th and 19th centuries. Sir Augustus Wollason Franks (1826-1897), collecting rubbings for the British Museum.


The collecting of paper money, Continental currency, Confederate paper money, United States and foreign paper money, bills or notes of credit, bank notes, and bank drafts or checks also took root in America especially beginning in the mid 19th century. Notaphily is a branch of numismatics.


The collecting and study of coins, medals, tokens, badges, paper money, bank drafts, checks and stock certificates, and stamps has been a pass time in America since the first Europeans who came here. The phenomenon of coin collecting is as ancient as the invention and distribution of coins dating to 650 B.C. When the early explorers arrived to the North American Continent they brought the coinage of their places and times with them and their old mail. Certainly, some brought with them lucky pieces or some similar numismatic piece that was handed down as a family heirloom collectible. This same sort of behavior followed with the first migrations of Europeans and early settlers. Several among them were from the social class of educated men who collected coins as a form of enhancing their study of classics, the Bible and world history. They also collected their old mail. Besides bringing coinages of their native countries, lucky pieces and family heirloom pieces some brought their coin collections with them comprised of ancient Greek and Roman coins. This class of men were students of Latin and Greek as well as the Bible and their purpose for coin collecting was to better appreciate the ancients and ancient times. Certainly by the 16th century foreign and ancient coins were brought into the West Indies, Caribbean, North and South American Continents. This phenomenon reached great proportions during the 17th and 18th centuries. When the first schools were built in America the faculty consisted of men of this educational and cultural background who most probably had coin collections and other curios.

During the first half of the 17th century the first wave of American coin collectors spread and developed across the nation. Rev. Thomas Hooker (1586-1647), Theophilus Eaton (1590-1658), Rev. John Davenport (1597-1670), William Goodwin (1591-1673), Rev. John Harvard (1607-1638), and Rev. Henry Dunster (1609-1659) were most certainly among the first coin collectors in America among many others yet to be discovered. As one can see the clergy and men of letters comprised the first coin collectors since it was a practice begun during school days through the studies of Classical languages and kept up as a form of study throughout life by collecting coins of Alexander the Great and those minted throughout his empire and the twelve Caesars and the coinages of the Roman provinces.

The second half of the 17th century the second wave of coin collectors in America developed among them were Elijah Corlett (1609-1686), Ezekiel Cheever (1614-1708), John Cullick (d. 1662), Rev. George Curwin (1683-1717), and Rev. Thomas Thornton, who settled in Yarmouth, Massachusetts in 1663, were certainly among the later group of the first generation and beginning of the second generation of serious coin collectors in America.

During the first half of the 18th century the third wave of coin collectors in America developed from those who came before them. Pierre Eugène Du Simitière (1737-1784), for example, brought his coin collections and it is ranked among the first known records of coin auction sales in America. [2] Yet, Du Simitière was certainly not among the earliest 18th century coin collectors in America. As John N. Lupia has shown in his book American Numismatics To 1875. Volume 1 : 1738-1850, William Proctor of New York held the first known coin auction in 1758. Chambers Russell (1713- 1767) and his brother-in-law Samuel Curwin (1715-1802) of Salem, the son of Rev. George Curwin (d. 1717), Rev. Andrew Eliot (1717-1778), of Old North Church, Boston, John Smith (1722-1771), of Burlington, New Jersey, James Logan (1674-1751) and his son William Logan I (1717-1776) and his son William Logan II (1747-1772), were all Pennsylvania coin collectors and the latter purchased the coin collection of Pierre Eugène Du Simitière.

The coin collectors of the second half of the 18th century in the fourth wave of coin collectors all of them seem to have fine cabinetry in which they housed their coin collections. William Clarkson (1733-1800), the Mayor of Philadelphia bought the balance of Pierre Eugène Du Simitière's coins and his mahogany coin cabinet in the auction of March 10, 1785. Clarkson's coin collection was sold posthumously on October 29, 1800. Charles Carroll (1737-1832), amassed a coin collection that was sold 32 years after his death, in 1864. Elias Boudinot (1740-1821), of Elizabeth, New Jersey, former Director of the U. S. Mint was also a numismatist. During this time we find the very fine coin cabinet and collection belonging to Charles Wilson Peale (1741-1827) of Philadelphia, John Andrews (1743-1822) of Boston, Johann Christoph Kunze (1744-1807), of Philadelphia, Robert Gilmor, Sr., (1748-1822), of Baltimore, Cornelius Comegys (1754-1844), of Philadelphia, Joseph Wright (1756-1793) Bordentown, New Jersey, Reverend William Bentley (1759-1819), of Salem [3], Michael Paff (c.1760-1838), of New York, and another owned by William Dandridge Peck (1763-1822), of Boston. Bentley mentions in his diary in an entry dated October 23, 1795, a remarkable collection owned by Samuel Curwin of ancient Greek and Roman coins that also had Lord Baltimore coins in it. This sort of entry tells us that coin collectors not only collected the ancients but their contemporary coins as well. That is not to say they were the first or earliest, as we have already see the long list aforementioned above, but rather, among the earliest known and documented coin collectors. In a letter of December 25, 1772 from John Andrews (1743-1822) of Boston to William Barrell (d. 1776) of Philadelphia, Andrews asks Barrell if he might obtain an Ancient Roman coin from his Aunt Anna. He notes this would bring his collection of the 12 Caesars to 5, and has several other later Emperors including Claudius, Domitian and Constantine. [4]

During the fifth and sixth wave of coin collectors in America in the first and second quarter of the 19th century we find among the coin collectors and their cabinets men like Robert E. Bache (d.1834), of Brooklyn, Adam Eckfeldt (1769-1852), of Philadelphia, Lt. Col. Aaron Levy (1771-1852), of New York, Robert Gilmor, Jr., (1774-1848), of Baltimore, Isaiah Quimby Lukens (1775-1846), of Philadelphia, John Allan (1777-1863), of New York, George Nichols (1778-1865), of Salem, David Bailie Warden (1778-1845), Philip Hone (1780-1851), the mayor of New York, Dr. Tobias Watkins (1780-1855), of Washington, D.C., Pierre Flandin (1781-1863), of New York, Joseph Green Cogswell (1786-1871), of Ipswich, and that still of Reuben Haines III (1786-1831) of Wyck in Germantown, Pennsylvania, Christian Jacob Wolle (1788-1863), of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Mahlon Day (1790-1854), of New York, James Thornton (c. 1791-1864), of New York, Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright (1792-1854), of New York, James Scrymgeour (1792-1851), of New York, Judge Edward D. Ingraham (1793-1854), of Philadelphia, John Mumford Woolsey (1794-1870), Cleveland, Ohio, Adam Fickes (1795-1895), of Warrensburg, Missouri, Colonel Mendes Israel Cohen (1796-1879), of Baltimore, Maryland, Charles Cushing Wright (1796-1854), of New York, William Wilson Corcoran (1798-1888), of Georgetown,Aaron White (1798-1886), of Thompson, Connecticut, Joseph Jacob Mickley (1799-1878), of Philadelphia, Judge Gabriel Furman (1800-1854), of Brooklyn, Henry Giles Morris (1800-1854), of Philadelphia, Edward D. Cogan (1803-1884), of Philadelphia, William G. Stearns (1804-1872), of Boston, Alonzo J. Wheeler (1805-1867), of Poughkeepsie, New York, Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger (1805-1876), of New York, Dr. Lewis Roper (c. 1806 -1850), of Philadelphia, Professor Alexander Dallas Bache (1806-1867), of Philadelphia, Joshua Francis Fisher (1807-1873), of Philadelphia, Samuel Portland Chase (1808-1873), of Ohio, Thomas Cleneay (1809-1887), of Cincinnati, Ohio, John Doggett, Jr., (1809-1852),of New York, Louis Borg (1812-1868), of New York, Montroville Wilson Dickeson (1812-1882), of Philadelphia, Benson John Lossing (1813-1891), Poughkeepsie, New York, Jeremiah Colburn (1815-1891), of Boston, Massachusetts, Rev. Jonathan M. Wainwright, D.D., (1816-1854), Rector Grace Church, New York, John W. Wyman, Jr. (1816-1881) of Burlington, New Jersey, Edward August Crowninshield (1817-1859), of Boston, Massachusetts, Rev. Joseph M. Finotti, S.J., (1817-1879), of Virginia, Massachusetts and Colorado, Gustavus A. Nicolls (1817-1886), of Reading, Pennsylvania, Lewis Jacob Cist (1818-1885), of Cincinnati, Ohio, Henry Austin Brady (d. 1854), of New York, Loring Watson (1818-1858), of New York, Robert Lovett, Jr. (1818-1879), of Philadelphia, Matthew T. Miller (1819-1892), of Philadelphia, et alia were among the very first known documented coin collectors in 19th century America.

The fine mahogany and other precious hardwood cabinets were made by the cabinetmakers of the period among them Nathaniel Very (1809-1897), of Salem, who made several well-known coin cabinets for a couple of the founders of the Boston Numismatic Society. Many of the early coin auctions included the coin cabinets of the consignors.

Among these consignors we find such notables as Lewis Roper who included his mahogany coin cases in his landmark sale by Moses Thomas & Son at Philadelphia on February 20, 1851.

The third quarter of the 19th century or seventh wave of coin collectors in America we find Dr. Asher D. Atkinson (1821-1909), of New York, Dr. Henry Cook (1821-1905), of Boston, Massachusetts, William Harvey Strobridge (1822-1898), of Brooklyn, New York, Professor Charles Edward Anthon (1822-1883), of New York, Major Charles Porter Nichols (1822-1905), of Hartford, Connecticut, Dr. Edward M. Field (1822-1887), of Bangor, Maine, John P. Des Forges (1823-1880), of Baltimore, Maryland, Joseph M. Yates (1823-1900), of Sharon, Wisconsin, George Hampden Lovett (1824-1894), of New York, Frank W. Furman (1824-?), of Providence, Rhode Island, Charles Benjamin Norton (1825-1891), of Hartford, Connecticut, William Elliot Woodward (1825-1892), of Roxbury, Massachusetts, Ebenezer Locke Mason, Jr (1826-1901), of Philadelphia, William Fewsmith (1826-1900), of Camden, New Jersey, Charles Ira Bushnell (1826-1883), of New York, William T. Wardell (1827-1911), of Boston, Lorin Gilbert Parmelee (1827-1905), of Boston, Dr. Matthew Rippey Carson (1830-1914), of Canandaigua, New York, James D. Foskett (1830-1870), of New York, Sylvester Sage Crosby (1831-1914), of Boston, Massachusetts, Joseph Florimond Loubat (1831-1927), of New York, Daniel Willard Fiske (1831-1904), of New York, Horace White (1834-1916), of New York, John Martin Clapp (1835-1906) of Tidioute, Pennsylvania, John Griffin Carlisle (1835-1910), New York, Homer Crandell (1836-1912), of Chatham, New York, Frank Henry Norton (1836-1921), of New York, Seth H. Chadbourne (1836-1904), of Boston, Massachusetts, Edouard Frossard (1837-1899), of New York, Benjamin B. Coursin (1837-1913), of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Corporal Lyman C. Wilder (1837-1906), Hoosick Falls, New York, Miss Blanche Nevin (1838-1925), Churchtown, Pennsylvania, Captain John W. Haseltine (1838-1925), James Muhlenberg Bailey (1839-1897), of New York, Harlan Page Smith (1839-1902), of New York, DeWitt Sheldon Smith (1840-1908), of Lee, Massachusetts, Samuel Hensel Zahm (1840-1893), of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Isaac Francis Wood (1841-1895), of Rahway, New Jersey, Colonel Walter Cutting (1841-1907), Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Augustus Benjamin Sage (1841-1874), of New York, William Braddock Clark (1841-1927), of Hartford, Connecticut, Thomas Stephens Collier (1842-1893), of Connecticut, Edmund James Cleveland (1842-1902), of Hartford, Connecticut, Gaston L. Feuardent (1843-1893), of New York, Charles K. Warner (1843-1910), of Philadelphia, Lyman Haynes Low (1844-1924), of New York, Benjamin H. Collins (1845-1928), of Washington, D.C., John Walter Scott (1845-1919), of New York, Dr. George Massamore (1845-1898), of Baltimore, Maryland, Marcellus Littlefield (1847-1923), Woburn, Massachusetts, Rev. Jeremiah Zimmerman (1848-1937), of Syracuse, New York, Erwin G. Ward (1849-1920), of South Weymouth, Massachusetts, William Raymond Weeks (1848-1919), of Montclair, New Jersey, Major William Boerum Wetmore (1849-1919), of Allenhurst, New Jersey, Frederick Alexander Canfield (1849-1926), of Randolph, New Jersey, Henry Allen Chaney (1849-1894), of Detroit, Michigan.

These lists of numismatists given here are only partial and very incomplete drawn up or taken from the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatic Biographies (unpublished), which is a much larger work containing many thousands of entries. As we can see from the above historical outline of numismatists active in America before 1875 there was a far larger landscape than that painted by Emmanuel Joseph Attinelli's book Numisgraphics, which he self-published in 1876. These were the great early numismatist who were born well before the Chapman brothers 1857 and 1859 respectively. The first two hundred and fifty years of the coin collecting world in American from 1615-1865 was very large and healthy and would require an in depth study to be published that will certainly be several volumes in order to be complete. The first effort to do this was by Dave Bowers of Numismatic Hall of Fame, who, in 1998, published his landmark book, American Numismatics Before the Civil War 1760-1860.


The collecting and study of seals and signets has also been an American archaeological pass time of the field of philately, that is, the first subdivision in sigillography, the domain of stamping devices and their impressions dating to 7,000 B.C. , and postal history, 3,200 B. C. The other two subdivisions of sigillography are numismatics and the fine and decorative arts.


The collecting and study of stamps issued by governments for postage or taxation together with envelopes and postcards in their various forms also took root in America about the same time coin collecting became the rage about 1860, and later on postal history. Eigteenth and nineteenth century scholars and collectors accumulated old mail correspondence collections. Mason's Coin and Stamp Collectors Magazine offered old correspondence letters written by famous Revolutionary War generals, presidents, signers of the Declaration of Independence, and old Continental Congress correspondence. Apparently old mail was a collectible in the 1860's.


The collecting of picture postcards became a craze about the same time coin collecting became a rage in America about 1860.

C. Curiosities

The collecting of curiosities and fascination with the odd and unusual have always been a favorite sport and form of recreation especially so in those ages before television and cinema. During the 19th century this genre reached its height during the Romantic Period of Art and the development of Ethnographic Museums that housed the exotic, foreign and unusual of art and culture of foreign peoples living far outside of the European tradition. This sense of fondness for the odd and curios reached America as well with showmen such as P.T. Barnum and his circus providing tantalizing exhibits. In the field of numismatics we find 19th century coin dealers like Robert Waldon Mercer (1840-1894) the proud owner of The Curio Store, 147 Central Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio, who sold many curiosities including carved pagan idols from exotic lands besides the typical Indian relics, and coins.


[1] James Delbourgo, Review of Susan Scott Parrish, American Curiosity: Cultures of Natural History in the Colonial British Atlantic World in William and Mary

Quarterly, Volume LXIII, Number 4.

[2] McKay, George Leslie (1895-1976) American Book Auction Catalogues, 1713-1934 : a union list (1937). See also Joel J. Orosz, The Eagle that is Forgotten.

(Wolfeboro, 1988) : 18-19

[3] Q. David Bowers, American Numismatics Before the Civil War 1760-1860 (Wolfeboro, New Hampshire : Bowers & Merena Galleries, Inc, 1998) : 21-23

[4] Historical Magazine : Notes and Queries, Vol. 10, August (1866) : 262

Bibliography :

Historical Magazine : Notes and Queries, Vol. 10, August (1866) : 262

Harrold Edgar Gillingham, “An Eighteenth century Coin Collection,” The Numismatist, Vol. XLVII, No. 11, November (1934) : 723

Edwin G. Conklin, "The Early History of the American Naturalist," The American Naturalist, (1942)

Josef Pieper, Muße und Kultur (München:Kösel-Verlag, 1948); Leisure, the Basis of Culture. Translated by Alexander Dru. With an introduction by

T. S. Eliot. (London: Faber and Faber, 1952).

Gordon R. Wiley and Philip Phillips, Method and Theory in American Archaeology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957)

Pete Smith, “American Numismatic Pioneers : An Index to Sources,” Asylum Vol. XXII, No. 3, Consecutive Issue No. 87, Summer (2004) : 279;

Joel J. Orosz, The Eagle that is Forgotten. (Wolfeboro, 1988) : 18-19

Robert L. Goldstone and Benjamin C. Ashpole, "Human foraging behavior in a virtual environment," Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Vol. 11, No. 3 (2004) : 508-514

Susan Scott Parrish, American Curiosity: Cultures of Natural History in the Colonial British Atlantic World (Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2006)

Janelle A. Schwartz and Nhora Lucia Serrano, eds., Curious Collectors, Collected Curiosities: An Interdisciplinary Study. (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010)



The Fifteenth Century

European explorers navigate to the West Indies, Caribbean, North and South American Continents. The earliest settlements during the 15th century in the New World were in Newfoundland, the Caribbean and Venezuela, South America.

In 1465 Konrad Sweynheim and Arnold Pannartz cast the first Greek type at the Subiaco Monastery, Italy. Type die casting and making puncheons

or die punches for coins are aspects of the same art. Because of this inextricable relationship between book printing type and coin minting puncheons

we find the link between printed matter, books, and coins and collecting them as well. For this reason we find both printed books, and coins are the

first two items in every collector's curiosities cabinet's inventory beginning from their first appearance in the last half of the 15th century. This naturally

lead to Guillaume Budé's De Asse et Partibus (1514), to be the first book on coins printed just 60 years after the invention of the printing press and 49

years after the first printed Greek book. It attempted to explain the monetary system of antiquity for the collector in order to make better sense of

their collection and attain a greater appreciation for both knowledge and personal pleasure and enjoyment. It wasn't until the 19th century that

the word amusement began be the synonym of curiosity tying together the meaning of the words knowledge, and personal pleasure, and enjoyment.

Both words "amusement" and "curiosity" best explain the culture of the numismatist being that of profound enthusiastic interest and pondering

wherein the qualities of joy and pleasure were not actually disparate or separate items from that of learning, but rather, both fruits and aspects of it.

"Happy, intense absorption in any work, which is to be brought as near to perfection as possible, this is a state of being with God, and the men who have not known it have missed life itself." - D. H. Lawrence

In this quote from D. H. Lawrence we see the very notion described the very notion of what coin collecting had always been up until the last half

of the 20th century when coin collecting as a hobby began to slowly morph away from the culture of an astute reflective gentleman to that of a mass

commercial business fueling an alarming and ever increasing number of small cliques of heavily invested passive-aggressive brutally competitive

collectors. Coin collecting had always been a hobby of enjoyment through learning, and learning by reading, discussions, and careful study and

reflection, so much so, that one could right call it "the Zen of numismatics". Let us all begin today to have a rebirth of the traditional American

school of coin collecting and be authentic brothers and sisters, gentleman and ladies, friends and colleagues and both support and encourage one

another to enjoy the hobby as it can be to the maximum the old fashioned way through studying not only the physical coins and their designs but

the history and meaning of these pieces and draw lessons from them for life. The study of money reminds us of the humbling fact we need money

to survive. Basic human needs require money and as a community some of the members supply goods and services to meet its needs. As a

community we should all strive toward a solidarity living and working together for equality and justice. When greed enters the mind of those

who supply goods and services to communities and when the community leaders begin to abuse their common treasuries for their personal use

a disequilibrium brings with it social injustice and social injustice breeds contempt, hatred, crime, and tremendous harm to our world.

Numismatics reminds us of that the higher ideals demand heroic action and that the call of numismatics is the call to stand for truth, honor,

justice and integrity.

In 1476 one of the first books printed in Greek was the Grammatica Graeca of Constantine Lascaris (Greek Grammar of Lascaris) at Milan.

Greek and Latin Grammars will be brought to America introducing the study of these ancient languages together with their respective coins

among the earliest American colonists who were the earliest coin collectors. Ezekiel Cheever produced the first known Latin grammar book

published in America in 1645 at New Haven, Connecticut. The subject of "grammar" in colonial schools in America meant the study of Greek

and Latin grammar, not English. It was in the early Federal Period that American schools began to study English grammar.


In 1492, First Voyage, Christopher Columbus lands bringing his entourage of men who undoubtedly brought their coinages then circulating from their homelands as well as ancient Roman coins carried by the educated men like Columbus himself. The first Bibles brought to the Americas were the Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate Bibles brought by the missionary priests who accompanied Columbus. On October 12, 1492 Columbus landed somewhere in the Bahamas on an island usually identified as either Watling Island or San Salvador. On October 18, Columbus lands in Cuba. December 6, Columbus lands in Haiti, La Española or Hispaniola. Forty-five years later coins would begin to be minted in the New World and four years after that the first printed book.

In 1493, September 25, Second Voyage, Columbus landed in the Caribbean Islands of Marie-Galante, Guadeloupe and sighting many others including Puerto Rico, Dominica and Jamaica. Columbus discovers the pineapple coves in Guadeloupe.

In 1494, June 7, Spain and Portugal divide the New World by the Treaty of Tordesillas.

In 1496, Henry VII commissions Venetian navigator John Cabot (1450-1498) to discover new trade route to Asia.

In 1496, Fra Romano Pane describes native Haitians use of tobacco as ground snuff inhaled from a tube of cane.

In 1497, John Cabot lands in Labrador, Newfoundland.

In 1498, Third Voyage, Columbus, August 1, 1498, Christopher Columbus, first set foot on the mainland of the South American continent. He had sailed into the Gulf of Paria and landed on the Paria Peninsula, Venezuela, thinking he landed on an island he named it Isla Santa. He also landed and off the coast the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Sixteenth Century

Europeans begin to colonize the North American Continent establishing settlements. Fifty three years after Columbus discovered the New World a Mint was established in Mexico City, Mexico.


In 1500, Pedro Cabal claims Brazil for Portugal.

In 1501, Rodrigo de Bastides explores the coast of Panama.

In 1501, Gaspar Corte-Real lands in Greenland.

In 1502, João Fernandes of the Anglo-Portuguese syndicate sails to North America. A Portuguese map is created that shows North America for the first time.

In 1502, Fourth Voyage, Columbus lands in St. Lucia, Honduras, Costa Rica, Central America and then to Panama.

In 1503, the Colonial Office of American Affairs established in Spain.

Fig. Martin Waldseemüller, Wall Map (Detail) Courtesy Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

In 1507, Martin Waldseemüller, Cosmographiae introductio, calls the New World "America" after Amerigo Vespucci. Waldseemüller was a German cartographer working at Saint Die, Lorraine.

In 1508, Juan Ponce de Lyon explores and colonises Puerto Rico.


In 1510, American east coast navigated discovered up to the Charleston.

In 1510, Wampum beads produced in New York were probably not originally used as money.

In 1510, Vasco de Balboa lands in Panama.

In 1511, Diego de Velasquez de Cuellar occupies Cuba.

In 1513, Ponce de Leon landed in Florida.

In 1513, Vasco de Balboa crosses the Isthmus of Panama and discovers the Pacific Ocean.

In 1514, Diego de Velasquez de Cuellar makes Santiago the capital of Cuba.

In 1516, Juan Díaz de Solís reached the mouth of the Rio de la Plata sailing up river to the confluence of the Uruguay River and Paraná River in South America.

In 1517, Hernando Cortes lands in the Yucatan.

In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan sails along East Coast of South America around the Falkland Islands and the to the Philippine Islands.

In 1519, Hernando Cortes begins his conquest of Mexico. Domenico de Pineda explores the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Vera Cruz.


In 1521, Francisco de Gordillo explores the east coast of America to South Carolina.

In 1522, Spanish conquistadors conquer Guatemala. Pascuel de Andagoya leads expedition from Panama and discovers Peru.

In 1524, Giovanni di Verranzano discovers the Northwest Passage at New York Bay and the Hudson River.

In 1527, Sebastian Cabot builds the fort of Santa Espiritu in Paraguay.

In 1529, Franciscan missionaries build mission churches and buildings in Mexico under the leadership of Fra Bernardino da Sahagún.


In 1531, Nicolas Villegagnon discovers Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In 1532, sugar cane begins to be cultivated in Brazil for the first time.

In 1532, Francisco Pizarro landed in Peru.

In 1533 Lucio Marineo Siculo (1460-1533) reported in Cosas memorables de Espana, lib. XIX, fol. 161 that when Bishop Johan de Quevedo,

OFM, was in charge of the gold mines a Spanish miner discovered a Roman gold coin of Caesar Augustus in a gold mine in Panama. This

was given to an Archbishop envoy to the Pope who brought it to Rome giving it to the Pope. (See also 1535 and 1579)

In 1534, Jacques Cartier sails in Canada along the St. Lawrence River.

In 1535, the First North American Continent Mint was established in Central America or the southernmost isthmian region in Mexico City,

Mexico, under Spanish rule called La Casa de Moneda de México.

In 1535 Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes, Historia general y natural de las Indias, Book 29, Chapter 30, refutes Lucio Marineo

Siculo’s claim arguing that he was there when Johan de Quevedo, OFM, was in charge of the gold mines and if there was such a discovery

he would have been the first to know. He then provides his view that Lucio Marineo wrote naively about Roman history more like a novel

than a serious history, to add credence that Siculo was wrong in the report about the coin's discovery.

In 1536, Pedro de Mendoza founds the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina and sends an expedition to find a route to Peru.

In 1538, Gerardus Mercator produces a map of North America.

In 1538, Bogotá, Colombia founded by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada.

In 1539, Hernando de Soto explores Florida and discovers the Mississippi River.

In 1539, Spain annexes Cuba.

In 1539, the first printing press was set up in Mexico City by Giovanni Paoli and he printed the first book in the North American

Continent La escala espirtual de San Juan Clímaco.

In 1539, Olaus Magnus writes Carta marina et Descriptio septemtrionalium terrarum ac mirabilium rerum in eis contentarum, diligentissime elaborata

Anno Domini 1539 Veneciis liberalitate Reverendissimi Domini Ieronimi Quirini, which translates as "A Marine map and Description of the Northern

Lands and of their Marvels, most carefully drawn up at Venice in the year 1539 through the generous assistance of the Most Honourable Lord and Patriarch Hieronymo Quirino".


In 1540, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado travels in the Southwest.

In 1540, the Grand Canyon in Arizona is discovered by García López de Cárdenas.

In 1541, Cornado leads an expedition from New Mexico across Texas, Oklahoma, and eastern Kansas.

In 1541, expedition to find El Dorado, Venezuela led by Francisco de Orellana.

In 1544, the silver mines of Potosí, Bolivia were discovered.

In 1548, Gonzalo Pizarro, son of Francisco Pizarro is executed by Pedro de la Gasca at the Battle of Xaquixaguane, Peru.

In 1548, silver mines of Zaatecar, Mexico are mined by the Spanish colonists.

In 1549, Jesuit missionaries work throughout South America.


In 1553, Pedro de Cieza de León writes, Crónicas del Perú "Chronicle of Peru".

In 1555, French colony established on the Bay of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In 1555, Admiral John Hawkins heads his first voyage to the West Indies and Caribbean at Santo Domingo.

In 1556, Philip II, "King of the New World" medal was cast in silver (Betts No. 1 & 2, Herrera 6, Van Loon, Supp. I, No. 8) Subsequent

medals were made in 1559 and 1570 (Betts Nos. 3-8).


In 1562, French explorer Jean Ribault sails in St. John's River, Florida. The French attempt to colonize Florida.

In 1563, Hubert Goltzius (1526-1583) published a list of 978 coin collectors and numismatic scholars whom he visited in Italy 1558-1560.

In 1564, Admiral John Hawkins heads his second voyage to Borburata on the Venezuelan coast.

In 1565, St. Augustine, Florida established.

In 1565, September 8, St. Augustine, Florida, Pedro Menendez de Aviles celebrated the first Thanksgiving feast in America with a Mass among the Timucua Indians. Afterwards they dined on bean soup.

In 1567, Fort San Juan established near Morganton, North Carolina.

In 1567, Admiral John Hawkins heads his third voyage accompanied by Sir Francis Drake to the West Indies at Dominica, Margarita Island and Borburata on the Venezuelan coast.

In 1568, the first South American Continent Mint was established in Lima, Peru.


In 1570, Abraham Ortelius publishes Theatrum orbis terrarum, the first modern atlas comprised of 53 maps.

In 1572, Sir Francis Drake attacks Spanish harbors in America.

In 1573, the second South American Continent Mint was established in Potosí, Bolivia.

In 1576, the English navigator Martin Frobisher (1535-1594) discovers Frobisher Bay, Canada.

In 1579, Sir Francis Drake claims New Albion, California for England.

In 1579, Antoine Le Pois discovered a Roman bronze coin of Augustus in Brazil.


In 1580, Medal of Sir Francis Drake Voyage (Betts No. 9)

In 1580, woodcut bookplates mounted in books printed at Mexico City for the Jesuits.

In 1581, Medal of the Portuguese Possessions in America Transferred to Spain (Betts Nos. 10-11).

In 1581, Medal of Philip II "King of the New Western World" (Betts 12)

In 1581, Medal "Spain Mistress of the World" with symbols of East to West, i.e., the East = Camel and West = Indian (Betts Nos. 13-14).

In 1582, Gregorian Calendar is adopted throughout most of Europe except England and the British Colonies in America where the Julian Calendar persisted

until 1752.

In 1582, Richard Hakluyt (1552-1616) published Divers Voyages Touching the Discovery of America.

In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh discovers and annexes Virginia.

In 1584, Medal of Raleigh's Plantation (Betts No. 15)

In 1585, Sir Francis Drake sacked Santo Domingo and Cartagena, Colombia at the behest of Queen Elizabeth I.

In 1585, John Davis discovers Davis Strait between Canada and Greenland.

In 1587, Richard Hakluyt published Notable History, Containing Four Voyages made by Certain French Captains into Florida.

In 1589, Richard Hakluyt published The Principall Navigations and Discoveries of the English Nation.


In 1595, Sir Walter Raleigh explores 300 miles of the Orinoco River in search for El Dorado, Venezuela.

In 1596, First Medals of American Commerce (Betts Nos. 16-17)

In 1597, English Act of Parliament prescribes sentences of transportation to colonies for convicted criminals.

In 1598, Medal/Jeton of the Voyages to America (Betts 18)

In 1598, Don Juan Onate, at Texas, declared April 30th "Thanksgiving Day" to be commemorated with a Mass and followed by a dinner.

In 1599, Medal of the Capture of Saint Thomas (Betts No. 19)

In 1599, Medal of Islands of Bommel and Thiel (Betts No. 20)

The Seventeenth Century.

There were only two colleges established in in America during the 17th century. Each was established as a seminary to teach and preach the Gospels so that the youth could be piously educated in good letters and manners. These faculties were the first numismatic experts in the country having been educated and trained in England where it was customary for students to amass coin collections of ancient coins to accompany their studies.

1. Harvard College, founded by Rev. John Harvard (1607-1638) established in 1635 at "Newtowne" (Cambridge), Massachusetts. The Harvard College faculty including Rev. John Harvard were the first experts on Greek and Roman coinages and their collections formed the primary coin collections in America of the period beginning with Rev. Henry Dunster (1609-1659), the first president. William Pierce began publishing, An Almanack for 1639, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, printed by Stephen Daye (1610-1668). Daye took over the publication until 1645 followed by Samuel Danforth from 1646 to 1649, and Stephen's son Matthew Daye became the printer beginning in 1647. After Daye we find Samuel Greene working as the printer beginning in 1649. In 1661, we find M. Johnson as the assistant to Samuel Greene. These Almanacks became an important resource in the colonies for coin exchange rates by weight and Coin Type giving the regional equivalencies to the Pound Sterling. In 1652, the Massachusetts Bay Colony took matters into their own hands authorizing a mint and appointing John Hull as the Master of the Mint. The General Court invited the colonists to bring their Spanish and plate to Mr. Hull to fashion them into New England coinage eliminating the need for exchange calculations and worry if the coins were good. Besides coins other important collectibles were also acquired and organized into collections and arranged in curio cabinets including art works, rare books, sea shells, minerals, cut and engraved gemstones, Indian relics, fossils, bird's eggs and nests, insects, flora, and curiosities.

There is a very close relationship between the printing press and the coin press since both are similar in mechanics and in function by stamping or impressing designs and typography, the former on paper, the latter on metal. Whereas the two are the same for paper currency. Therefore, it is very clear and apparent that the American colonies had the means to produce coinages by the late 1630's since that is when we find the first printing press set up in operation. It is rather curious that neither the name Stephen Daye, Matthew Daye, Samuel Greene, nor M. Johnson the mechanical technicians and printers who could cast letter type and operate a press have not yet received any association with the very first coinages by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in September 1652.

2. William and Mary College, established in 1693 at Williamsburg, Virginia. Thomas Ballard ran the school for educating the youth in Greek and Latin.

St. John's College was founded as King William's School, Annapolis, Maryland in 1696.

Fig. 3 Ezekiel Cheever (1614-1708) teaches in New England Latin Schools and most probably brought his collection of ancient Roman coins.

There were four high schools established in America in New England during the 17th century :

1. The Boston Latin School, established in1635 at Boston, Massachusetts.

2. Rev. Thomas Hooker (1586-1647) opens a Latin School (later called Hartford Public School), established in 1638 at Hartford Connecticut. Rev. Hooker undoubtedly brought his collection of ancient coins to America.

3. Master Elijah Corlett (1609-1686) opened his "Lattin Schoole" later on called the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, established in 1648, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Corlett certainly must have brought his collection of ancient coins to America.

4. Hopkins Academy, established in 1664 at Hadley, Massachusetts by a charitable trust fund bequeathed by Edward Hopkins (d. 1657), who died in England. Hopkins appointed in his will Rev. John Davenport (1597-1670), Theophilus Eaton (1590-1658), John Cullick (d. 1662) and William Goodwin (1591-1673) as trustees. In 1742, Josiah Pierce taught Latin and Greek at the Hopkins Academy.

There was a Puritan-Anglican academy established in the Virginia Colony in 1611 and chartered in 1619 at Henricus, called Henricus Colledge.

In addition to the early Colonial coinages of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and Sommer Islands, Lord Baltimore coinage in Maryland, American Plantation Tokens,

Virginia Halfpennies, Elephant Tokens, New York Tokens, there were Spanish, French, Dutch, Portugese, English, Irish, and other foreign coinages circulated and were collected by the earliest numismatists in the North American colonies.


In 1602, Medal of Holland Covets Spanish America (Betts No. 21)

In 1603, Samuel de Champlain sails in Canada and discovers Lake Huron and Lake Champlain.

In 1605, Barbados, West Indies claimed as an English colony.

In 1605, Santa Fe, New Mexico founded.

In 1606, Virginia Company of London founded by the London Company granted a royal charter sending 120 colonists to Virginia.

In 1607, the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, being the first English settlement on the American mainland.

In 1608, Jesuit State of Paraguay established.

In 1608, Samuel de Champlain founds a French settlement at Quebec.

In 1608, Captain John Smith writes A True Relation of Virginia.

In 1608, the first checks "cash letters" used in the Netherlands. Bills of credit will be introduced in America by 1690 at Connecticut and in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

In 1609, Henry Hudson sailed into Nova Scotia, Delaware Bay and discovered the Hudson River.

In 1609, Dutch East India Company imports tea from China into Europe.


In 1610, the first English settlement at Newfoundland.

In 1610, Thomas West made governor of Virginia.

In 1610, Henry Hudson sailed through Hudson Straits and discovers Hudson Bay.

In 1612, John Smith produces A Map of Virginia. Tobacco is first cultivated at Virginia.

In 1612, Colonization of Bermuda from Virginia.

In 1612, Dutch use Manhattan as fur trading center.

In 1612, The Company of Merchants of London, Discoverers of the North-West Passage was formed.

In 1613, English colonists in Virginia destroy French settlements in Port Royal, Nova Scotia and prevent French colonization of Maryland.

In 1613, Samuel de Champlain explores Ottawa River to Alumette Island.

In 1614, Virginian colonists prevent French settlements in Maine and Nova Scotia.

In 1614, Pocahontas (1595-1617) marries John Rolfe.

In 1614, Adriaen Block explores Long Island Sound.

In 1614, Cornelius Jacobsen Mey explores the Lower Delaware.

In 1615, Sommer Islands Copper or "Hogge Money" struck as Twopence, Threepence, Sixpence and Shillings from an English Mint were the first English coins minted for the British territory of Bermuda, North Atlantic Ocean, off the East Coast of North America 640 miles from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Hernando de Soto in 1539 brought 13 swine to Tampa Bay, Florida the first one to raise hogs in the New World in the 1530's some 75 years earlier.

In 1616, Sir Walter Raleigh released from prison in the Tower of London to lead an expedition to Guiana in search of El Dorado.

In 1616, William Baffin (1584-1622) discovers Baffin Bay searching for the Northwest Passage.

In 1618, New Jersey was first settled by the Dutch.

In 1619, first representative colonial assembly in America held at Jamestown, Virginia under Governor Sir George Yeardley. First African slaves brought into America at Virginia.


In 1620, Massachusetts Plymouth Colony was established by the Mayflower Pilgrims and John Carver (1576-1621) made the first governor.

In 1620, the third South American Continent Mint was established in Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia.

In 1621, Sir Francis Wyatt arrives as new governor of Virginia.

In 1621, English continue to attempt to colonize Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

In 1621, Dutch East India Company acquires North American coast from Chesapeake Bay to Newfoundland.

In 1622, William Bradford (1589-1657) made governor of Plymouth Colony.

In 1622, Sir Ferdinando Gorges (1566-1647) and John Mason (1586-1637) obtain the grant of land of Maine. New Hampshire was founded as a colony within

the state of Maine by English colonists headed by David Thomas at Little Harbor, near Rye..

In 1623, Pennsylvania was settled by the Dutch and Swedes.

In 1624, New York was established as "New Netherlands" by the Dutch West India Company.

In 1624, Virginia made a crown colony and the Virginia Company is dissolved. Sir Francis Wyatt renamed as governor.

In 1624, Captain John Smith writes, A General Historie of Virginia, New England and the Summer Islands.

In 1624, Medal of Peru and Brazil, Dutch Naval Victories (Betts No. 22)

In 1625, French occupy South American Antilles and Cayenne.

In 1625, English settlement at Barbados under William Courteen.

In 1626, English settlement at St. Christophers, Leward-Islands.

In 1627, Wampum introduced in New York as money by French traders and then passed into Plymouth Colony.

In 1627, English settlement at Barbuda, Leward-Islands.

In 1628, English settlement at Nevis, Leward-Islands.

1628 the first mail of Rev. Jonas Michaelius was shipped from Manhattan to the Netherlands

In 1628, Medal of Captured Treasure of Matanzas Bay, Cuba (Betts No. 23-29)

In 1629, New Hampshire Colony independent from Maine.

In 1629, Medal of the Capture of Pernambuco (Betts Mo. 30-31)


Fig. 4. The Boston Latin School, established in 1635 at Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1630, September, Massachusetts Bay Colony was established by the Puritans under John Winthrop (1587-1649).

In 1631, Medal of the Victory at the Bay of All Saints (Betts No. 32)

In 1631, Medal of the Dutch Naval Victory in America (Betts No. 33)

In 1632, English settlement at Montserrat, Leward-Islands.

In 1634, Maryland, was granted to Lord Baltimore, which was first settled the year prior.

In 1635, Connecticut was founded by John Winthrop, Jr. at Fort Saybrook.

In 1635, Rev. John Norton brought to Plymouth Colony a copy of St. Augustine's Opuscula (Venice, 1491).

In 1636, Rhode Island Colony was founded.

In 1637, Wampum legalized in New England as money by the Massachusetts General Court for debts under a shilling. Connecticut then allowed wampum as payment for taxes.

In 1638, Delaware was founded by the Swedes.

In 1638, Aquidneck Island at Rhode Island was settled by the English.

In 1638, New Haven Colony was founded.

In 1639, the second printing press set up in the North American Continent provided the first printing in British North America.

William Pierce began publishing, An Almanack for 1639, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, printed by Stephen Daye. 1639 Massachusetts Bay Colony created the first British North American Colonial Post Office

The first postal route established in America at Boston, Massachusetts by court order of the Massachusetts General Court, that governed the Massachusetts Bay Colony, ordered Richard Fairbanks’ house at Boston as the site for letters to be brought for delivery.

In 1639, Juan de Palafox y Mendoza (1600-1659) was appointed the first bishop of the Spanish colony of Los Angeles, Mexico.


In 1640, the first book published in colonial British North America, The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre, was printed by

Stephen Daye at the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

In 1641, New Hampshire Colony was annexed by Massachusetts.

In 1645, Ezekiel Cheever (1614-1708) published Accidence: A Short Introduction to the Latin Tongue. Cheever certainly brought his ancient Roman coins

from England to his home at New Haven, Connecticut.

In 1646, St. Patrick Halfpence struck in Ireland. They will be imported into America in 1681.

In 649, Ezekiel Cheever published A Short Introduction to the Latin Tongue For the Use of the Lower Forms in the Latin School. (Boston, 1649)


In 1650, English settlement at Anguilla, Leward-Islands.

In 1651, the Navigation Act prohibited the manufacture of porcelain and other forms of chinaware trade within the British colonies requiring them to

purchase Asian goods from English merchants.

In 1652, Massachusetts Bay Colony established the second North American Continent Mint and minted NE Threepence, Sixpence and Shillings and Pine Tree and Willow Tree Threepence, Sixpence and Shillings, and Oak Tree Sixpence and Shillings.

In 1653, North Carolina was founded.

In 1655, Delaware is seized by the Dutch.

In 1658, Lord Baltimore coinage struck, Penny, Groat, Sixpence, and Shillings.


In 1661, Henry Bishop invented the postmark a circle consisted of a small circle of 13 mm diameter, bisected horizontally, with the month (in serifed lettering), abbreviated to two letters, in the upper half and the day of the month in the lower half.

In 1662, New Haven Colony annexed to Connecticut and the state was granted a royal charter.

In 1662, Massachusetts Bay Colony Minted Silver Oak Tree Twopence.

In 1663 British Post Office established in Barbados

In 1663, Rhode Island granted a royal charter by King Charles II.

In 1663, Wampum was demonetized in New England Colonies.

In 1663, Carolina was separated from Virginia and granted to a private company.

In 1664, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware were seized from the Dutch by the British. New Netherlands is renamed as New York.

In 1665, Jamaica was settled by the English

In 1666, English settlement at Antigua, Leward-Islands.

In 1668, New Yorke in America Copper Token struck.

Arnoldus Montanus, De Nieuwe en Onbekende Weereld (Jacob van Meurs, 1671)


In 1670, South Carolina was founded.

In 1670, French Copper Double Deniers, 6 Deniers, 9 Deniers, 12 Deniers, 30 Deniers, 5 Sols, 15 Sols, were struck for American Novelle France.

In 1672, the Bahama-Islands were settled by the English.

In 1672, Father Marquette and Louis Joliet explore the Northern Mississippi River.

In 1672, English Copper Halfpence become imported in America.

In 1672, the first interstate postal route established from Boston to New York City.

In 1678, Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin, The Buccaneers of America (Amsterdam, 1678)

In 1679, New Hampshire Colony became independent.


In 1680, the Irish Copper St. Patrick Halfpence have been cried down to value of a Farthing in England.

In 1681, Pennsylvania was granted to William Penn by charter of Charles II.

In 1681, Mark Newby imported St. Patrick Halfpence cried down to value of a Farthing in England bringing them into West New Jersey having them circulate as Halfpence.

In 1682, Robert LaSalle claims the mouth of the Mississippi River for France.

In 1682, Delaware was granted to William Penn.

In 1683, William Penn established Pennsylvania's first post office.

In 1683, Charles Pickering, Samuel Buckley, and Robert Fenton, are put to their trial "for putting away bad money", among the earliest known counterfeiters in America.

In 1688, American Plantation Tokens struck.


In 1690, September 25, the first American newspaper Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, was printed by Benjamin Harris at Boston,

Massachusetts, but lasted only four days.

In 1690, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in Connecticut in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

In 1691, the Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony were united as Massachusetts and annexed the territory of the state of Maine.

In 1692, Thomas Neale was granted a patent for 21 years to establish Post Offices throughout the colonies of Maryland, Delaware, New Yorke, New England, East & West Jersey, Pennsylvania, and as far North as the Colonies territory is set.

In 1693, Father Jean Baptist Labat, a Dominican friar at Paris was professor of philosophy at Nancy, France and teaches Greek and Latin classics in America as a missionary until 1705.

In 1694, Elephant Tokens struck.

In 1698, Tin Farthings and Halfpence of James II circulate in Philadelphia thought to be pewter and were denied as currency.

In 1698, Dutch East India Company granted monopoly by English Parliament on imports of tea.

Bibliography :

Roger Moore, Colonial Coin Collector's Club Newsletter (C4N) Vol 15, No 1.

Q. David Bowers, Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins (Atlanta, Georgia : Whitman Publishing, 2009)

Philip Mossman, Money of the American Colonies and Confederation

The Eighteenth Century.

During the last two decades of the 18th century we find a rise of American historical and scientific consciousness concretized in institutional establishments like the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1780), the American Museum of Natural History (1782), the Society of the Cincinnati, and the Massachusetts Historical Society (1791). With this rise in social consciousness of America's past during these two decades we also find concomitant with them the collecting of earlier coinages of America and foreign circulating coinages in America as heirlooms of the past. Nostalgia became an important impetus to these late 18th century collectors who are the ones responsible for conserving the higher grade Colonial coinages for without them there would not have been a single mint or near mint condition specimen preserved. Moreover, the first Greek and Latin grammars for the schools were printed in America stimulating and perpetuating the collecting of ancient Greek and Latin coins among American schoolboys. We also find during this same period the emergence of one of the first known American coin auctions of the late Pierre Eugène Du Simitière sold posthumously in 1785.

On August 23, 1712, fifteen Harvard students signed a "Declaration Not to Speak in the Vernacular for One Year" but rather only to speak in Latin, Greek or Hebrew. The students were Benjamin Bass (1694-1756), Samuel Checkley (1696-1769), Samuel Danforth (1696-1777), Leonard Dowding (1695-1714), Jonathan Dowse (1695-1718), Thomas Foxcroft (1697-1769), Calvin Galpine (?), Ebenezer Gay (1696-1787), John Maylem (1695-1742), Jonathan Pierpont (1695-1758), Nathaniel Prentice (d.1737), Nathaniel Sparhawk (d.1732), John Thomas (1696-1737), Samuel Spear (1696-1745), and Benjamin Webb (1695-1746). It can reasonably be surmised that these fifteen Harvard students collected Ancient Greek and Roman coins.

During the eighteenth century United States coin collecting was mainly taken up by those who could afford to hoard the various coinages minted including the new Gloucester Courthouse Tokens, Higley Coppers, Pitt Tokens, Rhode Island Ship Medals, John Chalmers coinages, there was also the new Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey and New York state coinages of the early Federal Period and Nova Constellatio Pattern Pieces, Immune Columbia Pieces, Confederatio Coppers, and New Hampshire Tokens. Besides these other tokens were in circulation including the Auctori Plebis Tokens, Mott Store Cards, Standish Barry Threepence, Albany Church Pennies, Kentucky Tokens, Bar Cents, Franklin Press Tokens, Talbot, Alum & Lee Cents, Myddelton Tokens, Castorland Medals, New York Theatre Tokens, and Washington Pieces. During the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence the Continental Congress minted its own currency "Continental Currency", which was probably the equivalent of the British Pound. Also, they minted a copper coinage "Fugio Coppers". After the establishment of the U. S. Mint in 1792 early experimental pieces for a smaller cent have a central silver plug, and the larger copper "Birch Cent", Half-Disme, and Disme and Liberty Head Quarter were minted in small quantities purely as pattern specimens, not in any quantity intended for circulation. After 1793 the regular Federal coinages began offering collectors the opportunity to add to their repertoire the newly minted shiny coins with their original luster creating "Coin Type" sets.


In 1701, Yale University was founded as the Collegiate School in the Connecticut Colony.

In 1703, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in South Carolina.

In 1704, June, Queen Anne enacts "A Proclamation" regulating the values of foreign coins in the British colonies and Plantations in America fixing the value of the Spanish piece of eight at 6 shillings. This regulation appears to have been intended as a rate of exchange set by the English Crown for the English Treasury in trade with the colonies. It seems that the colonies did not perceive this as a regulation to be imposed on themselves but only when trading with England. Consequently the Spanish piece of eight continued to be evaluated and exchanged at varying rates from colony to colony.

In 1704, the second American newspaper, The Boston News-Letter, was published by John Campbell, postmaster. It will run until 1776.

In 1709, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in Connecticut.

In 1709, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in New Hampshire.

In 1709, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in New Jersey.

In 1709, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in New York.


In 1710, Queen Anne established the British Post Offices in the American Colonies

In 1710, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in Rhode Island.

In 1711, Carolina was divided into two Colonies, North and South.

In 1711, Henry Bishop's postmark of 1661 was modified being inverted with the circle now measuring 14 mm diameter, bisected horizontally, having the day of the month

in the upper half, and the month (in serifed lettering), abbreviated to two letters lower half.

In 1712, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in North Carolina.

In 1712, the earliest known auction at Boston at the Sign of the Star in Hanover Street that sold artwork in the forms of paintings and prints.

In 1712, August 23, Harvard students sign a "Declaration Not to Speak in the Vernacular for One Year" but rather only to speak in Latin, Greek or Hebrew.

In 1714, Gloucester Courthouse Tokens were first struck.

In 1718, books in Greek and Latin were sold at auction in Boston.

In 1719, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in Louisiana.

In 1719, the American Mercury Weekly one of America's first newspapers becomes a regular weekly issue.


In 1721, The New England Courant, a newspaper published at Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1721, Act of Parliament that British colonies in North America could only purchase imported tea from English tea merchants selling it at Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston.

In 1722, Rosa Americana Coppers struck as Halfpence, Pence, Twopence.

In 1722, La Gaceta de México, the first newspaper published in Latin America at Mexico City, Mexico.

In 1723, Hibernia Coppers struck.

In 1723, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in Delaware.

In 1723, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in Pennsylvania.

In 1727, Benjamin Franklin was the first to initiate a society or club at Philadelphia called the Junto or Leather Apron Club.

In 1729, Carolinas were made a royal province.

In 1729, Benjamin Franklin published, A Modest Inquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper-Currency.


In 1730, first Jewish synagog erected at New York

In 1731, the Library Company of Philadelphia is founded by Benjamin Franklin, which soon houses the first real public museum in America,

including a collection of ancient coins.

In 1733, Georgia was founded.

In 1733, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in Maryland.

In 1735, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in Georgia.

In 1735, imitation Lima Gold Doubloons circulate in America.

In 1736, Thomas Prince (1687-1758) publishes his first volume of his Chronological History of New-England.

In 1737, Higley Coppers I Am Good Copper first struck at East Granby, Connecticut.

In 1738, Numismatic literature began to be sold at auction in America.

In 1739, Higley Coppers I Cut My Way Through were struck.


On April 25, 1740, Francis Wilks and Christopher Kilby petitioned Parliament in Great Britain to issue paper money for Massachusetts-Bay Colony and an act was granted to do so.

On July 30, 1740, Massachusetts Bay Colony issued an Article : "The Stock of Bills to be emitted shall be to the value of One Hundred and

Fifty Thousand Pounds lawful Money, equal to Silver Coin at six Shillings and eight Pence per Ounce, and no more."

In 1741, February the first and second American magazines were published, The American Magazine, or a Monthly View of the Political State of the British Colonies, by Andrew Bradford, and The General Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, for All the British Plantations in America, by Benjamin Franklin.

In 1742, imitation Lima Gold Doubloons circulate in America.

In 1743, the American Philosophical Society was founded.

In 1745, the Tuesday Club was founded at Maryland by Dr. Alexander Hamilton, the Scottish physician and comical wit.

In 1746, Princeton University was founded as the College of New Jersey.

In 1746, Thomas, The Earl of Pembroke publishes Nummi Anglici et Scoti cum aliquot Numismatibus recentioribus, with early illustrations of American coins.


In 1752, March 23, the Halifax Gazette was Canada's first newspaper, established on in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In 1754, Columbia University was founded as King's College in the Province of New York.

In 1755, Bills of Credit began to be circulated in Virginia.

In 1756, The New Hampshire Gazette bi-weekly newspaper published in Portsmouth, New Hampshire is America's oldest continuously published newspaper.

In 1758, the first coin auction was held in America at New York by William Proctor.


In 1760, Voce Populi Copper Farthings and Halfpence struck in Ireland imported in America.

In 1761, John Wright published at London The American Negotiator; or the Various Currencies of the British Colonies in America.

In 1761, Benjamin Franklin and his deputy post master general, William Hunter, remitted 494 pounds sterling to the the British Post Office.

In 1761, Peter McTaggart sold George III Accession Medals at the West-end of Boston, Massachusetts, in a district called New Boston.

In 1762, Green & Russell sold medals of George III and Queen Charlotte at Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1762, Rivington & Brown ran a Curiosity Shop in New York selling among books and other items, medals.

In 1763, Edmond Milne was selling medals at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 1763, Vermont territory was ceded to the British by the French at the end of the French and Indian War.

In 1764, Brown University was founded as Rhode Island College in the Colony of Rhode Island and Province of Plantations.

In 1764, from 1764-1765, Pierre Eugène Du Simitière was in Charleston, North Carolina perhaps involved in the establishment of first American Museum a few years later.

In 1765, apparently in July, Benjamin Franklin adopted the modified Bishop's Mark of 1711/1713 as the first circular date stamp on the postal

mail in America. This adaptation seems to have been in compliance with the Stamp Act of March 1765, which substituted the British Royal Stamp

for the new postmark. This may have been a diversion by Franklin to avoid Colonists from needing to purchase the British Royal Stamp for the mail.

The earliest known specimen of Franklin's postmark is in the Lupia Numismatic Library, Postal History Collection, and is for sale illustrated with a

photograph in The Museum Store on this website.

British Royal Stamp Essay-Proof Sheet of One Penny Stamps dated May 10, 1765. Courtesy British Library, Philatelic Collection.

In 1766, Pitt Farthing and Halfpence Tokens were minted.

In 1766, Rutgers University was founded as Queen's College in the Province of New Jersey.


In 1770, Observationes Philologici one of the oldest American manuscripts in Greek and Latin.

In 1770, the first known American auction featuring Roman coins was held in New York.

In 1773, Virginia Halfpence Coinage struck.

In 1773, Tea Act led to the Boston Tea Party in 1774.

In 1773, the so-called first American Museum established at Charleston, South Carolina.

In 1775, there were 38 stages on the post road from New York to Quebec.

In 1775, Paper Money is first printed in Philadelphia. Today called Continental Currency Paper Notes.

In 1775, The Philadelphia Magazine, or American Monthly Museum began as a periodical.

In 1776, Continental Currency was struck in pewter.

In 1776, New Hampshire Copper Harp Tokens were struck.

In 1776, several Massachusetts Copper Tokens of different designs were struck, one as a Pine, the other an Indian. Only one of each survived.

In 1776, the so-called Janus Copper was struck for Massachusetts as a Halfpenny.

In 1777, Vermont was founded.


In 1780, Rhode Island Ship Medals were struck in England.

In 1780, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded.

In 1781, Copper North American Ship Tokens were struck.

In 1781, Vermont prints Shilling Paper Note.

In 1782, Pierre Eugène Du Simitière opens the first American Museum of Natural History.

In 1783, The Society of the Cincinnati was founded at Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 1783, John Chalmers of Annapolis, Maryland began striking Threepence, Sixpence, and Shillings.

In 1783, Nova Constellatio Pattern Pieces were struck.

In 1783, Georgivs Triumpho Copper Tokens, and at least four varieties of Washington Military Portrait Tokens, began circulation.

In 1784, the so-called Satirical Medal began circulation.

In 1784, Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, organized the Bank of New York.

In 1785, formerly believed to have been the first known American coin auction - being the collection formed by Pierre Eugène Du Simitière.

In 1785, about this time we find Reverend William Bentley (1759-1819), began selling coins at Salem, Massachusetts mostly imported by

sea captains. Forty-three years later we find the seaman, Benjamin H. Watkins' (1753-1828) coin collection sold at auction at Salem. Did

Watkins import coins for Rev. Bentley?

In 1785, Inimica Tyrannis Coppers were struck.

In 1785, Confederatio Coppers were struck.

In 1785, the Bar Cent was struck.

In 1785, Immune Columbia Pieces were struck in Vermont as well as other Vermont State Coppers of varying designs.

In 1785, Connecticut State Auctori Connec and Inde Et Lib Copper Cents were struck.

In 1786, Immunis Columbia Pieces were struck.

In 1786, Connecticut State Auctori Connec and Inde Et Lib Copper Cents were struck.

In 1786, General Washington Cents ith two different reverses were struck.

In 1786, Non Vi Virtue Vici Coppers were struck in New York.

In 1786, New Jersey State Copper Cents were struck.

In 1786, Ephraim Brasher Doubloons were struck in New York.

In 1787, The American Museum began as a periodical.

In 1787, Fabulae Aesopi (Aesop's Fables) published in English and Latin from the Greek (Boston, Massachusetts : Samuel Hall, 1787).

In 1787, on December 7, Delaware became the first state of the United States although it was the only state at the time.

In 1787, on December 12, Pennsylvania became the second state to join the United States.

In 1787, Machin's Mills Copper Halfpennies began to be struck in Newburgh, New York.

In 1787, Auctori Plebis Tokens and Auctori Connec and Inde Et Lib minted and circulated in Connecticut.

In 1787, Immunis Columbia Pieces were struck.

In 1787, Vermont State Coppers of varying designs.

In 1787, August 22, John Fitch (1743-1798) first sailed down the Delaware River in his steamboat.

In 1787, November, New Jersey State Copper Cents were struck anticipating the commemoration of the ratification of the United States Constitution in December.

In 1787, on December 18, New Jersey joined the United States as the 3rd state.

In 1787, Fugio Coppers were struck.

In 1787, Excelsior Coppers were struck in New York.

In 1787, Connecticut State Copper Cents were struck.

In 1787, Massachusetts State Copper Half Cent and Cent were struck.

In 1787, New York State Copper were struck as the Nova Eborac Cents.

In 1787, Ephraim Brasher Doubloons were struck in New York.

In 1787, George Clinton Coppers were struck in New York.

In 1787, various Indian Coppers were struck in New York with various reverse designs.

In 1788, James Hardie (1758-1826), published the first edition The Principles of the Latin Grammar (New York : printed by the author and sold by Samuel Greenleaf, 1788)

In 1788, January 2, Georgia became the 4th state to join the United States.

In 1788, January 9, Connecticut became the 5th state to join the United States.

In 1788, February 6, Massachusetts became the 6th state to join the United States.

In 1788, April 28, Maryland became the 7th state to join the United States.

In 1788, May 23, South Carolina became the 8th state to join the United States.

In 1788, June 21, New Hampshire became the 9th state to join the United States.

In 1788, June 25, Virginia became the 10th state to join the United States.

In 1788, July 26, New York became the 11th state of the United States.

In 1788, New Jersey State Copper Cents were struck.

In 1788, Connecticut State Auctori Connec and Inde Et Lib Copper Cents were struck.

In 1788, Massachusetts State Copper Half Cent and Cent were struck.

In 1788, Machin's Mills Copper Halfpennies were struck in New York.

In 1788, Vermont State Coppers Vermon Auctori of varying designs.

In 1789, Mott Store Cards circulated in New York.

In 1789, November 21, North Carolina became the 12th state to join the United States.


In 1790, Standish Barry Threepence circulated in Baltimore, Maryland.

In 1790, the First Presbyterian Church of Albany, New York struck 1,000 Copper Pennies.

In 1790, May 29, Rhode Island became the 13th state to join the United States.

In 1791, the Washington Cent was struck in several designs.

In 1791, March 4, Vermont joined the United States as the 14th state.

In 1791, on January 24, The Massachusetts Historical Society was founded imitating the Society of Antiquaries of London founded forty years earlier in 1751.

In 1792, the establishment of the first United States Mint at Philadelphia.

In 1792, the term "numismatic" first appears in the English language on page 51 of The Gentlemen's Magazine, Volume LXII, No. 1. It eventually

enters the American vocabulary.

In 1792, English Copper Tokens were imported to circulate for small change among these the so-called Kentucky Tokens.

In 1792 experimental pattern pieces including additional Washington Cents struck in several designs including the Getz Patterns Silver Half Dollars, Silver Center Cent, Birch Copper Cents, Half Dismes, Dismes, Liberty Head Quarter were minted in very small quantities accessible only to the privileged few.

In 1792, June 1, Kentucky became the 15th state to join the United States.

In 1793, Washington Copper Halfpennies bearing a Ship on the reverse were struck in England for circulation in America probably due to the U. S. Mint shut-down due to the Yellow Fever plague.

In 1793, Half Cents and Large Cents began being coined.

In 1794, James Hardie (1758-1826), published the second edition The Principles of the Latin Grammar (New York : Samuel Campbell, 1794)

In 1794, more English Copper Tokens were imported including the Franklin Press Tokens.

In 1794, the New York firm of Talbot, Alum & Lee struck their own Copper Cents.

In 1794, the Silver Half Dollar and Silver Dollar began being coined.

In 1794, Thomas Paine Tokens are struck.

In 1795, Congress reported that the U.S. Mint coined no more than $10,875 in copper and no more than $34,165 in silver since its inception.

In 1795, Grate Tokens struck in England circulated in America.

In 1795, various designs of Liberty and Security Tokens were struck as well as Success Medals circulating as currency.

In 1795, the Half Eagle and Eagle were introduced.

In 1795, Charles Pye published Provincial Copper Coins or Tokens issued between the years 1787 and 1797.

In 1796, Caleb Alexander (1755-1828), published A Grammatical System of the Grecian Language (Worcester, Massachusetts, Isaiah Thomas, 1796)

In 1796, more English Copper Tokens were imported including the Myddelton Tokens.

In 1796, June 1, Tennessee became the 16th state to join the United States.

In 1796, French Medals or Jetons were struck in Copper & Silver for the French settlement at Castorland, New York and circulated in the U.S.

In 1796, Silver Half Dimes, Silver Dimes, Silver Quarters, and Quarter Eagles began being coined.

In 1796, December, Report of the Director of the U.S. Mint showed from 1795 through 1796 the amount of $414,175.70 had been coined in gold, silver and copper.

In 1797, New York Theatre Tokens, struck in England circulated in New York as money perhaps due to the U. S. Mint shut-down due to the Yellow Fever plague.

In 1797, no Silver Quarters were coined since the bullion was moved during the Yellow Fever plague. They were resumed in 1804.

In 1797, Lee Chauncy published The American Accomptant.

In 1798, no Half Cents, Silver Half Dimes, and Silver Half Dollars were coined.

In 1799, no Half Cents, Silver Half Dimes, Silver Dimes , Silver Half Dollars and Quarter Eagles were coined. The Quarter Eagles resume in 1802.

In 1799, the term "numismatist" first appears in the English language on page 1172 of The Gentlemen's Magazine, Volume LXIX, No. 11. It eventually

enters the American vocabulary.

Fig. 5. Photo detail front cover engraving of a Coin Collector -- 1799 Weatherwise's Almanack 1799. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library - Special Collection-


Bibliography :

Eric P. Newman, The Early Paper Money of America

Daniel Freidus, "The History and Die Varieties of the Higley Coppers" in The Token: America's Other Money, ed. by Richard G. Doty, Coinage of the Americas

Conference, October 29, 1994, New York: American Numismatic Society, 1-17

Q. David Bowers, American Numismatics Before the Civil War 1760-1860 (Wolfeboro, New Hampshire : Bowers & Merena Galleries, Inc, 1998)

Q. David Bowers, Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins (Atlanta, Georgia : Whitman Publishing, 2009)

The Nineteenth Century.


Although the United States of America was only 24 years old in 1800 there was already a consciousness that had emerged in America since the 1790's about its antiquity of early settlers, artifacts, antique writing and publications. As we have seen above, The Massachusetts Historical Society was founded in 1791. A little more than a decade later we begin to see other American historical and antiquarian societies emerge. On November 20, 1804 the New York Historical Society was founded as a Museum in New York City. In 1810, Isaiah Thomas published The History of Printing in America, reflecting the new perception and social consciousness towards America's past. In 1812, Isaiah Thomas founded the American Antiquarian Society. Soon followed the Historical Society of Pennsylvania was founded in 1824.

The English had a long history of antiquarians after the founding of The Society of Antiquaries at London in 1572. This culture was brought by the English colonists to America. American Antiquaries were those who studied the American past its antiques and other artefacts, archaeologic and historic sites, documents and everything that related to the origins of American society and culture. With the on going growth of American consciousness of its historical roots and past a nostalgia for antiques of all kinds grew among many Americans opening up the first generation of American collectors of Americana. Among the collectibles were the early American colonial coinages. Beginning in the 1840's we begin to find public coin collection catalogs. In 1846, William E. Du Bois published Pledges of History : A Brief Account of the Collection of Coins Belonging to the Mint of the United States. In 1853, Richard W. Davids published Catalogue of the Coins and Medals,

Ancient and Modern, NY State Library. From this public coin collection of the New York State Library at Albany, New York we can see a fascination for Ancient Greek and Roman Coins, Early American Copper Cents, and American Medals had become popular by about 1850. It was only five years after the publication by Davids of this New York public coin catalog that a small group of New York numismatist banded together to form the American Numismatic and Archaeological

Society in New York City in 1858.


During the nineteenth century United States coin collecting was mainly taken up by those who could afford to hoard newly minted shiny coins with their original luster creating "Coin Type" sets. Stimulating this urge to collect these pieces was the fact that United States regular mintage or issues were not consistent or as regular on closer scrutiny. Many type coins had years when none were minted only to find that a year or more later they were resumed. This irregularity to many type coins created an intrest and sparked the imagination of the wealthier class who could afford to collect them for their novelty sake while at the same time arousing, inspiring and fomenting a passion to collect them. Design changes in coin types also stimulated the public to save a specimen in the best condition for each of the different designs of each coin type. As new design types circulated the older ones became phased out by those hoarding as well as U. S. Mint meltdowns thereby creating their scarcity and rarity which in turn signalled the origins of fictitious value premiums added beyond their face values to collectors who desired to acquire them. Changes in regularity of issue, new coin designs, and new type coins entering the repertoire of the United States Mint were the great stimuli behind Americans collecting coins.

These criteria reached a feverish peak in several waves in American numismatic history which can be clearly seen studying the early American copper pieces as a model of this phenomenon.


By 1845 the new phenomena of postage stamps enter the American arena for collectors. It was the New York Postmaster who began to imitate the postage stamps issued in England in 1840. By an Act of Congress the United States government began to issue postage stamps nationally and the first issues were out by July 1. The new craze of collecting postage stamps had begun sometime in the 1850's together with coin collecting. It is absolutely certain that both coin collecting and postage stamp collecting were the new fad in collecting by 1856 when the American cent was reduced in size, weight, design and metal. A. C. Kline's Emporium in Philadelphia began to sell postage stamps both domestic and foreign and by 1860 had issued the first American postage stamp album.


1. Colonial Era

The Coinage Act of 1857 by Congress put an end to the use of foreign coins and currency within the United States as a form of legal currency and exchange. Up until this time since early American colonial times bankers and retailers would weigh foreign silver and gold coins on coin scales and use the standard reference tables that showed the rate of currency exchange between the local rate of exchange in that state and that specific coin. Although Queen Anne made "A Proclamation" in 1704 giving the rate of exchange for the Spanish Mill Dollar or Reale popularly called the "Piece-of-Eight" fixing it at 4 shillings 6 pence in England and 6 shillings in the British colonies her proclamation set the standard for English exchange with the colonies rather than an imposition of rule for all the colonies to follow as a standard. We find the exchange rate vary from colony to colony changing now and then from time to time. These reference tables of the rates of exchange were typically published in almanacs issued by the various states showing the state and regional values determined by their local banking governing boards. As we have already seen these exchange tables were codified and collated in the 18th century by John Wright, who published in 1761 at London The American Negotiator; or the Various Currencies of the British Colonies in America. During the early Federal Era of the United States, the New York "currency exchange brokers" on Murray Street created tables and charts for exchange rates. In 1800, Joseph James and Daniel Moore, Murray Street currency brokers, published A System of Exchange, With Almost All Parts of the World; Exhibiting the

Value of Imaginary Monies, Monies of Account, & Real Coins, Which Are in Use in Different Places; Calculated to the Currency of the United States, . . . This, of course, worked out well for New York and North Carolina "exchange brokers" and merchants since they shared the exact same exchange rate. During the Federal Era the United Staes did not yet have an established unilateral rate of exchange consistent in every state. There were two separate groups of two states paired together with the same exact exchange rates. As we have just seen New York and North Carolina share an exchange rate that was equal. Also, South Carolina and Georgia shared their identical exchange rate. The "big seven", i.e., the six states in New England and Virginia also shared their own identical rate of exchange. In 1806, we find the publication of Tables of Advance in Sterling Money; reduced to New-England and Virginia currency, a neat volume that contained tables of weights and values of gold and silver coins for the "big seven". And, finally, the "big four" who shared an identical rate were: New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Each of these four distinct regional exchanges required a different formula for calculating the rate of exchange from the British Pound Sterling to that of the United States Dollar. Exchange table books, and charts published in Almanacs provided ready reckoning tables to conveniently consult for the lay man or consumer as well as the farmer, banker exchange broker and lawyers. This form of concordance of discordant exchange rates persisted until Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1857.

2. United States Era.

As we have just seen, from colonial times until 1857 one can find varying rates of exchange among the different states regarding British pounds sterling and Spanish silver and gold. Bankers and retailers were still weighing foreign silver, gold and copper coins on coin scales and referring to the rate of exchange charts.

Concomitant with this monetary exchange were those who specialized in this as "Money Exchange Brokers and Bullion Dealers". These were the first commercial houses in the United States who acted as coin dealers or coin brokers with there being many "money exchange offices" in urban centers throughout the original thirteen colonies and the other eighteen states of the United States up until 1857. There was a very serious concern and ever vigilant watchful eye kept on these exchange rates much like the brokers and investment bankers today who constantly keep track of falling and rising values of stocks and precious metals on Wall Street, the American Stock Exchange and so on. We find an English economist, for example, William Blake, who in 1810 published Observations on the principles which regulate the course of exchange: and on the Present Depreciated State of the Currency, keeping the exchange brokers and bullion dealers informed preventing serious losses. In 1837, Joseph Blunt published The Shipmaster's Assistant, and Commercial Digest containing a lengthy description of American colonial coins and exchange rates of American currency. Due to the constant changing market and rising values and costs of precious metals the American government was forced to intervene in 1837 making a slight downward adjust in the weight of its silver coin production, and far more dramatically in 1853.

Copper prices began to rise about this time once again forcing the government to rethink its small change in the cent. By 1856 the U. S. Mint released the first nickel cents and the following year terminated copper altogether making the 1857 cent and half cent pieces the final ones of their respective series. From 1856 to 1865 the term "nickel" in the United States did not mean "five cents" but "one cent" until 1866 when the first nickel five cent pieces were issued to the public.

By 1864 copper was reintroduced for the cent but alloyed with zinc to produce bronze. From the outset the U. S. Mint produced coinage that was manufactured with its intrinsic metal value equal to the market value in a rate of exchange as all European currency markets had since medieval times. Due to these volatile changes the Coinage Act of 1857 was enacted. With this enactment of law the exchange brokers were virtually put out of business. Those who were used to buying sacks of coins from the mint for their offices and had boxes filled with foreign coin species now did so selling them to collectors no longer as "exchange brokers" but as the old English term would have it "coin dealers".


During the late 1820's we shall see a combination of things converge on history's horizon that brought about the modern society we are familiar with, that one that has coin and stamp dealerships, coin and stamp auctions and catalogs. However, it is coin collecting that first emerges as the cultural phenomena as we shall see. By 1827 we find the first modern photograph and the incorporation of the Baltimore Railroad. By 1828 we find the first of the regular coin auctions emerge in America. Stamps were not issued until 1847 so we shall not find philatelic phenomena until the 1860's. We shall continuously find the phenomena of these three united virtually simultaneously, the railroad, photography and numismatic developments. As we can see this first appears in 1827-1828 and will surface again in 1869 with the completion of the "Transcontinental Railroad" and the first photographically illustrated coin auction catalog. During the four decades between the late 1820's and the late 1860's the numismatic and philatelic industries were formed and developed providing the American public and society with these two favorite hobbies for fun, entertainment and learning. These two collecting fields were part and parcel of the same phenomena of stamped metal or paper with effigies and inscriptions that conveyed monetary value or some other similar value dear to American cultural sentiments. These two collecting fields did not emerge and grow in a vacuum but within the broader terrain and collecting landscape that included all of the collecting fields we have studied above earlier in the three wide categori of Natural History; Antiques and Antiquities, and Curios and Curiosities. As we have already seen coin collecting was always part of American culture existing since early colonial times. It is rather unfortunate that some numismatic historians have mischaracterized the early coin industry as not big enough yet to support coin dealerships forcing the coin dealers post 1860's to also sell the many varied items from the three traditional categories of Natural History; Antiques and Antiquities, and Curios and Curiosities. This was the historical realities from the earliest American times out of which coin collecting emerged, not the other way around. It is rather anachronistic for contemporary historians to think of numismatics in its earliest times in America as it exists today rather antiseptically removed from its allied fields of collecting thereby creating and producing a rather sterile specialized environment as it has today.

The rise of the "money exchange offices" between 1810 and 1840 served as the legal authorities and brokers to exchange money and issues drafts for money between the states charging a fee for their services. Since foreign currencies were brought into these brokerage houses they could cull through the coins cherry-picking the best of the bunch and offer them for sale at a premium above face value for those who wished to collect them. Hence, the commercial coin industry had begun within the United States. These early American coin collections that evolved around the same time as the "money exchange offices" between 1820-1840 consisted of ancient Greek and Roman coins imported from Europe and sold and exchanged among fellow collectors within the United States as well as foreign coins collected and hoarded from change in circulation or else bought from "money exchange offices" where the brokers sold them at a slight premium. As the craze for Americana grew so did the interest in collecting the early American colonial coinages thereby giving an additional dimension to the collectors variety among Ancient, Foreign, Colonial and United States Coins. This has been born out as a sustainable perception of the coin collecting industry since we have the record of the coin auction sales from the 1820's onward that reflect this activity.

Matthew T. Miller of South Third Street, Philadelphia appears to have been the first full-time coin dealer in the United States beginning about 1830, which during his day were called “exchange brokers”. From 1839-1866, he published Bicknell's Counterfeit Detector and Bank Note List, that was begun earlier in 1832 by Robert Thaxter Bicknell until his death in 1839. He was the owner of a banking house at Philadelphia, which was suspended in September, 1865. Miller was a numismatic publisher and numismatic collector and dealer. He and his wife Caroline had a son Alfred Theodore Miller born February 7, 1840, who died seven months later on September 8, 1840.

In 1849, Miller published Coins of the World (Philadelphia : Stereotyped by G. Charles, printed by King & Baird, 1849) with 12 color lithographic plates. This publication followed the model seven years earlier in 1842 of Jacob Eckfeldt and William E. Du Bois published A Manual of Gold and Silver Coins of All Nations Struck within the Past Century. In 1853, he had been not only the first full time American coin dealer for over twenty years but also established the model for subsequent coin dealers publishing coin books with his The American Book of Coins. Supplementary to Bicknell's Reporter & Counterfeit Detector. (Philadelphia, M.T. Miller, 1853).

In 1851 the United States government produced a silver three cent piece largely for postage and revenue stamps since the postal rate changed requiring three cents for a half ounce letter to be conveyed under 3,000 miles, and six cents over that distance. Foreign mail rates were fixed respective at ten cents and twenty for distances at 2,500 miles or more. That year the government had printed twelve cent postage stamps to accommodate the new rates for heavier letters over two sheets since envelopes became the rage since the 1830's to place them in, thereby creating a heavier letter weight. After the government established the postage stamp in 1847 American manufacturers of envelopes boomed and envelopes of various sizes, paper qualities, designs, and tinted color papers and watermarks flooded the stationers shelves.

Papeteries, Notions, Fancy Goods and Stationery were the standard terms used in the trade at this time to refer to manufacturers and shops that made and sold envelopes.

We begin to find the Alexandria, Ladies Note, Commercial Note, Epistolary, Ordinary, Full Letter, Medium Letter, Extra Letter, Official, Extra Official, Commercial,

Large Commercial, Empress, Small Baronial, Large Baronial, Extra Large Baronial, Legal and Small Legal size envelopes made and sold in America.

The new silver three cent pieces were ideal to satisfy these new rates and were lighter, convenient and more practical for the consumer. This new silver specimen in change stirred up an interest in collecting American coins. However, the year 1853 is the more critical date in American numismatic history when the development thereafter bears closer resemblance to the contemporary coin industry and can more easily trace back its history from today. The placement of arrows at the dates on American silver coinages of the half dimes, dimes, quarter dollars, and half dollars were not mere conventions for decorative purposes but assayers marks to show the lighter weight of silver content alerting the Mint smelters and bankers and the public at large that earlier coinages were of greater intrinsic value. This change in values among the American coinages stirred up the public to quickly snatch up as many older coins as possible for immediate profiteering. Large masses of early American silver were sent to the melting pots. The astute collector made every effort to create a complete set of earlier American silver coins in all the series in perfect condition specimens. The coin rage had now exploded in the United States. The government seemed to fuel and feed this accelerated novelty for collecting American coins by the public when it began minting the nickel cents of 1856. It was three years afterwards the year before the Coinage Act of 1857 we find the English immigrant Edward D. Cogan and the American native born Ebenezer Locke Mason Jr., and A.C. & John W. Kline, all of them at Philadelphia follow the example of Miller initiating what would soon follow as the explosion of American coin dealerships. Besides these new coin dealers we still find the coin brokers who worked in the "exchange offices" in Philadelphia now working for the various banks throughout the city wholesaling coins to the coin dealers. Among these men we find Benjamin T. Walton, a second generation coin dealing banker and other Philadelphia bankers culling through the coins passed over the counter at the banks and making lists of available coins with price quotes sent via postal cards to local dealers. Many of these coin brokers working in banks held copies of the want lists given to them by the coin dealers. These transactions were one of the main sources of supply to the coin dealers for specific coins they need for their clientele.

The early coin dealers kept books of their clientele and would use these for mailing circulars advertising new coin sales or other materials including priced lists or new auction catalogs and so on. They also kept their accounting records and occasionally would grant a returning client a discount or credit. New clients required business references and character references to vouch for their reliability and responsibility in prompt payments.

During the 19th century New York City and Philadelphia vied for first place among the dealers of both coins and stamps as well as being the cities with the greatest number of collectors, with Philadelphia ranked first place being the city that gave birth to the first full time coin dealers of America.

Over the years many numismatists have speculated which cities in the United States were at the top and how they ranked in the number of coin collectors and dealers and coin transactions. You can find it in print in several places where Baltimore has been ascribed the third position, for example, by numismatic historians based on nothing more than intuition and the influence of the memory of great Baltimore collectors of the past like Colonel Mendes Israel Cohen, Waldo C. Newcomer, the Garretts: John Work Garrett, Thomas Harrison Garret, Robert Garrett, and so on. However, using a statistical analysis based on actual historical documents of the period, namely the correspondence through the mail to top coin dealers in the United States from the last quarter of the 19th century up until about the middle of the 20th century, a very different picture of the numismatic landscape emerges as described in the two charts below.

Since the 1950's the numismatic landscape has certainly shifted and changed. Hopefully there will be subsequent charts to show these alterations.




01. Philadelphia, PA

02. New York, NY

03. Chicago, IL

04. Pittsburg, PA

05. Albany, NY

06. Boston, MA

07. Rochester, NY

08. Newport, RI

09. Cincinnati, OH

10. Williamsport, PA

11. Denver, CO

12. Baltimore, MD

13. St. Louis, MO

14. Syracuse, NY

15. Providence, RI

*Chart based on personal review of 30,000 pieces of coin dealer correspondence from 1870's to 1949




01. New York

02. Pennsylvania

03. Illinois

04. Massachusetts

05. Ohio

06. Iowa

07. New Jersey

08. Michigan

09. Rhode Island

10. Missouri

11. California

12. Indiana

13. Maryland

14. Connecticut

15. Colorado

*Chart based on personal review of 30,000 pieces of coin dealer correspondence from 1870's to 1949




The earliest known coin catalog published in America was not an auction catalog but that of a private American coin collector John Christian Kunze, ‘Description of a

Cabinet of Coins and Medals Ancient and Modern,” The Medical Repository and Review of American Publications on Medicine, Surgery, and the Auxiliary Branches

of Science, Vol. III, Second Edition (1805). Kunze describes his coin cabinet with its various coin trays and the types of coins contained therein. Whereas, one of the earliest known coin auction catalogs was that, as we have already seen, of Pierre Eugène Du Simitière, which sold in 1785. However, as John N. Lupia has shown in his book American Numismatic Auctions To 1875, Volume 1 : 1738-1850, auctions in America containing numismatic literature with plates of coin illustrations began as early as 1738. Twenty years later we find auctions including medals, and by 1784 medal dies, coin books and ancient coins that predate that of Du Simitière, beginning nearly half a century earlier.

Auctions emerged in Europe during the 16th century. The French enacted a law in 1556 establishing what we would call today a "Sheriff's Sale" selling various real and personal property by auction. The first known numismatic auction took place as early as 1598 in Leiden, Netherlands. A portrait of a 17th century Dutch numismatist painted by Hendrick Gerritsz Pot (c. 1585-1657) is in the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Interestingly, the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) is said to have been a paid shill-bidder at an auction for oil paintings in 1636 for his friend Jan Jansz den Uyl (1595-1639). The second oldest European auction houses were established at London, England and Stockholm, Sweden in 1674. The one at London sold art and two years later began selling books. There was an advertisement in the London Gazette, 23 November, 1682, “The Library of John Parsons, Esq; late of the Middle-Temple Barrister, (consisting of a choice Collection of Law and History,

Ancient and Modern) will be exposed to Sale by way of Auction, on Thursday the 30th Instant, at the Auction-house over against the Black-Swan in Ave-Mary-lane, near Ludgate-street, at which place the Books are exposed to view every day from this present publication to the time of the Sale, by Edward Millington, Bookseller.

The Catalogues have been, and are distributed gratis, at the Rainbow and Richard's Coffee-house in Fleet-street, John's Coffee-house in Fullers-Rents, near Grays-Inn, at the Coffee-house over against Lincolns-Inn, and at Mr. Bridges's in Popes-head Alley in Cornhil.” Another ad published in May 1685, regarding the auction sale on May 25, 1685 of the Libraries of Dr. Ambrose Artfield of London and John Copth of Somerfershire, deceased, at the Auction-House in Ave-Mary-Lane. This was followed by the Dorotheum in Vienna in 1707, and soon afterwards auction houses sprang up around Europe and have thrived ever since. Perhaps the earliest English coin auction catalog is that of the late Edward, Earl of Oxford, on March 18-23, 1741; A CATALOGUE OF Greek, Roman and English COINS, MEDALLIONS and MEDALS, Of the RIGHT HONOURABLE EDWARD Earl of Oxford, DECEASED, Which will be Sold by AUCTION, By Mr. COCK, At his house in the GREAT PIAZZA, Covent-Garden, On Thursday MARCH the 18th, '1741-2, and the Five following DAYS. Beginning precisely at Half and Hour afyer Eleven o'Clock, by reason of the great Number of Lots to be sold each Day. The COINS, &C. may be view'd, at the Place of the Sale, on Monday the 15th, and CATALOGUES of the Coins, &c., at ONE SHILLING each will be deliver'd at the Place of SALE. Christopher Cock (d. 1748), the auctioneer established in the 1720's the Great Room used for auction sales within the House of the late Sir Dudley North forming the Tavistock Hotel in the northeastern corner of the plaza at Covent Garden, London and sold the coin auction catalog for a shilling (12 cents). Needless to say even Sotheby founded by the bookseller Sam Baker in London had only held its first auction in 1744-5, and James Christie of Christie's in 1766.

There were several important factors prerequisite to the establishment of the American coin industry and its coin auction forum that needed to be addressed and satisfied. The Colonial American auctions were held in taverns and coffeehouses and real estate including whole farms and farm crops, tobacco, foreign imports and slaves were the commodities sold on the auction block. Antiques and antiquities, rare books, books, coins, and curiosities were not known in auctions until the second half of the 18th century in America. When we do find these auctions they are a hodgepodge or conglomerate of a multitude of items from linen to casks of gin, sewing needles and so forth and then we stumble upon the coins or medals for sale within these very lengthy lists that served as these early catalogs.

There was no established auction market or any established auction houses in the United States for books, coins and curiosities until May 28, 1713 when Ambrose Vincent held a book auction at his house in Wings Lane, Boston, Massachusetts. This was followed immediately by book auctions at the Crown Coffee-House, the Royal Exchange, and the Sign of the Magpy. A few years later we find Samuel Gerrish in 1717, holding his book auction sales at the Sign of the Lighthouse on King Street in Boston. Boston held the early book and valuables auction market except for a sparse outcropping at Charleston, South Carolina, New York City,

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, or Charlestown, Massachusetts. Unfortunately we do not know all of the contents of the majority of these early American auctions which may have included numismatic items. Typically, they merely mention books and occasionally mention other valuables items usually in a vague manner used as a broad term as a sort of catch all. This entices and frustrates the numismatic historian who sits perplexed wondering if coins, medals or other numismatic related items were including among the non book items.

The first public book auction in Philadelphia was held in March of 1744 at Mr. Vidal's School. Book auctions at Philadelphia became regular beginning in the 1750's on. In January 1786 at the "Old City Vendue-Store" in Front Street. That same year, Giles Jones held the "Lilliputian auction" at Philadelphia in 1786. It was in July of 1786 we find the first American Prices Current published which included auction prices. William Prichard also opened an auction room in 1786 in Pewter-Platter Alley, "Under the Great Lamp", Philadelphia. Prichard's Auction Room next door to the Post Office on Chestnut Street at Philadelphia sold books in 1787. Prichard removed to Market Street, between Front and Second Streets, Philadelphia from 1787-1789. Also, in 1787, we find Mr. Duplessis' Long Room, Church-Alley, near Third Street above Market Street, Philadelphia. In 1788, we find Russell & Clap's auction rooms on Court Street at Boston. That same year we find also on Chestnut Street, Philadelphia the Auction Room of Samuel Dellap. In 1790 there was an auction room at Daniel Peter's Tavern at Baltimore, Maryland.

Also in 1790 an auction held at the shop of Samuel Bayley in Newburyport, Massachusetts. The Philadelphia auction houses were clearly just beginning to emerge and solidify about one year after the coin auction sale of Pierre Eugène Du Simitière.

So when we find the posthumous coin sale of Pierre Eugène Du Simitière as a unique event in Philadelphia in 1785 not sold in any established auction house it makes sense when placed properly into perspective.

Moreover, an organized coin industry, as we have already seen, was initiated by the money exchange brokers which became more organized themselves by the 1820's. So, it is no wonder at all that we do not see the regularity of coin auction sales within America until about the 1820's and immediately thereafter.


Edward D. Cogan (1803-1884) wrote to Ebenezer Locke Mason, Jr. in response to a query he had published in his Mason's Coin and Stamp Collectors' Magazine in 1867 requesting anyone who knew what was the date of the oldest known coin auction sale in the United States. Cogan informed Mason 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. Cogan, of course, was speaking in hindsight of Daniel Parish, Jr's article published the year before in American Journal of Numismatics, which listed 71 coin auction sales from the earliest know up to 1866. Though there were only about 30 coin auction sales between the publishing of Parish's article and Cogan's statement he seems to imply there were about 100 coin auction sales not accounted for by Parish's list. Less than a decade later Emmanuel Joseph Attinelli would publish his Numisgraphics in an effort to provide a census, i.e., an exhaustive list from 1828 to the present date of his manuscript of 1875. Today we have a more thorough list produced by the indefatigable efforts of Martin Gengerke. Furthermore, John N. Lupia has compiled as near complete a list as possible so far of those coin auction sales missed by both Attinelli and Gengerke. However, even this work is certainly not yet complete since Lupia lost records of several other coin auction sales he discovered years ago and in his spare time, if any, he continues searching for them and others not yet discovered. From all of this we now known that Cogan was incorrect in saying that there were up until April 1867 about 200 coin auction sales since Attinelli listed 310 including all of the Addenda. We know Attinelli is incomplete and that number should be at least 400 coin auction sales from March 1785 to April 1867.

Nathan Bangs of the Bangs Auction House of New York


The knowledge of the market value of coins and medals was always important for the American numismatist. In the 18th century, for example, we find news from London of a public notice of the prices realized of the coin sale of Thoresby's Museum that closed March 8, 1764, published in an American newspaper, The New-York Gazette, Monday, May 14, 1764. In the early 19th century coin sales abroad with prices realized were found in various American magazine. We find in Museum of Foreign Literature and Science published in Philadelphia and New York, for example, would occasionally publish English coin sales listing the coins and their prices realized. Coin auction catalogs functioned much the same way and were of paramount importance to 19th century coin collectors in order to get a handle on and understand market values based on realized or closed market prices just as professional appraisers do today with real estate and other commodities. We find letters to coin dealers asking them what the sale price was for specific lots at auction. Without the priced lists either printed or penned in collectors found themselves at a loss of a guide to objective coin values. It is interesting to find other letters to coin dealers asking them to bring along their priced copy of a specific coin auction so that they could copy them penning in the prices in their own unpriced copy.

William Cowper Prime was well aware of this value of keeping abreast of current market prices at auctions and included the prices realized of seventy-five coins and medals from five New York coin auctions held between February 28 and November 2,1859, when he published his book, Coins, Medals and Seals in 1861.

There are thousands of requests for catalogs and especially for priced catalogs to the various coin dealers of the 19th century. From this data it is certain this is how they were able to calculate values for bids at auctions or when they went to sell or buy at what price they should expect to receive or pay. This, of course, was in lieu of what collectors today might call catalog values like those published in the various online services or in print in the Greysheets, or Coin Dealer's Newsletter (weekly or monthly) or the annuals like Red Book, Blue Book, Green Book, Black Book, etc., circulating in our day.

In 1866, Daniel Parish, Jr. in American Journal of Numismatics published a list of coin auction sales to keep collectors aware of them and follow the trends in closed sales prices, but it was never kept up except for sparse realized prices published in the New York Times, American Journal of Numismatics, Numisma, or in Mason's Magazines, etc. There was no central database anyone could turn to. It was John Walter Scott in his second company by that name who began to publish these market price lists in booklet form, and also with Ed Frossard and his son Ed, Jr., coetaneous to Scott (that little black book published posthumously after Edouard senior died), and then a little later on by Wayte Raymond, which eventually led to Dick Yeo to produce the Red Book of today's acclaim, etc. Prior to these resources a collector and dealer needed to create their own ledger sheets based on market prices either penned or penciled in coin auction catalogues or those avant-garde dealers who published priced post auction catalogs for sale. The Chapmans were very ambitious in this regard and no small profit was made by them selling plain, plated and priced catalogs. Perhaps because we are so jaded today with a surplus of coin fact sheets and prices accessible through so many sources and in every form of media that we anachronistically fail to realize the importance these priced catalogs had to those in the past.

The priced coin auction catalogs were highly sought after and not too infrequently orders came in with the original request for the plain or plated catalog, and sometimes right after the sale and other times months or years later. The prices were printed or handwritten in the margins next to the lot numbers. Multiple items in lots were given typically the price per item not the entire lot. For example, a lot containing 100 catalogs might have a price in the margin for 15 cents signifying that the buyer paid 15 cents per catalog not the entire lot. From having read through coin dealer correspondence of the period it seems to be that post auction requests for catalogs, priced, plain and plated required the firms that produced them to make short runs to accommodate their clientele and leave sufficient stock to fill any addition potential future orders for them thereby explaining short runs of 25 copies.


It was reported by William Elliot Woodward (1825-1892), the famous apothecary, publisher, numismatist, coin cataloger and coin dealer that the coin auction catalog of Philip Hone (1780-1851), the late mayor of New York, published by Dr. Edward H. Ludlow & Co., for the public auction sale that ran on April 28th, 1852 was the rarest of the coin auction catalogs having only three known copies extant and valued at $10.00, a handsome value in 1868. From this comment from Woodward we learn a couple of things. First, that a census of earlier coin auctions was initiated and that extent copies of them was undertaken. This itself reveals to us that the interest and knowledge of earlier held auctions and their respective catalogs was certainly keen among the contemporary collectors in the late 1860's. This we have already seen clearly in the list drawn up by Daniel Parish, Jr., published in The American Journal of Numismaticsin 1866, and that effort made five years earlier by William Cowper Prime. The post Civil War generation or Reconstruction Era numismatist seems to have taken on the characteristics of an archaeologist investigating and attempting to reconstruct the history of American coin sales and discover how many if any copies of the catalogs could be found. Second, that a market value with a very high premium shows us that competition existed among the collectors to acquire them. From all of this we do learn that an interest existed then as it still does today toward completeness, nostalgia, and a thirst for knowledge that brings with it perspicuity. We know of several collectors who acquired vast collections of catalogs in order to attain this trifold goal broadening their vision in order to get a glimpse at the big picture of the length, breadth, height and depth of the coin industry perfecting their grasp of the whole of it, past present and providing them with a good intuitive sense of its future.


The early coin auction catalogs were frequently broadsides meant to be pasted up as public notices and discarded. Coins were typically sold among other goods like books, antiques, whiskey, and so forth. Auctions were slated to run starting at a specified time and ending when the stock was sold. Many times auctions ran back to back and time was constrained. If all the stock did not run out it seems they were carried over to another auction on another day sometimes a week later. Coins were merchandise like watches and tobacco and the auctioneer was only interested in creating a simple list sufficient enough to attract and inform buyers to sell out the stock. The early catalogs, therefore, were not created for posterity, or intended for conservation but merely to accomplish the sale of coins. It was not until the 1850's when self consciousness emerged within the field of numismatics that catalogs were created for collectors and as keepsakes and reference tools as well as souvenirs and nostalgia to be cherished and revered. This latter aspect of reverencing the catalogs themselves for what they represent as precious historical heirlooms of great men and their collections in early times and their contemporaries who owned the catalogs is what animates the historian and aficionado and drives them to accomplish great things within the field of numismatics. This is exemplified, for example, in a copy of a Bangs, Brother & Co., catalog of June 6, 1855, of a mere 14 pages, in the Lupia Numismatic Library. It belonged to Charles Bushnell and was given to him by Pierre Flandin. Bushnell had the cataloged bound in half morocco and bound in with several other catalogs of the period. What makes this interesting is the flyleaf has the Flandin bookplate and the next a letter on ruled paper by Flandin to Bushnell. These relics or revered heirlooms were conserved together in a handsomely bound volume to conserve them together for posterity. It is from this period we begin to find collectors conserve the catalogs in a similar fashion.


“Culture is the social form of expression, as it has grown up in history, of those experiences and evaluations that have left their mark on a community and have shaped it.” One could say that the numismatist attempts to collect records of this, to collect coins, tokens and medals either struck in a time at a place or struck to commemorate those times and events that have shaped our world. Coin collecting is inextricably linked with the fascination for history where one can hold a small piece of it in the palm of their hand and be brought back in time, transported to another place and culture, where as an observant spectator we catch a dim glimpse of the past. An 18th century author Charles Johnstone (1719-1800) wrote his novel Chrysal, or the Adventures of a Guinea (1760) that narrated the adventurous voyage of a coin passing through various hands from country to country, much the same way coin collectors fantasize about a coin’s circulation. Beyond the imaginings of who might have held the coin in the past and under what circumstances it might have passed the coin itself is a memento of time, a witness of the past and window to the past, a microcosmic reflection of the whole from whence it came, a durable permanent record in metal of the culture that made it. “Every coin tells us something about the history of the period when it was minted.” In this sense coins speak to us about their private lives through time. Borrowing the title from archaeologists Paul MacKendrick’s “The Mute Stones Speak“ numismatists can say the same for the mute coins speaking to us of the days in which they were minted and circulated among the people and culture that fashioned them. Their physical appearance in shape and design speak to us of the character and ethos of their historic culture. Coins teach us about culture, about our cultural heritage and aid us to better understand and appreciate our own situation and place in the world. “In the first place, culture has to do with perceptions and values. It is an attempt to understand the world and the existence of man within it; an attempt, however, not of a purely theoretical nature, but rather guided by the fundamental interest of our existence. This understanding is meant to show us how to go about being human, how a man takes his proper place in this world and responds to it, so as to improve himself, to live his life successfully and happily.”

The same can be said about the coin auction catalogs of the past. They are the historical documentary records of a coin collection amassed during a man's lifetime or portion thereof. They speak of the world in which they were created, its typography, printing technology, artistic sense of design and layout, paper manufacturing, and retain the tactile qualities and smell of the past. This odor of sanctity of the relic cannot be captured to its ascetic heights in a reprint or digitized copy but only in the original paper and ink issue. Holding an original copy of an antique coin auction catalog transports us back into time putting us in touch with the past in an experiential way that is deepened and enhanced by the astute numismatists' personal knowledge of the period and people involved in its production and prior ownership.


The earliest known coin photograph is a French stereoview dating to the late 1850’s of a coin bracelet composed of ancient Roman coins. In 1860 the English auction house of Christie, Manson & Woods of London produced the first photographs ever to be published in any auction catalog. It is a catalog not of numismatic items but of the art collection begun in the sixteenth century by the Emperor Maximilian I, increased by the Emperor Rudolph II, and in 1782 was sold to the Chevalier van Schönfeld. Catalogue of the celebrated collection of works of art and vertu, known as "The Vienna Museum," the property of Messrs. Löwenstein, brothers, of Frankfort-on-the-Maine: : which will be sold by auction, by Messrs. Christie, Manson & Woods, at their great rooms, 8 King Street, St. James’s Square, on March 12, 1860, and nine following days (Saturdays & Sundays excepted) at one o’clock precisely..(London: W. Clowes and Sons, 14, Charing Cross., [1860]). In 1869, two American numismatic photographic catalogs emerged. First, in April 1869, the Joseph N. T. Levick plate published in the American Journal of Numismatics is the earliest known photograph of United States large cents. For the auction scheduled to be held on June 23, the English immigrant to America, Edward D. Cogan published the coin auction catalog of Mortimer Livingston MacKenzie being the first photographic numismatic auction catalogue in America. The auction was held at Leavitt’s auction house in New York on June 23-24, 1869. The published catalog contains 759 lots and 5 photographs each measuring 13cm X 19cm mounted on paper stock among the 56 pages.


In 1826, the Royal Numismatic Society was founded at London, England. In June of 1836, the Society began to publish its house organ The Numismatic Journal. Forty years after the founding of the Royal Numismatic Society and twenty years after its first publication the first American numismatic society was founded in Philadelphia, the city that gave birth to coin dealers and collectors in America. It was only after the coin industry had been more strongly and firmly established and fertile there during the previous thirty years or more that from out of this new American numismatic age grew the establishment of numismatic societies. The preexistence of the coin industry with the dealers, collectors and serious students of numismatics was a necessary and vital condition requisite for the establishment of numismatic societies and the house organ publications that ensued and followed the trend.

In 1856, the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia was founded.

The same year as the radical change in the American cent a numismatic fraternity was formed at Philadelphia simply titled the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia . That same year John H. Hickcox published the first numismatic account of United States Colonial coinages titled, An Historical Account of American Coinage. Unfortunately, Mr. Hickcox was caught stealing money and was sent to prison. A more reputable numismatist Dr. Montroville Wilson Dickeson of Philadelphia published a more comprehensive and scientifically arranged work on American numismatics in 1859 titled, The American Numismatical Manual of the Currency or Money of the Aborigines, and Colonial, State, and United States Coins: With Historical and Descriptive Notices of Each Coin or Series.

In 1858, the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society was founded in New York. This was the same year James R. Snowden, Director of the Mint, began to publicly advertise Proof Sets for sale from the United States Mint at Philadelphia, which amply demonstrates the existing market among the coin enthusiasts and serious collectors. The following year Snowden complained to Thomas Howell Cobb (1815-1868), Secretary of the Treasury, under President James Buchanan (1857-1860), that the demand for proofs with so many requests from around the country and in person visits to the Mint was impossible to manage.

In 1886, the American Philatelic Association was founded.

In 1891, The American Numismatic Association was founded.



When we think of the regular United States coinages issued we anachronistically think of them as having a uniformity and regularity since that is what we came to expect in American coinages from 1837 onward. However, the first four decades of the United States Mint were neither as uniform or as regular as we later on came to think of them.

The United States Mint in 1793 issued both half cents and cents in copper. It seems that from its very beginning the design of the most common and widely circulating coinages was never envisioned or conceived to have a uniformity in design. The 1793 cent originally was designed with Lady Liberty facing right having disheveled flowing hair that was additionally designed in four distinct varieties each with different designs on the reverse, whereas the half cent bore a different coiffure to the head of Lady

Liberty facing left in a more elegantly undulating wavy hair style with a pole and Liberty Cap suspended from it placed behind her head shown with the pole resting on her shoulder that was more of the reverse or flipped design of the fourth model of the larger cent. From their inception the half cents and cents were not uniform in design nor in mintage since the cents were minted more than three times the quantity of the half cent. One wonders why the only proximity to uniformity the two denominations bore was in the fourth design of the larger cent with that of the smaller half cent but reversed in a mirror or flipped. It seems odd to our contemporary eyes and mind that such significant distinctions in designs between the two most important denominations for small change for the nation were implemented at all when the obvious differences in size and weight alone were sufficient to distinguish them apart. It is as if the first issues were experimental in nature reflecting the lack of clarity of a defined corporate image during those first few years. Although this seems to be part of the explanation it does not galvanize with subsequent designs and issues since there was a continuing change over the course of the ensuing four decades.



In 1794, the half cent design conformed in uniformity with that of the fourth design of the larger copper cent. However, this uniformity did not remain long. The half cent retained this design until 1797, but the large cent only until 1796. It was a uniformity that lasted three years ending with no half cents minted from 1798 to 1799.


When the half cent resumed being minted in 1800 it was stamped with the same design as the new one given in 1796 to the larger copper cent. That year, 1796, the cent was struck with the last of the Capped Liberty designs and the new Draped Bust of Liberty was minted in more than a 3 to 1 ratio. This second wave of uniformity of design between the half cent and cent lasted 8 years from 1800 to 1807. The following year, 1808, the half cent continued in the Draped Bust of Liberty design, but the larger copper cent changed to the Classic Head With Fillet or Turban Head design.


The third wave of uniformity between half cents and the larger copper cent came in 1809. Half cents retained this design for the next 27 years until 1836. The larger copper cent, however, changed again in 1816. The third wave of uniformity between half cents and the larger copper cent only lasted 6 years.


The fourth wave of uniformity between half cents and the larger copper cent came in 1840 when half cents followed the design of the Braided Head of Liberty that the cent acquired the previous tear in 1839. These early coppers retained this design until they were terminated in 1857 with that year being their last to be minted and placed into circulation.

During the first 64 years of coining coppers in the United States Mint only 35 years had both denominations between half cents and the larger copper cent bearing the same uniform design. This continually changing physical appearance on the copper designs gave variety but also a sense of instability causing collectors to fear they might not see the older designs again and cherry-pick and hoard specimens culling through change in circulation and placing them in their collections. The most dramatic change in United States coinages occurred in 1856 with the initiation of the much smaller (19 mm, weighing 4.67 grams) copper-nickel cent bearing the Flying Eagle compared to the larger copper cent at 27.5 mm weighing 10.89 grams. Due to the excessive changes in the production of American currency concomitant with the report that the following year would bring about the cessation of circulating foreign currency in American when it would be mandated by law to bring all foreign coins into the banks to be exchanged for American coins and currency, a group of numismatist banded together to form the first numismatic organization in America at Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Numismatic and Antiquarian Society, when Philadelphia was the capital of American numismatics then and as it remained well into the 20th century. After the law of 1857 when the circulating foreign currency was demonetized and mandated to be brought in and the old American copper half cents and the larger copper cents ceased to be coined coin collecting became the new rage. The following year, in 1858, the second group of numismatists banded together to form the second numismatic organization in America at New York, the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society (ANS).


During the Civil War (1861-1865) Americans of every nationality, ethnicity, origin, social class, profession, faith, creed, color and religion became brothers in the trenches and fox holes of battle. There was no discrimination since neighbors were thrown together by war to meet one another during a dramatic human crisis facing life and death thereby breaking down all social barriers and constraints that may have previously existed in American society and culture. From this new situation a rebirth of the ideas and ideals of "Liberty" emerged together with a new movement toward the brotherhood of mankind and an enriched spirit of fraternalism. It is with this spirit that the great impetus and synergistic energy enlivened within numismatic community the great numismatic fraternities and associations. We frequently find mention in the numismatic literature of this reconstruction era use of the terms "fraternal" "brotherhood" "society" "membership" "association" since numismatics is the great social leveler destroying difference among the members of society through education and a united desire to collect and contribute to the common good.


In 1800, no Silver Half Dollars were coined.

In 1800, October 29, the coin collection belonging to Matthew Clarkson was advertised to be sold at auction in Paulson's American Daily

Advertiser, No. 7446.

In 1801, no Half Cents and Half Eagles were coined.

In 1802, Quarter Eagles resume.

In 1802, no Eagles were minted.

In 1802, April 10, the coin collection belonging to Samuel Curwin was sold at auction.

In 1803, David Irving (1778-1860), published The Elements of English Composition: Containing Practical Instructions for Writing the English Language with

Perspecuity and Elegance: Designed, in the Progress of Education, to Succeed to the Study of English Grammar, and of the Latin and Greek Classics (Philadelphia,

Pennsylvania : Thomas L. Plowman, 1803)

In 1803, March 1, Ohio became the 17th state to join the United States.

In 1803, Joseph Chitty published A Treatise on the Law of Bills of Exchange, Checks on BankersPromissory Notes

In 1803, Silver Dollars ceased being minted until 1836.

In 1803, no Quarter Eagles were minted. They resume the following year.

In 1804, no Silver Half Dimes and Silver Half Dollars were minted. They resume the following year.

In 1805, T & J Swords printers in New York published Prosodia: Sive Institutionum Linguae Latinae. Liber Quartus. In usuum studiosorum.

In 1805, Silver Half Dimes ceased being minted until 1829.

In 1805, no Eagles were minted. They resume in 1838.

In 1806, on April 10, Congress passed an Act authorizing the Spanish Milled Dollar as authorized legal tender.

In 1806, no Silver Dimes were coined.

In 1806, Jacob Perkins publishes The Permanent Stereotype Plate, illustrating $5 and $10 bank notes.

In 1807, Silver Quarters ceased being minted until 1815.

In 1807, the Half Eagle undergoes a radical change in design in the "Capped Bust".

In 1808, the Analekta Hellenika of Andrew Dalzel (1742-1806) was posthumously published in Greek with notes in Latin (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1808)

In 1808, no Silver Dimes and Silver Quarters were coined. Silver Quarters resumed in 1815.

In 1809, the Large Cent and Half Cent designs radically changed with the so-called "Classic Head".

In 1809, no Quarter Eagles were minted. They will resume in 1821.

In 1809, Jacob Perkins publishes Perkins Bank Bill Test consisting of original impressions from the permanent stereotype steel plates of Massachusetts paper

currency together with the standard check plate.

In 1809, Selectae e profanis Scriptoribus Historiae: Quibus admista sunt Varia Honeste Vivandi Praecepta, ex lisdem scriptoribus deprompta (Philadelphia:

Printed for Thomas & William Bradford, Bradford & Inskeep, Matthew Carey, Jacob Johnson, C. & A. Conrad & Co. Bennett & Walton, & Benjamin & Thomas Kite., 1809).


In 1810, Nathaniel Howard, A Vocabulary English and Greek (Philadelphia: Published by Hopkins and Earle, Fry and Kammerer, printers, 1810)

In 1810, no Silver Dimes were coined.

In 1812, April 30, Louisiana became the 18th state to join the United States.

In 1812, no Half Cents and Silver Dimes were coined. Half Cents resume in 1825.

In 1813, no Silver Dimes were coined.

In 1813, the first known American auction was held exclusively of coins.

In 1815, the term "numismatology" was first coined in England and soon found its way into the American vocabulary.

In 1815, no Large Cents were coined.

In 1815, no Silver Dimes were coined and will not be resumed until 1820.

In 1815, Silver Quarters resumed.

In 1816, Act of Congress April 10th regulated the exchange rate of foreign coins in America.

In 1816, the Large Cent design radically changed with the so-called "Matron Head".

In 1816, no Silver Quarters were coined. They resume in 1818.

In 1816, no Silver Half Dollars were minted. They resume the following year.

In 1816, no Half Eagles were minted. They resume in 1818.

In 1816, December 11, Indiana became the 19th state to join the United States.

In 1817, December 10, Mississippi became the 20th state to join the United States.

In 1818, some 8,000 copper Jola Tokens, circulated in San Antonio, Texas.

In 1818, December 3, Illinois became the 21st state to join the United States.

In 1819, December 14, Alabama became the 22nd state to join the United States.

In 1819, Cincinnati Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, begun by Letton & Willet in 1819 has an important American coin collection and coin collecting community.


In the 1820's the Unites States Mint began issuing Proof coins to supply coin collectors a trend that will continue to grow throughout the following decades.

In 1820, March 15, Maine became the 23rd state to join the United States.

In 1820, English Copper North West Company Tokens began circulation in Oregon Territory. Oregon will become a state in 1859.

In 1820, the minting of silver dimes resumed.

In 1821, the Quarter Eagle was resumed.

In 1821, August 10, Missouri became the 24th state to join the United States.

In 1822, no Quarter Eagles were minted. They will resume in 1824.

In 1822, James Ph. Puglia published Forgery Defeated; or a New Plan for invalidating and detecting all attempts of the kind.

In 1823, William McLaughlin begins an auction house with his partner in the firm McLaughlin & Blakely at 41 Maiden Lane, New York City, New York. This is the beginning of the great auction houses in America.

In 1823, February 13, the coin collection of William Dandridge Peck was sold at auction in Boston.

In 1824, Moses Thomas (1787-1865) opened his auction house in Philadelphia, where previously in the second decade of the 19th century he was a publisher and bookseller.

In 1826, the term "numismatologist" was first coined in England and soon found its way into the American vocabulary.

In 1826, John Stevens produces the first running steam locomotive in America. Ten years later a steam powered coin press will be installed in the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia.

In 1826, no Silver Dimes and Silver Quarters were minted.

In 1827, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce creates the first known modern photograph. Forty-two years later photographs are introduced into American numismatics.

In 1827, January 15, notice of the medal collection of Thomas Jefferson to be sold at auction in the Enquirer, Richmond, Virginia.

In 1827, no Half Cents were coined.

In 1828, no Quarter Eagle was minted.

In 1829, there were 77 stagecoach lines starting from Boston.

In 1829, Half Dimes resumed being minted having been discontinued in 1805.

In 1829, Silver Quarters ceased being minted until 1831.

In 1829, October, the first use of locomotive engines upon railways for purposes of general transportation does not date before this time.


The United States Census report of 1830 reported a population of 12,860,702.

In 1830, no Half Cents were coined.

In 1830, Envelopes first became manufactured in America.

In 1830, the Baltimore Railroad opens after being incorporated since 1827.

In 1830, the first known American auction exclusively of Roman coins was held.

In 1830, Matthew T. Miller of Philadelphia begins his career as the first full time coin dealer in America. At this time coin dealers are called

"Exchange Brokers".

In 1831, Silver Quarters resumed.

In 1832, there were 106 stagecoach lines starting from Boston.

In 1832, M. St. Clare Clarke and D. A. Hall published Legislative and Documentary History of the Bank of the United States

In 1832, the first publication of Bicknell's Counterfeit Detector and Bank Note List.

In 1833, William M. Gouge, published A Short History of Paper Money.

In 1834, private gold minted in the U.S.

In 1834, Thomas Francis Gordon, The History of New Jersey : From its Discovery by Europeans, to the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Trenton :

Daniel Fenton, 1834)

In 1834, February 26, the coin collection of Joseph Green Cogswell was sold at auction at Boston.

In 1836, March, the first steam powered coin press is placed into operation at the United States Mint in Philadelphia.

In 1836, the Silver Dollar was resumed having been discontinued in 1803.

In 1836, June 15, Arkansas became the 25th state to join the United States.

In 1837, January 26, Michigan became the 26th state to join the United States.

In 1837, on March 14, Cooley & Bangs opened an auction house located at 196 Broadway, New York City, New York. They specialized in book sales at first but later on expanded under the firm's name of Bangs to include stamps and coins as the market demanded.

In 1837, James William Gilbart published at London The History of Banking in America.

In 1837, Julius Rubens Ames published Liberty : The Image and Superscription on Every Coin Issued by the United States of America.

In 1837, no Half Cents were coined. They will resume in 1840.

In 1837, the Silver Dollar was not minted. It will resume the following year.

In 1837, the Liberty Seated series of U. S. silver coinages commenced, except for the Silver Dollar, which will begin in 1840.

In 1837, Elisha R. Potter published A Brief Account of Emissions of Paper Money made by the Colony of Rhode Island.

In 1838, the Gold Eagle was resumed having been discontinued in 1805.

In 1838, July 7, Congress declared every railroad to be a mail route.

In 1839, the Half Eagle design is radically changed to the "Liberty Head".

In 1839, Joseph B. Felt, published An Historical Account of Massachusetts Currency.


In the 1840's the Unites States Mint began accelerating the issuing of Proof coins to meet the supply and demand of collectors indicating the surging and emergence of a coin collecting boom in the nation.

In 1840, Condy Raguet published A Treatise on Currency and Banking.

In 1840, the Silver Dollar takes on the Liberty Seated design initiated in the other silver denominations in 1837.

In 1840, the Half Cent is resumed with a design radically changed with the so-called "Braided Hair".

In 1842, Charles Anthon publishes A Grammar of the Greek Language (New York : Harper Brothers, 1842)

In 1842, Jacob Eckfeldt and William E. Du Bois published A Manual of Gold and Silver Coins of All Nations Struck within the Past Century.

In 1843, Samuel Breck published Historical Sketch of Continental Paper Money.

In 1844, Richard H. Phelps published Newgate of Connecticut, a work that gives early references concerning Higley's Granby Coppers of 1737 to 1739.

In 1845, John Leonard Riddell published Monograph of the Silver Dollar, Good and Bad, Illustrated with Fac-simile Figures.

In 1845 Noah Amherst Phelps (1788-1872), published A History of the Copper Mines and Newgate Prison at Granby, Conn.; also the captivity of Daniel Hayes of Granby by the Indians in 1707.

In 1845 Noah Amherst Phelps published History of Simsbury, Granby and Canton : From 1642 to 1845.

In 1845, the New York Postmaster began issuing postmaster provisional stamps produced by the engraving firm of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson.

In 1845, March 3, Florida became the 27th state to join the United States.

In 1845, December 29, Texas became the 28th state to join the United States.

In 1846, the Smithsonian Museum was founded.

In 1846, December 28, Iowa, became the 29th state to join the United States.

In 1846, William E. Du Bois published Pledges of History : A Brief Account of the Collection of Coins Belonging to the Mint of the United States.

In 1847, on July 1, the United States issued the first postage stamps at New York by the firm of Rawdon,Wright, Hatch & Edson.

In 1848, May 29, Wisconsin became the 30th state to join the United States.

In 1849, Gold Dollars and the Double Eagle were introduced


In 1850, September 29, California became the 31st state to join the United States.

In 1851, the creation of a Silver Three Cent piece.

In 1853, the "Arrows at Date" on silver coinages signaled less silver in contemporary issues causing many to collect and hoard older specimens.

In 1853, Richard W. Davids published Catalogue of the Coins and Medals, Ancient and Modern, NY State Library

In 1854, the Gold Three Dollar piece was introduced.

In 1856, the Flying Eagle Cent was introduced made of nickel. Founding of the Philadelphia Numismatic and Antiquarian Society, the first numismatic organization established in America. John H. Hickcox published, An Historical Account of American Coinage, With Plates.

In 1857, Large Cents were permanently discontinued having been replaced by small cents made of nickel.

In 1857, on February 21, Congress approved the Coinage Act of 1857, demonetizing foreign coins and currency within the United States making only and exclusively American coins and currency the legal tender of the country.

In 1858 a Numismatic and Philatelic Explosion began of collecting mania.

In 1858, American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, the second numismatic organization established in America.

In 1858, May 11, Minnesota became the 32nd state to join the United States.

In 1859, the Indian Head Cent was first introduced made of nickel. Montroville Wilson Dickeson published The American Numismatical Manual of the Currency

or Money of the Aborigines, and Colonial, State, and United States Coins: With Historical and Descriptive Notices of Each Coin or Series.

In 1859, May 14, Oregon became the 33rd state to join the United States.

In 1859, the first attempt at Air Mail delivery by hot air balloon.


In 1860, the Indian Head Cent was made of copper-nickel and the reverse design was changed to an oak wreathed shield.

In 1860, April, the Pony Express began as a mail service for the rural western United States.

In 1861, January 29, Kansas became the 34th state to join the United States.

In 1861, on April 12, the Civil War broke out when shot were fired at Fort Sumter. Also in April the Confederate States of America issued the first paper money called "Greybacks". Robert Lovett, Jr of Philadelphia designed the Confederate cent. Late April, at the New Orleans Mint the first Confederate States of America half dollars were struck.

In 1861, October, the first Confederate States of America postage stamps were issued.

Civil War Tokens are called Copperheads.

1863 Mount Brown Stamp Catalogue issued.

In 1863, June 20, West Virginia became the 35th state to join the United States.

In 1864, the creation of a Two Cent piece.

In 1864, the Indian Head Cent was made of bronze.

In 1864, October 31, Nevada became the 36th state to join the United States.

In 1865, the creation of a Three Cent piece in nickel.

In 1865, by the end of May the Civil War was over.

In 1866, the creation of a Five Cent piece in nickel. In May the first American numismatic periodical is published by the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society titles, American Journal of Numismatics.

In 1867, March 1, Nebraska became the 37th state to join the United States.

In 1867, March, Edward Cogan suggested in a letter to the editor that about 300 coin collectors comprised the market at that time.[1]

[1] American Journal of Numismatics, March (1867) : 86-87

In 1867, April, Mason's Coin and Stamp Collectors' Magazine was the first American hobby periodical published devoted to coin and stamp collecting.

In 1868, the Rhode Island Numismatic Association published their Constitution and By-Laws, revised edition.

In 1869, the completion of the "Transcontinental Railroad" in the United States.

In 1869, June 23, Edward Cogan published the coin auction catalog of Mortimer Livingston MacKenzie being the first photographic numismatic auction catalog in America.


In 1873, the Silver Trade Dollar begins being minted.

In 1873, the Two Cent piece, Silver Three Cent and the Half-Dime were permanently discontinued.

In 1875, the Twenty Cent piece was introduced. It was very unpopular and was phased out being permanently discontinued in 1878.

In 1875, Sylvester Sage Crosby, begins publishing Early Coins of America.

In 1875, John Walter Scott begins publishing his numismatic periodical The Coin Collector's Journal.The initial year was edited by Edouard Frossard. Subsequent

Volumes 2-13 terminating in 1888 were edited by David Proskey.

In 1876, Emmanuel Jospeh Attinelli self publishes, Numisgraphics or A List of Catalogues in Which Occur Coins or Medals Which Have Been Sold by Auction

in the United States also A List of Catalogues or Price lists of Coins Issued by Dealers also A List of Publications of More or Less Interest to Numismatologists

Which Have been Published in the United States.

1876, August 1, Colorado became the 38th state to join the United States.

In 1878, the Silver Dollar Morgan's Liberty Head begins production.

In 1879, the Gold Four Dollar piece was introduced.

In 1879, Charles Steigerwalt begins publishing his numismatic periodical The Coin Journal. It only lasts 4 issues ceasing in 1880.


The 1880's was the beginning of the modern age of stamp and coin collecting when dealerships evolved from private individuals into

corporate stock companies. The first major name was John W. Scott & Co., who incorporated as Scott & Co., and sold his stock outright to a syndicated headed by the Calman Brothers and Henry Collin, renaming it Scott Stamp & Coin Company, Limited.

In 1880, the Gold Four Dollar piece was permanently discontinued.

In 1883, the Shield Nickel was discontinued superseded by the Liberty Head Nickel.

In 1885, the Silver Trade Dollar was permanently discontinued.

In 1886, September 13th, the founding of the American Philatelic Association at New York City. The following day John K. Tiffany was elected


In 1887, January 10, the first issue was published of The American Philatelist.

In 1889, the Nickel Three Cent piece, Gold Dollar and the Gold Three Dollar piece were permanently discontinued.

In 1889, November 2, North Dakota became the 39th and South Dakota became the 40th state to join the United States.

In 1889, November 8, Montana became the 41st state to join the United States.

In 1889, November 11, Washington became the 42nd state to join the United States.



First World's Fair Association card and cover franked with Scott #220 and mailed to William C. Smith, Chestnut Street National Bank, Philadelphia,

announcing the 4th meeting to be held Tuesday, January 15th at the home of Benjamin Cake, 848 North 26th Street.

Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. Very Fine and Very Scarce. Estimate $150-$200. Write john@numismaticmall.com

In March 1890, the establishment of the First World Fair Association

In 1890, July 3, Idaho became the 43rd state to join the United States.

In 1890, July 10, Wyoming became the 44th state to join the United States.

In 1891, the American Numismatic Association was founded during the month of October at Chicago by Dr. George F. Heath, William G. Jerrems, David

Harlowe, J. A. Heckelman and John Brydon and sixty-one charter members.

In 1892, the U. S. Mint produced the first Commemorative Silver Half Dollar

In 1892, the Liberty Head series of U. S. silver coinages commenced.

In 1896, January 4, Utah became the 45th state to join the United States.


[1] American Journal of Numismatics, Vol. III, No. 1, May (1868) : 3

Bibliography :

William H. Dillistin, Bank Note Reporters and Counterfeit Detectors, 1826-1866 (New York: ANS, 1949)

George Macesich, "Counterfeit Detectors and Pre-1860 Monetary Statistics," The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 27, No. 2 (May, 1961) : 229-232

Q. David Bowers, American Numismatics Before the Civil War 1760-1860 (Wolfeboro, New Hampshire : Bowers & Merena Galleries, Inc, 1998)

Brian Cowin, Art and Connoisseurship in the Auction Market of the Late Seventeenth-Century London

Copyright © 2011-2017 John N. Lupia III