Presentation on theme: "The Decade of Great Change: the 1830s The Gradual Transition from Bust to Liberty Seated Coinage."— Presentation transcript:
The Decade of Great Change: the 1830s The Gradual Transition from Bust to Liberty Seated Coinage
In 1832, the Mint issued six coins for circulation under the dollar for the first time since 1805. From left to right; the 1832 Classic Head ½¢, Coronet 1¢, Capped Bust silver 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ & 50¢
The coinage at the beginning of the1830s derived from Asst. Chief Engraver John Reichs Classic Head copper and Capped Bust silver designs. An 1809 Year set (excluding gold).
The Genesis for the change in our change goes back even earlier to Robert Scots Draped Bust types. The transition from Capped Bust to Liberty Seated owes its passage to an even earlier type coin, the 1804 Draped Bust dollar that was actually struck in 1834. This AU-58 specimen once resided in the renowned Amon Carter collection.
US $1.00 coinage was suspended in 1804 with the final coinage of the 1803 Bust dollar. In 1834 the $1.00 coin (and $10.00 Gold eagle, also suspended since 1804) were reproduced from new dies in order to create presentation proof sets of all ten authorized US denominations for foreign potentates. Two sets are known to have been actually presented.
As a result of this successful venture, the government decided to resume $1.00 coinage and Mint Director Robert Maskell Patterson asked Chief engraver William Kneass to sketch out a design similar to Britannia. He also enlisted the artistry of two renowned painters, Thomas Sully and Titian Peale.
Origin of the Liberty Seated design In 1835 Mint Director Robert Maskel Patterson asked Chief Mint Engraver William Kneass to draw up a sketch for a new silver dollar design based on the allegorical figure of Britannia seen on British coins. William Kneass
Origin of the Gobrecht dollar Later in 1835 Kneass suffered a stroke and was unable to continue. Christian Gobrecht--who had been hired earlier as an assistant engraver--was shown a sketch by Thomas Sully, a renowned painter of the period. Working from this sketch, he fashioned a pattern obverse. Titian Peale, another fine painter and friend of Sully's created a reverse design which depicted an eagle soaring in flight. After some minor revisions Mint Director Robert Maskell Patterson approved Gobrechts adaptation for striking. On December 31, 1836, 1,000 Proofs were released into circulation.
Thomas Sully was a renowned artist. Thomas Sully: Self portrait
The result was the coin type you see below. The 1836 Gobrecht Dollar is considered one of our most beautiful coins. This specimen was graded AU-58 by NGC. $1.00 in 1836 had the purchasing power of almost $25 today.
Gobrecht proof dollars were first released into circulation in 1836. On the approved coin, his name appears on the base as C. Gobrecht F. The F is the Latin word for made it.
In 1836 the Steam Press replaced the screw press at the Philadelphia Mint.
The 1836 Reeded Edge Half dollar was the first coin to be struck on the new steam press. Left: 1836 Lettered edge; over 6.5 million mintage Right: Reeded Edge 50¢, 1,200 mintage
In 1836 the Mint even struck a Mint Medal hailing the Steam Press to celebrate the event. An 1836 Mint Medal struck in copper showing a Liberty Cap with rays. The inscription reads, UNITED STATES MINT - First Steam coinage, Mar. 23, 1836. The medal was the same size as our large cent; around 29 mm.
1836 was the final year of the Classic Head ½¢ An electrotype of the proof-only 1836 ½¢ No mint records exist of the actual number struck. Both originals and restrikes are extremely rare and expensive.
The old and the beginning of the new. A complete 1836 Year set (including gold) obv. ½¢, 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ both 50¢ types & $1.00
The coinage year of 1837 was almost as incredible as 1836 which produced the Reeded edge 50¢ and Gobrecht dollar. 1837 started out still employing the Capped Bust features on the disme and half disme that first appeared in 1809. According to the late numismatic scholar Walter Breen, the term disme meaning tenth dates from 1585, the year the Dutch mathematician Simon Stevin van Brugghe (AKA Simon Stevenus) (1548- 1620) invented the decimal system.
Up until 1837 the US disme had changed little since 1809 An 1837 Capped Bust disme
During colonial times, most silver coinage came from the Hispanic-American Mints of Mexico, also Central America and South America. The Spanish dollar also known as 8 Reales however was divided by eight. Thus the dime size coin known as the Real was valued at 12½¢ and the smaller half real worth 6¼¢ in trade. After the Revolutionary War Thomas Jefferson along with Ben Franklin proposed the decimal system for our coinage. The spelling of disme was not changed to dime until the changeover to Liberty Seated in 1837.
In 1837 both the disme and half disme were transformed. Obverses of John Reichs and Christian Gobrechts design for the dime.
The reverses of the two 1837 dime types After 1837, the eagle would never appear on our minor silver coinage.
Obverses of the Capped Bust and Liberty Seated no stars half dime
Reverses of the 1837 Bust half dime (with eagle) and Liberty Seated no stars half dime with wreath
In 1837 the small Bust Quarter type remained unchanged. An 1837 Bust Quarter B2 R2 Mintage 252,400; scarce but not rare
In 1837 the Reeded Edge half dollar was in was struck in large numbers. An 1837 Reeded Edge Half Dollar The mintage was 3,629,820 and is scarce only in the higher grades.
The Coronet Cent (1816-1839) began to be revised in 1835 by Christian Gobrecht The two styles for 1837 were the plain and beaded hair cords. Above is the N-5 R2 variety showing the plain hair cord.
An 1837 Coronet Cent showing the beaded hair cord
Obverses of the 1837 plain and beaded hair cord Coronet cents
Half cent coinage was suspended after 1836 but an 1837 ½¢ Hard Times token was made and is a popular collectible. The 1837 Half Cent token (listed as Low-49) shown above was a private issue and represents the US standard weight and value for ½¢ of pure copper.
The Gold Coinage of 1837 Only two gold denominations were struck in 1837; the $2.50 Quarter Eagle and the $5.00 Half Eagle and only at the Philadelphia Mint. An 1837 $2.50 Classic Head Quarter Eagle Only 45,080 were reported minted. Certified AU-58 by PCGS, this coin realized $3737.50 (at the Heritage Signature Auction of Apr. 9, 2007 Courtesy of Heritage Auction Archives)
The 1837 $5.00 Half Eagle had a mintage of 207,121, the lowest of the short series (1834-38) struck at the Philadelphia Mint. This 1837 $5.00 gold Half Eagle grading AU-55 by PCGS sold at the Heritage FUN auction for $2,760 in Orlando, FL on January 4, 2007
1837 coinage denominations In all, just seven of the ten authorized denominations were issued in 1837. These included the copper cent, the silver half dime and dime (in Bust and Liberty Seated no stars versions), the quarter and half dollar along with the $2.50 and $5.00 gold pieces. Some 600 original Gobrecht silver dollars (with eagle soaring upward) were released from the Mint on March 31, 1837 but with the 1836 date. These were aligned in medal-turn (side by side) as opposed to coin turn (top over bottom) to denote both a reduction in weight from 416 grams to 412½ and an increase in the silver ratio from.8924 TO.900 fine.
In 1838 it was the quarters turn to be transformed from Bust to Liberty Seated 1838 Bust and Liberty Seated with stars 25¢
In 1838 Branch Mints opened in New Orleans, LA Charlotte, NC and Dahlonega, GA Word of the change-over from no stars to with stars arrived too late at New Orleans with the result that there are two subtypes for 1837 half dimes and dimes.
A subtle change was added to the half dollar in 1838 creating yet another sub-type. An 1837 50¢ alongside an 1838 HALF DOL.
In 1839 it was the half dollar that changed from Reeded Edge Bust to Liberty Seated 1839 Reeded Edge 50¢ & Lib. Std.
The Lib. Std. Half dollar was further refined in 1839 when drapery was added to Miss Libertys gown. The 1839 no drapery and with drapery Half dollar sub-types
Throughout the 1830s the Coronet cent was reworked. In 1839 there were five sub-types. They are known as the 1839/6, the type of 38, the Silly Head, Booby Head and Petite Head.
Between 1836 and 1839 Gobrecht continued to tinker with the Liberty Seated dollar. In 1838 stars were added and removed from the reverse surrounding the eagle An 1839 Gobrecht $1.00 with stars on obverse. (Courtesy of Heritage Auctions Archives)
Grading and pricing All coins shown with the exception of the two 1837 gold pieces and 1839 Gobrecht with stars on obverse $1.00 were assembled by the collector over a ten year span. Acquiring the two 1837 gold coins in AU may have been attainable a decade ago but they are somewhat elusive in price today. The 1839 Gobrecht dollar, once thought to be a pattern is considered a coin of the realm now but with only 300 minted, it is beyond the reach of most collectors.
What is collectible from this period? The minor coinage (½¢ thru 10¢) struck between 1835 and 1840 is moderately priced in circulated grades. The quarters and half dollars are more expensive and probably still available at a reasonable figure up to XF-40. The 1836 Gobrecht $1.00, once on the cusp of affordability, left the station five years ago as have the 1837 and 38 gold issues. The 1839 Gobrecht $1.00 is now for the manor born as the specimen shown realized $35,000 four years ago. The era of great change in our change is nonetheless a fascinating period in US history.