This week's newsletter from Heritage Auction Galleries highlights two items of numismatic-themed ephemera that may be of interest to bibliophiles. One of special interest relates to the Comitia Americana medal series.
Every so often, a few lots that we think will be of interest to numismatists will surface in one of our non-coin auctions. Here are a few such items featured in the upcoming 2010 February Signature Historical Manuscripts Auction, to be held in Beverly Hills February 11-12:
New Hampshire Colonial Imprint Fixing the Value of Silver and Gold Coin and Usury Rates. This interesting 1765 document reveals the confusion — both before and after its enactment — that foreign coins created in the colonies. It would not be until 1792 that the first half dimes and a few copper cents patterns were struck by the new United States mint, and foreign coins would remain legal tender until 1857.
This printed tract contains two Acts. The first, "An Act for ascertaining the Value of coined Silver and Gold," sets standard values for English, Spanish, and Portuguese coins. It also defines the "Penalty for passing gold or silver at any other rate," decrees that "All contracts to be understood for this money; all accounts to be kept accordingly," and establishes "How former debts are to be estimated." The second Act restricts "taking excessive interest for the loan of money... wares, merchandize or any other personal estate whatsoever," and decrees "No interest to be allowed above six per cent."
The document is lightly age toned with occasional foxing and a few small chips/tears along edges. Generally very good condition. Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000.
John Adams Autograph Letter Signed (1785), requesting Parisian bankers Messieurs Van den Yvers to arrange payment for medals and swords by drawing on the Dutch banking consortium that was managing the Netherlands' loan to the United States.
Congress had voted to award six Gold Medals during the Revolutionary War, the first three to George Washington, Horatio Gates, and Nathanael Greene. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were delegated to assist Colonel David Humphreys in the task of procuring these medals and presentation swords, to be expertly crafted in France.
Colonel Humphreys asked the aid of the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres in the composition of the designs. A "who's who" of legendary French engravers participated in the execution of this first group of medals. Parisian artist Pierre Duvivier struck the first Congressional Gold Medal in 1789. Augustin Dupré designed the Greene, the John Paul Jones, and others; Nicolas Marie Gatteaux was responsible for the Gates medal.
Adams wrote this letter from the Paris suburb of Auteuil just weeks before sailing to London to begin service as the first U.S. Minister to Great Britain. The letter has light horizontal folds, very clear and legible writing, overall very fine. Estimate: $40,000 - $50,000.
To read the complete article, see:
Seldom Seen Selections: Numismatic-Themed Highlights from our Manuscripts Auction
Wayne Homren, Editor
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