George Kolbe writes:
David L. Ganz and the American Numismatic Association have graciously granted permission to access David's excellent in-depth 1995 Numismatist article on "The Barber Papers," photocopies of which are to be sold as lot 41 et seq. in Kolbe & Fanning's June 3, 2010 auction sale of the second part of the Stack Family Library. A link to the article will be found at
What a marvelous resource! Below are the article's introductory paragraphs. See the Kolbe & Fanning web site for the complete article. The image of Barber is from the USpatterns.com web site.
Charles Edward Barber, chief engraver of the United States from 1879 until 1917, was an
extraordinary artist, and in a half century career at the United States Mint that began during the
administration of President Andrew Johnson, and ended while Woodrow Wilson was president, he
probably designed, and engraved, more coins and medals than any other person in the employ of the
United States, before or since.
Minting facilities around the world began to produce his designs in 1869, the year he was
apprenticed to his father, William Barber, then chief engraver of the United States at the Philadelphia
Mint. Almost a century later, some of his designs were still being coined, a tribute to his talent as a
designer, engraver and artist.
If this were all that Charles Barber had accomplished, he would have been considered an
extraordinary, prolific artist and a talented designer. But he was also a chronicler of his life and times, an
inveterate saver of correspondence received and copies of letters sent by him. And, he was also a
collector who saved examples of the coins that he created, and the patterns that he designed -- together
with examples of the work of others.
In November, 1991, the Library and Museum of the American Numismatic Association
received an extraordinary gift from Harvey, Norman and Lawrence Stack: copies of the personal papers
of Charles Barber, covering his term as sixth chief engraver of the United States Mint at Philadelphia.
The originals were deposited at the Smithsonian Institution, but a complete set of the papers (which are
about three inches thick) was presented to the ANA Library with the caveat that they could not be
written about by scholars, or others, for a period of three years, to give the Smithsonian Institution time
to examine this important find.
Organized by category, the papers cover coinage of the United States and many foreign
countries, medallic works by the artist, and his extraordinary collection of numismatic pattern pieces,
which was one of the finest ever assembled. They are now available for use in the ANA library, and
copies may be loaned to interested members.
Barber's papers include handwritten correspondence, typescripts, and many design sketches for
various coins. This article briefly summarizes some of the interesting finds in the personal papers of
Charles Barber, and points out areas
Wayne Homren, Editor
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