Ron Guth had a nice post on the PCGS blog this week about "The Wild Ride of Numismatic Research".
Numismatic research is a never-ending journey full of twists, turns, side-roads, dead-ends, and new discoveries. Much of the fun of numismatic research is that you're not alone: you can utilize the findings of those who have gone before or bring current experts along to help you navigate. The following is a quick run-through of steps involved in research of the undated Templeton Reid $10.
Reviewed census of the three pieces listed in Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins.
Image courtesy National Numismatic Collection, Smithsonian Institution
Tried to find images off all three examples: the Smithsonian's best piece is plated in Breen; the other Smithsonian piece is illustrated on PCGS CoinFacts; the third piece was missing.
Breen notes that the lesser Smithsonian piece was illustrated in the Redbook from 1947-1970. Pulled a 1969 edition…the coins do not match.
Called David McCarthy at Kagin's to find out what he knew. He's an expert on Territorial gold coins and he agreed with three specimens. Mentioned the Breen/Redbook image conflict and David looked up the 1966 Kreisberg/Schulman sale, where the plate matched the Redbook image exactly. Problem solved. He thinks this coin, the only one in private hands, may have been part of the 1967 Dupont robbery that was never recovered, thus there may be NO examples in private hands anymore. I need to find out if this coin was actually part of the robbery…another side-road.
Called John Dannreuther for his opinion of grades. He and McCarthy agree that the best Smithsonian coin is MS62-ish and Prooflike, and that both the second Smithsonian and the Kresiberg/Schulman examples are/were AU.
Reviewed Edgar H. Adams publications concerning Territorial Gold as published on-line at Google Books. No insight there, but I did learn something about the J.S. Ormsby $5…another side-road.
Trying to locate copies of Dr. Dexter Seymour's two works on Templeton Reid coins…apparently, he was Reid's biographer and an expert on his life and coins. Must purchase two different numbers of the American Numismatic Society's Museum Notes.
Finally, I discovered through a Google search that Templeton Reid's parents were Alexander Reid and Elizabeth Sarrazin and that he had two brothers, Collin and Samuel.
The upshot is that we now have corrected/updated pedigrees for all three pieces and we either have or can get images of all three. There are a couple of side-roads to be investigated, as time permits in the future, which I'm sure will be interesting journeys in themselves.
Now, it's on to the next coin and another wild ride!
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