The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 20, May 14, 2017, Article 15


Eckfeldt medals

Here's the description of Lot 1224 in the upcoming June 4, 2017 sale by Ira and Larry Goldberg - a fabulous collection of U.S. Mint material handed down through the Eckfeldt family. Sold as a single lot, the grouping is an amazing find related to the "First Family of the U.S. Mint." -Editor

Eckfeldt Collection, First Family of the U.S. Mint, Including Likely-Unique Mint Medals, an 1803 $10 MS61, and Mint-related Presidential Documents. The collection encompasses historic gold medals and documents that belonged to the Eckfeldt family, whose history with the U.S. Mint goes back to the 1790s, when John Jacob Eckfeldt was a contractor to both the Mint of North America and the first U.S. Mint. The Eckfeldts were involved in creating coinage for the colonies, even before they won their independence. Highlights of the collection include:

1. An 1839 gold medal presented to Adam Eckfeldt upon the occasion of his retirement from the U.S. Mint. The solid gold (likely 900 fine) medal depicts Adam Eckfeldt as Chief Coiner of the Mint from 1814-1839. It is 50mm in diameter and weighs 104.1 grams. This gold striking is believed to be unique. It is graded PF62 by NGC. 2. The

1925 gold medal presented to Jacob B. Eckfeldt upon his 60th anniversary as an employee of the Mint. This medal is gold (likely 900 fine), 50 mm and weighs 76.19 grams. Graded PF66 by NGC and likely unique.

3. The 1930 U.S. Mint medal given to Jacob B. Eckfeldt upon his retirement in 1930. Engraved on the obverse is: "Assayer-U.S. Mint 1881-1930" and on the reverse: "From your associates in the U.S. Mint in sincere appreciation of long and distinguished service. Assayer Dept. April 15 1865 Dec 31 1929." The medal is 55 mm in length, 40 mm in width, and weighs 91.16. Also likely unique.

4. The 1803 $10 gold eagle, graded MS61 by NGC, was obtained by a family member in 1807. It is accompanied by the original envelope and letters documenting its provenance from that time.

5, Three original presidential appointments, including:

(A) Document signed by James Madison as President and by James Monroe as Secretary of State, appointing Adam Eckfeldt as Chief Coiner of the U.S. Mint, Feb. 15, 1814.

(B) Document signed by Andrew Jackson as President and Edward Livingston as Secretary of State, appointing Jacob R. Eckfeldt Assayer of the U.S. Mint, April 30, 1832.

(C.) Document signed by Chester A. Arthur as President and Frederick T. Frelinghuysen as Acting Secretary of State, Dec. 21, 1881.

John Adam Eckfeldt (1769-1852, known as Adam) served as the second chief coiner of the Mint, from 1814 until 1839. His father, John Jacob Eckfeldt, was a German immigrant who owned a large smithy and was involved in early attempts at American coinage; he made dies for Robert Morris's coinage in 1783. Adam Eckfeldt built early presses for the Mint, engraved some of its early dies, and was responsible for the designs of early American copper coinage, as well as the 1792 half disme, which some authorities consider the first United States coin. He was appointed assistant coiner of the Mint in 1796, and became chief coiner on his predecessor's death in 1814. When Adam Eckfeldt retired in 1839, after 47 years, the other officers of the Mint had a gold coin struck as a token of their respect for him. Bronze copies were struck for the other officers and two were struck in silver and were given to the President and the Secretary of the Treasury.

Jacob R. Eckfeldt (1803-1872), Adam's son, was appointed Assayer of the Mint in 1821 and served in that capacity for 40 years. His son, Jacob B. Eckfeldt (1846-1938) served in the Mint from 1865 to 1929, 48 of these 64 years as Chief Assayer of the U.S. Mint. With the resignation of Jacob B., the Eckfeldt family ended 137 years of service to the U.S. Mint.

Also included in the collection are numerous historical letters related to the Eckfeldt family and the U.S. Mint, as well as some personal letters and photographs. This collection should definitely be examined personally to be appreciated. The historical and numismatic importance of this lot simply cannot be overstated. The Eckfeldt family was one of the dominate families that navigated the exhuasting politics from the highest levels of government and maintened their iron grip on the Philadelphia Mint itself for generations. The Eckfeldt family stewardship of this beloved institution places them at the pinnacle of decisions for the Mint, right down to the floor sweepings. An absolute treasure trove of information, historical documents and several juicy tidbits no doubt lie within the letters themselves (PCGS # 1056) Estimate Value $100,000 - UP

I asked a couple of our regular contributors for additional information. -Editor

Alan V. Weinberg writes:

This group has been on the numismatic bourse market for over two years, exhibited for sale at both the Whitman Baltimore shows and the Long Beach Expo shows. It has been on consignment by Eckfeldt descendants family, and the asking price of $250,000 seems to have been set by the consignors, not the dealership. The collection elements have been available for in-hand examination at the shows.

The three US Mint medals are certainly at least .900 fine and Anthony Terranova's research indicates many older, virtually unique presentation US Mint gold medals are closer to .999 purity.

The unique gold 1839 Adam Eckfeldt gold medal is numismatically the most desirable of the group and is probably worth $60- $75,000 alone. Silvers are very rare and valued above $5,000 some years ago (one is in David Sundman's collection, ex Terranova and was on exhibit at a Baltimore show a few years back) and bronzes are also elusive.

The Goldberg firm's starting bid on the group is $50,000 (plus buyer's fee) and it should be worth at least double that hammer, assuming there is not a family-imposed reserve. If acquired, the 1803 eagle will almost certainly go its separate way. Aside from that 1803 eagle, the most valuable item is the Eckfeldt 1839 medal with the later Eckfeldt gold medals trailing in value at a great distance.

1839 Eckfeldt retirement medal obverse 1839 Eckfeldt retirement medal reverse

Pete Smith writes:

The Adam Eckfeldt retirement medal in gold was presented to Adam in 1839. When he died in 1852, his estate was divided among six living children and one grandchild. Each of them received a group of medals. The gold medal went to Jacob Reese Eckfeldt and was valued at the time at $70. Other descendents received silver medals and some of them remain with family members in 2017.

Jacob Reese Eckfeldt (1803-1872) probably left the Adam Eckfeldt gold medal to his oldest son, Adam Penn Eckfeldt (1837-1893). He had no children so the medal went to his oldest surviving brother, Jacob Bausch Eckfeldt (1846-1938). He added two more gold medals in 1925 and 1930.

His estate went to his oldest son, Howard Eckfeldt (1873-1948). From there it went to his oldest son, Jacob Trouselle Eckfeldt (1899-1967). Then it passed to Henry Eckfedlt who was born in 1938 and, as far as I know, is still living.

I made various attempts to locate the Adam Eckfeldt gold medal. Other family members guessed it was with Henry and I corresponded with him but he did not tell me he had the medal.

The three gold Eckfeldt medals and the Eckfeldt Family Archive came to light in 2014. The three medals were graded by NGC and exhibited at the ANA Convention that year in Chicago.

The entire archive was put up for auction on eBay with a closing date of November 9, 2014. The lot had an opening bid of $601,000 but failed to meet the reserve.

The collection was handled by Silvano DiGenova with Tangible Investments LLC of California. The collection was shown to some potential buyers but failed to sell and was returned to the family.

I learned at the Central States convention that the collection was coming up for sale again in 2017. I spoke to DiGenova about this at Central States but he was not aware of the upcoming sale.

It is a fabulous collection of material related to the family and the earlier days at the Mint. I would love to own any of the gold medals individually or the collection as a whole.

Thanks, guys. I was at the Baltimore show where the group was on display, but didn't know about it until afterwards. What a fabulous numismatic legacy! I would recommend to anyone attending the Long Beach show to go to lot viewing and see the archive in person. It could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Eckfeldt Collection, First Family of the U.S. Mint, Including Likely-Unique Mint Medals, an 1803 $10 MS61, and Mint-related Pres (


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