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1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece

1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece

In early 1938 the Commission of Fine Arts announced an open competition to design a new nickel with the likeness of Thomas Jefferson. There were 390 artists who answered the call and submitted designs, some of them well known, some of them relatively unknown. I am sure that it didn’t hurt that in the midst of the Great Depression that there was a $1,000 prize for the winning design.

Amongst the aforementioned 390 artists, it was Felix Schlag’s design that was accepted. As is common practice then, and now, artists found way to further capitalize on their new found fame. With that in mind, Mr. Schlag acquired 150 Proof versions of new nickel from the mint and had them framed so as to sell them to the public.

In frames measuring approximately 9×11, Mr. Schlag signed the mat-board and had them notarized on September 20th, 1939, nearly one year after issue. The inside reads as follows:

“FIRST PRIZE WINNER AMONG 390 COMPETING ARTISTS IN THE NATIONAL COMPETITION FOR A NEW FIVE CENT COIN, APRIL 20,1938 (SIGNED) ‘FELIX SCHLAG’ SCULPTOR”

PROOF JEFFERSON NICKEL 1938

UPON REQUEST FELIX SCHLAG-DESIGNER OF THIS COIN HAS CONSENTED TO SIGN 150 PROOF JEFFERSON NICKELS-OF WHICH THE COIN ABOVE IS NUMBER __-SWORN TO BEFORE ME THIS 29TH DAY OF SETPEMB. A.D. 1939

Signed illegibly,

NOTARY PUBLIC

At Numismatic Americana Incorporated we have bought and sold many of the available 150 pieces over the years, including the number 1 specimen. These are great items for the collector of American history, Jefferson nickels, or just someone looking for a nice piece to hang in their den. We are proud to offer the following pieces for your consideration.

1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece #132

1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece #132

Number 132. In what I believe to be the original frame (although it is a little scuffed up). Ruggedly handsome.

Priced at: $2,000.00

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1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece #145

1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece #145

Number 145. In a modern frame (done by us), as close as possible to the original. Insides are very fresh, and this would look great on any Numismatist’s wall.

Priced at: $1,750.00

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A Pair of Lorillard (Lorrilard) Wise Plaster Models Submitted for the New Rochelle Commemorative Half Dollar

A Pair of Lorillard (Lorrilard) Wise Plaster Models Submitted for the New Rochelle Commemorative Half Dollar

Lorillard (or Lorrilard, as per Don Taxay) Wise was the first artist contacted about producing models for the proposed New Rochelle commemorative half dollar design. Interestingly, the designs and plasters were originally approved only to be highly modified and later rejected entirely with the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) moving to another artist (Gertrude Lathrop; designer of the previously issued Albany commemorative).

A July 20, 1936 letter from Charles Moore to acting Mint Director Mary O’Reilly requested that certain aspects of the submitted design be reworked and, after this was done, a follow up letter of August 17, 1936 to acting Mint Director O’Reilly stated that the models should be approved with some additional modifications. At that time the conditionally approved design featured a Native American crouched along the shore with ship in background on obverse paired with the New Rochelle coat of arms on reverse, which would match the pair of plasters offered presently. Photographs of these plasters are also included in Taxay’s “An Illustrated History of US Commemorative Coinage” on page 197. Instead of smoothly transitioning to coinage production, additional critiques of the designs were ongoing and a complete reworking of the Native American obverse was later submitted as a sketch including merely the shoreline of New Rochelle. At this point the CFA was split as to approving the designs and plans were put into place to remove Lorillard Wise from involvement and to instead go with Gertrude Lathrop for coinage design and production.

The initially approved designs by Wise, included here, offer a very different view of what might have been for the New Rochelle commemorative half dollar. The positioning of the Native American, in an apparent crouch, seems somewhat odd today and this was also the case in the critiques of 1936 as well as in 1967 when Taxay wrote “The obverse featured an Indian who anatomy can only be described as unfortunate.” There are two positions that the word LIBERTY appears on these first-draft models; one obverse has the inscription on the sun and another has it in the vegetation directly behind the Native American. The plaster included here has the inscription on the sun.

The two plasters included are quite clean with a crisp white appearance and essentially smooth, unmarked reverses. They are approximately nine inches across and one inch deep and neither is a perfect circle, but instead each shows irregular borders immediately surrounding the raised borders that encircle the proposed design.

 

Priced at: $7,500.00

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John Martin Blankenberg Alaskan gold mining photo

John Martin Blankenberg Alaskan gold mining photo

John Martin Blankenberg Alaskan gold mining photo; Blankenberg (Norwegian, 1860-1939) almost exclusively photographed the Yukon Territory gold rush camps of the late 19th-early 20th century. Pictured is a panoramic view of Dawson (City), capital of the Klondike, with docked paddlewheeler. 4 1/4″ x 11 3/4″. Signed and Stamped on back (John Blankenberg photographer, Haines Alaska)

John Martin Blankenberg was born in Tragdor, Norway, October 24, 1860. He came to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush and worked as a photographer in Dawson, Haines, and possibly other locations. Little is known of his personal life. He was married at one time and spent the latter part of his life in Tenakee, Alaska, which is where he died, August 19, 1939. He is best known for his photos of Haines, Lake Bennett, and Lake Lindeman, the Chilkat Indians, and activities on the Chilkoot Pass. Taken from the Alaska State Library
Priced at: $250.00

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John Martin Blankenberg Alaskan Gold Rush photo

John Martin Blankenberg Alaskan Gold Rush photo

John Martin Blankenberg Alaskan Gold Rush photo; professional panoramic image of the Eldorado works near Fairbanks. 4 1/4″ x 113/4″ Signed and stamped on back ( John Blankenberg, Photographer, Haines Alaska)

John Martin Blankenberg was born in Tragdor, Norway, October 24, 1860. He came to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush and worked as a photographer in Dawson, Haines, and possibly other locations. Little is known of his personal life. He was married at one time and spent the latter part of his life in Tenakee, Alaska, which is where he died, August 19, 1939. He is best known for his photos of Haines, Lake Bennett, and Lake Lindeman, the Chilkat Indians, and activities on the Chilkoot Pass. Taken from the Alaska State Library
Priced at: $250.00

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John Martin Blankenberg Klondike Gold Rush photo

John Martin Blankenberg Klondike Gold Rush photo

John Martin Blankenberg Klondike Gold Rush photo; professional photographer’s image of established mining site in the Yukon Territory. 7 1/2″ x 9 1/2″

John Martin Blankenberg was born in Tragdor, Norway, October 24, 1860. He came to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush and worked as a photographer in Dawson, Haines, and possibly other locations. Little is known of his personal life. He was married at one time and spent the latter part of his life in Tenakee, Alaska, which is where he died, August 19, 1939. He is best known for his photos of Haines, Lake Bennett, and Lake Lindeman, the Chilkat Indians, and activities on the Chilkoot Pass. Taken from the Alaska State Library
Priced at: $250.00

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John Martin Blankenberg photo of Alaskan Gold Rush

John Martin Blankenberg photo of Alaskan Gold Rush

John Martin Blankenberg photo of Alaskan Gold Rush; miners pose by sluice works after introduction of primitive automation. 6 1/2″ x 9 1/2″.

John Martin Blankenberg was born in Tragdor, Norway, October 24, 1860. He came to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush and worked as a photographer in Dawson, Haines, and possibly other locations. Little is known of his personal life. He was married at one time and spent the latter part of his life in Tenakee, Alaska, which is where he died, August 19, 1939. He is best known for his photos of Haines, Lake Bennett, and Lake Lindeman, the Chilkat Indians, and activities on the Chilkoot Pass. Taken from the Alaska State Library
Priced at: $250.00

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John Martin Blankenberg photo of Alaskan Gold Rush families

John Martin Blankenberg photo of Alaskan Gold Rush families

John Martin Blankenberg photo of Alaskan Gold Rush families; some in Sunday dress, one rotund rowdy on his somnolent steed, all posed before a dense Yukon stand. Early 20th century image. 6″ x 8″

John Martin Blankenberg was born in Tragdor, Norway, October 24, 1860. He came to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush and worked as a photographer in Dawson, Haines, and possibly other locations. Little is known of his personal life. He was married at one time and spent the latter part of his life in Tenakee, Alaska, which is where he died, August 19, 1939. He is best known for his photos of Haines, Lake Bennett, and Lake Lindeman, the Chilkat Indians, and activities on the Chilkoot Pass. Taken from the Alaska State Library
Priced at: $250.00

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Shreve and Company Catalogue 1910-1911

Shreve and Company Catalogue 1910-1911

This Shreve and Company catalogue comes bound in a heavy paper cover that has embedded within it a dramatic copper plate with an approximate size of 1-3/4 x 3-1/2 inches. Shreve and Company is a luxury jeweler and silversmith entity that has been in San Francisco since 1854. Their building was one of the few to survive the earthquake of 1906. This catalogue might be considered the Sears catalogue of high end jewelers and silversmiths. It is a heavy book of approximately 225-pages with nearly every page featuring a large photograph (halftone plates) of a group of items for sale with prices listed on the bottom of each page. At the back of the book there is still the attached order form with the date of order listed as “191_”. The off-white cover has some light staining and some of the interior pages also have some light discoloration or staining. The pages are made of high quality material and are intentionally ragged cut on the edges.

 

Priced at: $1,200.00

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Two Unsigned Plaster Models for the Jefferson Nickel Competition of 1938

Two Unsigned Plaster Models for the Jefferson Nickel Competition of 1938

A Treasury Department Art Projects Bulletin, No. 14, of 1938 announced an open competition for the design of the new Jefferson nickel. Although the competition was open to the public, there had been a number of announcements already mailed off to known artists who might be interested and capable. The winner of the competition would receive $1,000 and the committee to pick the winner would be composed of Nellie Tayloe Ross, Director of the Mint along with the sculptors Sidney Waugh, Albert Stewart and Heinz Warneke. Two of the major requirements were that the models could not be signed and that any artist that would have liked to have had his or her models returned would have to pay for the return shipping. Additional detailed instructions as to the format and content were included in the announcement. Approximately 390-entries were submitted and, unfortunately, the great majority of those entries have not been found and/or connected to their artists. The winner of the competition was of course Felix Schlag, with Honorable Mention going to Henry Kreis. Kreis is better known to modern numismatists as the designer of the Connecticut and Bridgeport commemorative half dollars and the artist who engraved the obverse of the Robinson commemorative half dollar. Although Schlag won the competition, the final reverse design chosen to be placed into production bore little resemblance to his dramatic three-quarters view of Monticello.

The two plaster models included here are without signature marks of any type.  They are most likely a pair submitted at one time by a single artist as their patina and style look quite similar. The creamy, antique white obverse has IN GOD WE TRUST in front of the portrait, a widely spaced LIBERTY above and a closely spaced date set off-center below. There are some pencil marks that appear to be guidelines on the model as well as some tape on the edge, though the tape does not appear to have any function. The reverse is unmarked aside from some red, violet or pink ink that has long ago bled. The most dramatic feature readily visible, aside from the design, are a pair of holes drilled neatly through the model, each with an outer diameter of approximately 3/8 inch, perhaps for mounting on a wall. The likely mate for this obverse is a reverse that is strikingly similar to what was finally put into production later in 1938. It has many of the features we are familiar with on the first Jefferson nickels, but also has a pair of bold stars and the fine details of Monticello are in striking relief. Interestingly, the ink seen on the obverse mate is also seen on this piece in the field beneath E PLURIBUS UNUM as well as on the reverse. Additionally, myriad pencil markings are on the surfaces, generally along the edge and plain back, as well as a fairly large chip that has been lost from the rim above the A in AMERICA. This model also has holes drilled into it.

Each model is approximately 8-1/2 x ¾ inches.

 

Priced at: $7,500.00

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Unsigned Plaster Model for the Jefferson Nickel Competition of 1938

Unsigned Plaster Model for the Jefferson Nickel Competition of 1938

A Treasury Department Art Projects Bulletin, No. 14, of 1938 announced an open competition for the design of the new Jefferson nickel. Although the competition was open to the public, there had been a number of announcements already mailed off to known artists who might be interested and capable. The winner of the competition would receive $1,000 and the committee to pick the winner would be composed of Nellie Tayloe Ross, Director of the Mint along with the sculptors Sidney Waugh, Albert Stewart and Heinz Warneke. Two of the major requirements were that the models could not be signed and that any artist that would have liked to have had his or her models returned would have to pay for the return shipping. Additional detailed instructions as to the format and content were included in the announcement. Approximately 390-entries were submitted and, unfortunately, the great majority of those entries have not been found and/or connected to their artists. The winner of the competition was of course Felix Schlag, with Honorable Mention going to Henry Kreis. Kreis is better known to modern numismatists as the designer of the Connecticut and Bridgeport commemorative half dollars and the artist who engraved the obverse of the Robinson commemorative half dollar. Although Schlag won the competition, the final reverse design chosen to be placed into production bore little resemblance to his dramatic three-quarters view of Monticello.

The plaster model included here is without signature marks of any type.  It is a snowy white obverse model with IN GOD WE TRUST behind Jefferson’s head, LIBERTY spaced widely directly above his portrait and spaced widely and centered beneath. The model has very visible, raised guidelines for the letters and numbers and some mild staining by TY of LIBERTY. The reverse and sides are essentially unmarked with a few chips noted near the base, which are not visible when looking directly at the plaster.

The model is approximately 8-1/2 x ¾ inches.

 

Priced at: $4,500.00

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Contact Information

Numismatic Americana Incorporated
P.O. Box 608
Chester, NJ 07930

William Shamhart, Jr.
Phone: 1-908-962-1500
email: Bill@numismaticamericana.com

Notes on Our Next Show

58th Money Show of the Southwest

December 4-6, 2014
George R. Brown Convention Center
Houston, TX

If you have items to SELL please stop by our table and we will be happy to discuss purchasing them

We will also have many items with us for you to view. If you are looking for anything in particular, or have an interest in anything on our website, please email or give us a call, prior to the show and we will make sure we bring this item for you to view.

Thank you and we look forward to meeting you.

Show Schedule

58th Money Show of the Southwest
December 4-6, 2014
George R. Brown Convention Center
Houston, TX

FUN 60th Annual Convention
January 8-11, 2015
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, FL

National Money Show
March 5-7, 2015
Oregon Convention Center
Portland, OR

Central States Numismatic Society
April 22-25, 2015
Schaumburg Convention Center
Schaumburg, IL

Colorado Springs Coin Show
June 25-28, 2015
Freedom Financial Services Expo Center
Colorado Springs, CO