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Exonumia of the Week

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.

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Exonumia of the Week

Group of Oregon Trail Exonumia Featuring Large Bronze Plaque & Medal

The Oregon Trail commemorative is a favorite of many numismatists and this lot of material features a great deal of information associated with this coinage masterpiece produced by the husband and wife team of James Earle and Laura Gardin Fraser.

Included is a sterling silver pin with bright blue enamel showing a Conestoga wagon, an Old Oregon Trail Monument Expedition membership card from 1906, several vintage post cards and photos of Ezra Meeker, an Oregon Trail Memorial Associate medal awarded to Lewis B. Gawtry and an approximately 11-1/2 x 15 inch board with an approximately 9-1/2 inch bronze plaque firmly screwed to it.

Many more images are featured in the link for this grouping.

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1841-O Seated Liberty Quarter PCGS MS67 (CAC)

1841-O Seated Liberty Quarter PCGS MS67 (CAC)

Descriptions will be posted soon.

cac

PCGS Population: 1 Higher: 0
CAC Population/Higher: 1/0

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1850 Seated Liberty Quarter PCGS MS67 (CAC)

1850 Seated Liberty Quarter PCGS MS67 (CAC)

Descriptions will be posted soon.

cac

PCGS Population: 1 Higher: 0
CAC Population/Higher: 1/0

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1871 Seated Liberty Quarter PCGS MS67+ (CAC)

1871 Seated Liberty Quarter PCGS MS67+ (CAC)

Descriptions will be posted soon.

cac

PCGS Population: 1 Higher: 1
CAC Population/Higher: 1/0

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Coin of the Week

1913 Buffalo Nickel Type I PCGS MS67+ (CAC)

The Buffalo nickel, along with the Walking Liberty half dollar, is likely the quintessential American design. The obverse portrait is a composite of several contemporary Native American chiefs while the reverse has the famous portrayal of Black Diamond. James Earle Fraser intentionally left textured surfaces on this coin as part of the artistic aesthetic of the day, which resulted in coins that appear to have a matte finish with underlying luster instead of blinding flash. The example offered here has wonderful, icy blue toning throughout with a hint of lemon on the rims. As expected from the assigned grade, hits are at a minimum, the strike is good and the eye appeal outstanding. The Type I Buffalo nickel is rather common, but someone who appreciates extreme beauty may be quite happy with this example in either a traditional type set or a first-year type set.

cac

PCGS Population: 24 Higher: 17
CAC Population/Higher: 147/4
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Exonumia of the Week

Large Bronze Lincoln Plaque on Hardwood by Charles Calverley

Charles Calverley (1833-1914) began work as an apprentice stone cutter in Albany, NY, but his exemplary work earned him early recognition and his career progressed rapidly to the point that he was able to open his own studio in New York City in 1869. Calverley’s work appears in many art museums and his bust of Senator Lafayette Foster is on permanent display at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

This large and heavy plaque is firmly attached to a wooden backing board by two screws. The overall dimensions are approximately 15 x 16 inches with the central bronze artwork approximately 10-1/2 inches across. Near the bottom it is signed “C. CALVERLEY 1898” with a notation under that stating it was produced by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Co. Founders, New York in 1900.

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Large Bronze Lincoln Plaque on Hardwood by Charles Calverley

Large Bronze Lincoln Plaque on Hardwood by Charles Calverley

Charles Calverley (1833-1914) began work as an apprentice stone cutter in Albany, NY, but his exemplary work earned him early recognition and his career progressed rapidly to the point that he was able to open his own studio in New York City in 1869. Calverley’s work appears in many art museums and his bust of Senator Lafayette Foster is on permanent display at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

This large and heavy plaque is firmly attached to a wooden backing board by two screws. The overall dimensions are approximately 15 x 16 inches with the central bronze artwork approximately 10-1/2 inches across. Near the bottom it is signed “C. CALVERLEY 1898” with a notation under that stating it was produced by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Co. Founders, New York in 1900.

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Group of Oregon Trail Exonumia Featuring Large Bronze Plaque & Medal

Group of Oregon Trail Exonumia Featuring Large Bronze Plaque & Medal

The Oregon Trail commemorative is a favorite of many numismatists and this lot of material features a great deal of information associated with this coinage masterpiece produced by the husband and wife team of James Earle and Laura Gardin Fraser.

Included is a sterling silver pin with bright blue enamel showing a Conestoga wagon, an Old Oregon Trail Monument Expedition membership card from 1906, several vintage post cards and photos of Ezra Meeker, an Oregon Trail Memorial Associate medal awarded to Lewis B. Gawtry and an approximately 11-1/2 x 15 inch board with an approximately 9-1/2 inch bronze plaque firmly screwed to it.

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Coin of the Week

1839-O Reeded Edge Half Dollar PCGS MS65

The 1839-O Reeded Edge half dollar might be considered one of the quintessential “cool” coins of American numismatics. It is the first regular issue branch mint half dollar in United States history; prominently sports a terrific, large “O” mintmark just above the date on the obverse; was issued from a now defunct, Southern mint; has a relatively low initial mintage and a sparse number of extant pieces; and has an avid collector following. General awareness within the numismatic community of the attractive characteristics for this coin has grown in recent years, since the publication of the presently definitive work on the Reeded Edge half dollar series. It is one thing to find a low grade problem coin, but to find any 1839-O Reeded Edge half dollar with substantial meat and attractive surfaces is a mighty tall order. Indeed, anything from VF or above with original and attractive surfaces rarely comes to market, and when these pieces do surface, they tend to disappear quickly into strong hands.

Here is an opportunity to acquire one of the finest 1839-O Reeded Edge half dollars that one is ever likely to see. At first glance the surfaces appear nearly white, but a closer inspection reveals a light lilac blush throughout most of the coin with stronger lime and gold hints near the rims. The patina is thick and wonderful, the diagnostic die cracks that connect the obverse stars and invade the reverse design are easily visible and the re-cut “O” mintmark is obvious. The coin is even replete with three carbon marks, which could be used as pedigree marks, on the reverse. This is not an issue found in a high level of preservation with any frequency and to find an extant gem is enough of a reason to build a one-coin collection, if needed.

PCGS Population: 4 Higher: 2
CAC Population/Higher: 1/1

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1839-O Reeded Edge Half Dollar PCGS MS65

1839-O Reeded Edge Half Dollar PCGS MS65

The 1839-O Reeded Edge half dollar might be considered one of the quintessential “cool” coins of American numismatics. It is the first regular issue branch mint half dollar in United States history; prominently sports a terrific, large “O” mintmark just above the date on the obverse; was issued from a now defunct, Southern mint; has a relatively low initial mintage and a sparse number of extant pieces; and has an avid collector following. General awareness within the numismatic community of the attractive characteristics for this coin has grown in recent years, since the publication of the presently definitive work on the Reeded Edge half dollar series. It is one thing to find a low grade problem coin, but to find any 1839-O Reeded Edge half dollar with substantial meat and attractive surfaces is a mighty tall order. Indeed, anything from VF or above with original and attractive surfaces rarely comes to market, and when these pieces do surface, they tend to disappear quickly into strong hands.

Here is an opportunity to acquire one of the finest 1839-O Reeded Edge half dollars that one is ever likely to see. At first glance the surfaces appear nearly white, but a closer inspection reveals a light lilac blush throughout most of the coin with stronger lime and gold hints near the rims. The patina is thick and wonderful, the diagnostic die cracks that connect the obverse stars and invade the reverse design are easily visible and the re-cut “O” mintmark is obvious. The coin is even replete with three carbon marks, which could be used as pedigree marks, on the reverse. This is not an issue found in a high level of preservation with any frequency and to find an extant gem is enough of a reason to build a one-coin collection, if needed.

PCGS Population: 4 Higher: 2
CAC Population/Higher: 1/1

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1913 Buffalo Nickel Type I PCGS MS67+ (CAC)

1913 Buffalo Nickel Type I PCGS MS67+ (CAC)

The Buffalo nickel, along with the Walking Liberty half dollar, is likely the quintessential American design. The obverse portrait is a composite of several contemporary Native American chiefs while the reverse has the famous portrayal of Black Diamond. James Earle Fraser intentionally left textured surfaces on this coin as part of the artistic aesthetic of the day, which resulted in coins that appear to have a matte finish with underlying luster instead of blinding flash. The example offered here has wonderful, icy blue toning throughout with a hint of lemon on the rims. As expected from the assigned grade, hits are at a minimum, the strike is good and the eye appeal outstanding. The Type I Buffalo nickel is rather common, but someone who appreciates extreme beauty may be quite happy with this example in either a traditional type set or a first-year type set.

cac

PCGS Population: 24 Higher: 17
CAC Population/Higher: 147/4

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1957 Roosevelt Dime PCGS PR68+DCAM

1957 Roosevelt Dime PCGS PR68+DCAM

Descriptions will be posted soon.

PCGS Population: 1 Higher: 4
CAC Population/Higher: -/-

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Coin of the Week

1936 Walking Liberty Half Dollar PCGS PR66 (CAC)

Many strongly believe that proof Walking Liberty half dollars are among the most attractive coins that the United States Mint has ever produced. These coins carry the iconic Walking Liberty design of Adolph Weinman, which itself is reminiscent of Oscar Roty’s Le Semeuse (The Sower) that strode across the coins of France during the same time period. However, no reverse design of The Sower could match the large and powerful eagle that adorns Weinman’s work, complete with seemingly impossibly complex plumage.

Walking Liberty half dollar proofs were only issued from 1936-1942 with the earliest issues being far tougher to find in gem levels of preservation. Only 3,901 coins were issued and aside from the difficulty in finding gems, finding those coins with original surfaces is even tougher. This particular example has wonderful splashes of toning around the rims that are consistent with long term storage in the original mint packaging material. It is amazing that a coin in a series this popular, which looks this attractive and with this low an original mintage to go along with its conditional scarcity could be obtained in today’s market at these levels. Perhaps the greatest trick to obtaining a coin such as this is the opportunity to purchase it, rather than the price level.

cac

PCGS Population: 295 Higher: 45
CAC Population/Higher: 82/18

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Exonumia of the Week

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.

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Coin of the Week

1879 Seated Liberty Quarter PCGS MS68+ (CAC)

The Seated Liberty denominations can be a bear for type set collectors and are definitely among the most difficult for the date/mintmark collectors. Taking the quarters by themselves, there are six varieties or sub-types generally recognized for inclusion into a type set, which include No Drapery, No Motto, Arrows & Rays, Arrows No Motto, With Motto as well as Arrows With Motto. Those collectors who buy gem or near-gem coinage typically do not obtain each of these varieties and instead will concentrate on one or two superb examples of the type. This coin would satisfy nearly anyone wanting to obtain a super-gem for type purposes.

The With Motto coinage is the most easily obtained in high grade, but even in this variety there are gradations to the definition of “easily obtained”. The great majority of the latter date issues, starting with 1879 and continuing through the end of the series, were produced in such strikingly low quantities that there basal price levels are quite high. The coin offered here is from that latter production period and had an original mintage of only 13,600 pieces. Both obverse and reverse are awash in a rich blend of blue and violet that start as swirls of deep navy around the rims and gradually change to violet in the center. The coin is very clean of marks, as would be expected at the MS68+ grade level, and the strike is quite strong throughout including the eagle’s talons and wing tips, Ms. Liberty’s hair and fingers and along the rims of both obverse and reverse shields. This coin glows when rotated in the light and has superb “curb appeal” as well as superb eye appeal under a loupe. This could be a one-coin collection, the highlight of a complete type set or the cornerstone to a fabulous Seated Liberty type set.

cac

PCGS Population: 1 Higher: 0
CAC Population/Higher: 3/0

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1861 Seated Liberty Half Dollar CSA Restrike PCGS MS62 (CAC)

1861 Seated Liberty Half Dollar CSA Restrike PCGS MS62 (CAC)

Descriptions will be posted soon.

cac

PCGS Population: 33 Higher: 26
CAC Population/Higher: -/-

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1937 Antietam PCGS MS67 (CAC)

1937 Antietam PCGS MS67 (CAC)

Descriptions will be posted soon.

cac

PCGS Population: 298 Higher: 29
CAC Population/Higher: 94/10

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1911 Indian Half Eagle PCGS MS64+ (CAC)

1911 Indian Half Eagle PCGS MS64+ (CAC)

Descriptions will be posted soon.

cac

PCGS Population: 33 Higher: 61
CAC Population/Higher: 55/22

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Contact Information

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

William Shamhart, Jr.
email: Bill@numismaticamericana.com

Notes on Our Next Show





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