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Handwritten and Signed Letter from James Snowden 1858

This letter is written on stationary ornately printed with “Mint of the United States” at the upper right as well as having been embossed with a delightful facsimile of the then-current Seated Liberty design obverse in the upper left corner. The letter is handwritten by James Snowden while he was Director of the Mint and is addressed to John A. Rockwell. Rockwell had previously been a Whig Congressman from Connecticut who, at the time this letter was written, was working as an attorney in Washington, DC. The letter is written on a single piece of sturdy, cream colored paper folded in half vertically to produce four writing surfaces, or pages, of approximately 7-7/8” x 9-7/8” each. The handwritten portion of the letter fills one page and half of the back of that page. The remainder is unwritten on. The handwriting is bold and stylistic and was put down in thick, black ink that has faded only very little over time. There are some contemporary smudges in the ink likely from the time of writing and the paper has a few old, stray ink marks as well as light foxing in areas. The letter had been folded in half horizontally and then twice more vertically in order to be placed into the original envelope (included with the letter) to produce six equally sized panes within the letter. The accompanying envelope, on matching stationary, bears a three-cent Washington stamp with octagonal cancelation mark over “Mint of the United States”. The envelope is definitely worse for wear as the reverse portion of it has a large, gaping hole, but it presents very well from the obverse.

The letter is apparently a reply to John Rockwell from a letter he had previously sent to James Snowden and appears to be about gold production throughout the world as referenced in a previous Annual Report written by Snowden. Most of the letter has been deciphered by us with only a few, scattered words remaining a mystery. Unfortunately, without those words it is a more difficult letter to read and comprehend. This would make for a terrific research project if one were inclined to pursue it. Overall, this is a fabulous offering.

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

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

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