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J Hewett Judd – pattern coin expert – and “almost” criminal?

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The book by J. Hewett Judd, MD on US Pattern coins helped increase interest in this “coiner’s caviar.”


In 1947, as Dr. Judd was working on the book, the U.S. Secret Service was debating confiscation – not of his coins, but of plaster molds made for illustration purposes.


From the report of June 20, 1947:


It is mentioned in the report [by agents Chval and Gruber]… that the impression of the molds are projected on a screen and photographed for use in illustrating a numismatic catalog Dr. Judd proposes to publish. U.S. Attorney Joseph T. Votava…considers this permissible.


However agent Spingarn, head of the Omaha, Nebraska office, was not convinced, stating For a case sustaining a conviction for making molds apparently similar to those possessed by Dr. Judd see “Cole v United States.” If any of the molds possessed by Dr. Judd were made in violation of the provisions of section 169 of the criminal code, it is my opinion that they can be taken into the possession of the Secret Service and forfeited….


Fortunately, sensible minds prevailed.


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