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The Eagle on the Coins

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I thought this was a good story and wanted to share it.


If you have a silver dollars of 1836, or 1838 or 1839, or one of the nickel cents coined in 1856, 1857 or 1858, you will find upon them the portrait of "Peter," who was for many years the pet of the U. S. Mint at Philadelphia.


Not only did he have free access to every part of the Mint, going without hindrance into the treasury vaults, where even the treasurer of the United States would not go alone, but used his own pleasure in going about the city, flying over the houses, sometimes perching upon the lamp-posts in the streets.


Everybody knew and admired him, and even the street boys treated him with respect. The government provided his daily fare, and he was as much a part of the Mint establishment as the superintendent or chief coiner.


He was so kindly treated that he had no fear of anybody or anything, and he might be in the Mint yet if he had not sat down to rest on one of the great fly wheels. the wheel started without warning, and Peter was caught in the machinery. One of his wings was broken, and he died a few days later.


The superintendent had his body beautifully mounted, with the wings spread to their fullest extent., an to this day Peter stands in a glass case in the Mint's cabinet, where you may see him whenever you go there. He sat for the "eagle" design which is a feature of the coins mentioned.--Pluck


Courtesy The Numismatist, July 1903, p. 212.


Who'd a thunk it?


Did they follow it around cleaning up after it?



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I believe that Peter the eagle is still on display at the Philadelphia Mint, at least he was the last time I was there. He is in a lucite box that is over the entrance. I have pictures of him in a book somewhere, and I thought that I might have had one I taken, but that would have to have been on the fly. They don't allow photos in the mint.

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