A side-note to Saint-Gaudens pattern double eagle
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In this letter, noted collector Joseph Mitchelson (now the Connecticut State Coin Collection) was told to send $20 - face value - for one of the patterns, and Director Leach would try to get a coin for him.

 

December 30, 1907

From: Leach

To: Joseph Mitchelson

      Your letters of the 20th and 25th at hand.

     Send me $20 and return postage and Registration fee and I will try to secure one of the $20 for you. Mr. Kunz has already applied for trial piece of the first designs for his Society, I do not think there are any left of the first model. If you will send another $20 for your Society I will also endeavor to secure a coin for it as well…

Edited by RWB
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On 3/21/2022 at 2:32 PM, RWB said:

In this letter, noted collector Joseph Mitchelson (now the Connecticut State Coin Collection) was told to send $20 - face value - for one of the patterns, and Director Leach would try to get a coin for him. 

December 30, 1907

From: Leach

To: Joseph Mitchelson

      Your letters of the 20th and 25th at hand.

     Send me $20 and return postage and Registration fee and I will try to secure one of the $20 for you. Mr. Kunz has already applied for trial piece of the first designs for his Society, I do not think there are any left of the first model. If you will send another $20 for your Society I will also endeavor to secure a coin for it as well…

Very interesting, and for those who want more, get Roger's book. (thumbsu

Roger, Connecticut was the only museum/state that had a collection of gold coints/Double Eagles/Saints that they updated every year apparently ?  Nobody else I take it, besides the Smithsonian ?

I wonder if the CT State Library sent out a letter every year and if so...if they did it in 1933 ?

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On 3/21/2022 at 2:43 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Very interesting, and for those who want more, get Roger's book. (thumbsu

Roger, Connecticut was the only museum/state that had a collection of gold coints/Double Eagles/Saints that they updated every year apparently ?  Nobody else I take it, besides the Smithsonian ?

I wonder if the CT State Library sent out a letter every year and if so...if they did it in 1933 ?

Mitchelson donated his entire collection to the Connecticut State Library with the stipulation that current coins were to be added for each year as they were issued. For many years after Mitchelson's death, the State librarian, Godard, worked directly with the Mint Cabinet Curator, T. Louis Comparette, to provide new coins. Most of these were fresh off new dies and are possibly the finest pieces in existence --- never cleaned or "improved." I've examined parts of the collection and it forms some of the information basis for my objections to undocumented titling of nice circulation coins as "Specimen" or similar false language.

When Comparette died in 1922, and with transfer of the Mint's Cabinet to SI, the flow of new coins quickly diminished. SI continued to buy annual coins from the Mint, but they were no longer the highest quality, with some exceptions.

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On 3/21/2022 at 2:54 PM, RWB said:

Mitchelson donated his entire collection to the Connecticut State Library

I misread the post....I thought Mitchelson was in charge of the CSL, he was a private collector.   I forgot it was Godard who ran CSL and spoke/wrote to Comparette.

Thanks ! (thumbsu

 

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Comparette acquired new coins for Mitchelson/CSL and a few other museum collections. I've never located a list of these, but the context in Comparette's letters imply the number was small -- possibly 3 to 5. The original letters are in the State Archives (I accessed some of these during book research. They were very "stingy" with access and making copies.)

If the original receiving collections could be identified, we might have more examples of pristine coins made from fresh dies -- and then be able to better clarify the situation with [false] "Specimen" coins.

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On 3/22/2022 at 1:22 PM, RWB said:

If the original receiving collections could be identified, we might have more examples of pristine coins made from fresh dies -- and then be able to better clarify the situation with [false] "Specimen" coins.

If these were sent to museums or librarys, presumably they'd be on display and we'd know about them ?

Only two I am aware of is CSL and Smithsonian.

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On 3/22/2022 at 3:58 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

If these were sent to museums or librarys, presumably they'd be on display and we'd know about them ?

Only two I am aware of is CSL and Smithsonian.

Or...they might have been in museum collections but never displayed or accessed in modern times. Lots of these museum coins have been sold at auction. The only known Pratt $5 pattern might have been among those sold by the Boston Museum. No one knew about the pattern back then. When the collection was sold the pattern likely went out the door to be lost.

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On 3/22/2022 at 4:20 PM, RWB said:

 When the collection was sold the pattern likely went out the door to be lost.

Or somebody who worked there knew the value and took off with it.....xD

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No. The Pratt pattern was known only to Pratt, Barber and Pres. Roosevelt. The accession card merely says "1908 $5. Gift of W. S. Bigelow." The pattern would only be evident to someone who had seen the coin and been told what ti as, or had read the archived internal documentation. When the collection was auctioned, everyone associated with long dead.

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On 3/22/2022 at 3:58 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

If these were sent to museums or librarys, presumably they'd be on display and we'd know about them ?

Many museums don't display or only display a small part of their numismatic holdings.  So there could be a good chance we wouldn't know about them.

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On 3/24/2022 at 6:37 PM, Conder101 said:

Many museums don't display or only display a small part of their numismatic holdings.  So there could be a good chance we wouldn't know about them.

You think very valuable coins could be sitting in a drawer somewhere ?  I am sure there are SOME hidden coins, but I have to believe that any museum curator or director -- even if not a coin expert -- must know that the large gold coins he has squirreled away are potentially very valuable.

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Yes but putting them on display calls for creating new displays and they are a greater security risk and cost while on display,.  Most museums have limited resources and would rather put them to use displaying items of broader appeal while keeping the very valuable coins locked away.

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As can be seen from the first post, coins we think of today as valuable were considered ordinary and worth face or a little more. With no information about the Pratt $5 pattern, it would have been worth $5. (There was no pattern $2.50.) Also, it appears that none of the SG $5 patterns survive -- only the hubs.

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