Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ancient Roman Silver coins

The Roman Empire is really a road map to many other Republics that have followed. When it was young it had great power and riches. As it grew and over extended itself, it started to rot from within. The coinage of Rome is a great example. In its early days of coinage and well into the 2nd century, coins were made of gold and silver. By the later days of the empire they were cutting back on how much silver was in the coin. Eventually just coating them in silver. By the time of the end of the Roman Empire the money was as pretty much worthless as the Empire itself. Here I thought I would share a view of a Roman Silver coin, from an age so long ago.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The United States 2 cent coin 1864-1873

Few coins are as forgotten as the two cent piece minted from 1864 to 1873. It was made at the end of the civil war and was the first coin made in the United States that had the motto "In God we trust". The coin was not a massively minted coin, in fact the greatest amount of minting of these coins were in their earliest years. The two coins I put here are from 1865. So I thought it would be fun to show you a coin that is very much a forgotten piece of American history.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Why we are at war. A book of the speeches by Woodrow Wilson leading to our involvement in WWI. Printed May 1917

This book was published a month after Wilson's declaration of war.

This war to end all wars just accelerated the process for war and many wars would result from its shadows.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The New York Weekly Museum. A forgotten newspaper from America's past.

The Weekly Museum was a weekly paper dedicated to a little bit of this and that. By the end of the Madison administration it was no more. This paper is also filled with advertisements. The one that caught my eye was an early dentistry ad of offices on 114 Broadway. This gives you a chance to see a paper few ever knew existed and far more less have ever seen.

This issue was May 5, 1810

New-York Weekly Museum was published from September 20, 1788 - April 26, 1817. It was not a heavy duty paper, it was more about stories of the area and other easy going things. While going through the paper I found this early dental ad. I thought it interesting. It advertises the offices of Nathaniel Smith on 114 Broadway.

Why are there so many ancient Roman coins?

The main reason is that they were stored in such a way that so many of them survived. There was no such thing as bank vaults 2000 years ago. So what the Romans did and sometimes before them the Greeks, was to bury the coins in massive jars till they were needed. Well, by the 4 century AD there was not too much need for the coins and of course they were forgotten. Now over the last 40 or so years there have been massive amounts of these coins found. By the hundreds of thousands to be exact.

Ancient Roman coins are even owned by your humble writer here. However they really have, and I have to admit sadly, not the greatest value. But still there is a historic thrill when you hold one in your hand. Cause you know you are touching history.

Just within the last few months 52,000 Roman coins were found in a massive jar in England. There are many more still not discovered.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

In fairness to Aaron Burr, and time to show Jefferson and Hamilton were no better!

I am really tired of the beating Aaron Burr has taken historically. He is always portrayed as the bad guy to nice guys like Hamilton and Jefferson. I am tired of this rubbish. I am not saying Burr was a saint, but he was no worse than Hamilton or Jefferson.
In fact I think he was really a better person than Jefferson in many regards. Specially a more honest one.
Jefferson was one of the worst politicians to inhabit the White House. Today we call him a saint, the only reason for that is how little people really know about Jefferson. His actions as a vice President before hand were worthy of impeachment!

Hamilton was not much better, in fact he was nearly as bad a hypocrite as Jefferson, but not quite that bad.
With Jefferson, integrity was just not one of his virtues. Hamilton was not too far behind, but with him he had the cloak of security, protected by Washington.

Burr had the misfortune of being in the way for the political egos of Hamilton, Jefferson, and too a degree George Washington. Washington was too busy finding ways to become more famous to bother with Burr. No one was in Washington's league except for Franklin.
As for Hamilton and Jefferson they crafted the stories about Burr, they equally did him a terrible disservice.
I would like Jefferson to be discussed like Burr, tear him apart some and see what a phony he was.
Hamilton became a Martyr to Burr's bullet in a duel. What he was before that bullet was something else. His career as a politician was on a fast decline, he was known for being crafty, and very loose at the mouth. He was also very emotional, and would get worked up over things and then do the most bizarre things you can imagine.

He was hated by Jefferson, and of course Jefferson was famous for hiring people to destroy you if you did not agree with HIS politics.

So Hamilton suffered under Jefferson as well, far more so than by any attack by Burr.

All of these men were equally brilliant. Yet one was attacked over and over again by the people who were equally as bad as him. Three people so very much alike. Hamilton, Jefferson and Burr. None were greater than the other, except in biased history books and letters written by them.

Do many people think of the fact that the first major politician in NYC to push for women's suffrage was Aaron Burr, the first major politician who was for freeing the slaves when Hamilton (he had a few) and Jefferson (he had hundreds of them) were having no major quarrel over it.
Burr brought in the first fresh water system into NYC, and started what would become Tammany Hall. A place for the common man that had been overlooked by Jefferson and Hamilton. He also started an early banking system for the common man. He understood long before Hamilton that in New York you had many immigrants, and the important thing to do was to make them citizens. These people who were simple would also vote for you for life. That was the beginnings of what would become Tammany Hall.

Hamilton was the one person who could really make Burr loose his cool. It lead to the duel, after too many insults had poured from the mouth of Hamilton. Burr never should have allowed Hamilton to drive him crazy. Hamilton was not the nice guy he is made into today either. He was a political animal as well and was frighteningly obsessed with Burr.

Hamilton, Jefferson, and Burr were great, good, and sometimes very bad men. Neither was much better than the other, as all of them had their hands in the political cookie jar at times.

Jefferson tried to convict Burr of plotting to create a nation in the west. He was of course acquitted as it was basically created by Jefferson to embarrass Burr.

One hardly hears of the man who was with Burr on his trip out west.

His name was Andrew Jackson. No one dares say that Jackson was trying to do what Burr was. Once it is really looked at you can see it is Jefferson at his best, doing his worst to someone.

I was wrong of Burr to challenge Hamilton to a duel, it was also wrong for Hamilton to bring trick guns to the duel as well. Both of these guys were the same, equally good and bad.

But today Burr is bad and Jefferson and Hamilton are saints..... hmmmmmmmm, History is indeed written by the winners.
So sorry for the lack of information and honesty about you Mr. Burr. Of the batch, I like you the best.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

One of the great song hits of the 20th century. "Bill Bailey, won't you please come home".

This great song was written in 1902 by Hughie Cannon (1877-1912). He was a talented song writer who sadly was also a very heavy drinker. He wrote a number of songs, but his greatest success was Bill Bailey. Due to the fact that Cannon was in pretty rough straights, he often sold the rights to all of the songs he wrote. He died in 1912 at the early age of 35 from drinking and liver failure. This early 9 inch Zon-O-Phone record from 1903 is an early example. It is performed here by Arthur Collins (1864 - 1933) Who probably made more records of this song than anyone. But who would have guessed in 1902, that Hughie Cannon's song would do so well.

Our Modern Navy 1898

This wonderful book was published in 1898, while we were at war with Spain. It is a picture book of all the capital ships in the US Navy at the time. In the book are pieces on ships, sailors, and even a piece included here on war prizes. It is a great piece of Navy history from the end of the 19th century. I have added just a few of its many pages. I think the piece on war prizes is quite fascinating.