Monday, March 31, 2014

George Washington medal from New York's 100th anniversary of his inauguration in 1889 .

There was a massive celebration in New York City to honor the 100th anniversary of Washington's inauguration there on April 30, 1789. This medal was cast as many others were at that time. What is interesting about this medal is it honors Washington on one side and shows the Brooklyn Bridge on the other as the eighth wonder of the world. A unique piece of history from 125 years ago.

John Brown..Written by James Redpath in 1859 and published in 1860. One of the first major writings on Brown.

This book was written from the direct conversation with John Brown in 1857 and in his last days. The book was endorsed by Brown's widow and son. The author James Redpath, was a fiery abolitionist and was involved with working to get support for John Brown in Boston. This was at the recommendation of John Brown himself. At the time this was a hotbed of the anti-slavery crowd. Most of the monies made from this book, which is very sympathetic to Brown went to his wife and family. I have added the first few pages of this rare book and let you read yourself some of the raw feelings that were afoot in 1860. This book of course was written before the Civil War. At the time of John Brown's raid in 1859, his actions set off a chain of events that shook the slave owning community to it's core. 

It is interesting that the fledgling Republican party and of course Lincoln stayed as far away from this as possible. Brown was passionate and misguided. But his actions and thoughts were in line and would be one of the factors that would lead to war. The military panel that judged him was lead by Robert E. Lee. Of course Redpath mentions nothing about Lee here as at the time he was not a major figure. What is interesting here is that Redpath mentions George Washington's actions a lot. Of course in the thought of his actions against the British during the revolution. Robert E. Lee, who would be in charge of the execution of Brown was Washington's step great grandson through marriage.  

Redpath would be the author and ghostwriter for many books. Oddly, he would be the ghost writer for Jefferson Davis's autobiography and history of the Confederacy.     

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Civil War Tokens 1863-1864

Here are a few examples of Civil War tokens. Mostly made between 1863-64. All of them by private groups. The Civil War Token was based on the size of the one cent piece, which was hard to find at the time. This is why they were made.. They would be valued at one or two cents. Although it was truly not legal tender, as it was not made by the government. These coins would be made illegal in 1864. But for a year or so they were used as currency. The coins were made in the size of the new styled one cent coin. The flying Eagle cent (1856-1858) and the Indian Head 1859-1909) which are pictured right below this. After this you will see a few tokens that deal with the war. On the coins are things we recognize, such as the USS. Monitor and Abraham Lincoln. Others have the flag, oaths, threats, and even a nice picture of  the bust of Liberty in 1863.  They are interesting to look at and see what was money in 1863-64...During the height of the Civil War..

Our first one cent coins were even larger than today's quarters. Not too easy to carry them around. But one cent was a lot of money then, and you would not have too many with you anyway. Look at these...

The first one cent coins made in the USA were huge. They contained near a cent's worth of copper. Also based on the Penny which comes from England. The nations early coins tried to look like other currencies. I thought I would put a few examples of one cents coins. The production of the large coin ended in 1857. These coins would be replaced by the smaller sized Flying Eagle, which were the size of the modern one cent piece. Here I have five different styles of one cent pieces. All of them were made in the Philadelphia mint.

Shown here are a 1798, 1803, 1818, 1841, 1856. All are different and unique. Today when our one cent piece is made of zinc and coated with copper. It brings back the memory of a time when not only were the one cent pieces almost totally copper, but three times the size of a modern penny.