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Hawaiian offering made 1847 cents scarce


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Do you know the legend that surrounds the disappearance of the 1847 Hawaii cents?

The reverse design of the 1847 cent includes a wreath of ohelo leaves and berries. This is a plant that grows on the slopes of Kilauea volcano. The connection was enough to make the coins popular as a substitute sacrifice to Pele, the goddess of fire who was believed to live in the volcano. As a result, large quantities of the cents were thrown into the volcano. Supposedly this is the reason for their scarcity.

Did Leonardo da Vinci sketch a design for a coin press?

Yes, da Vinci actually did sketch a design for a coin stamper. A 10-foot model was built from da Vinci?s plans by the Roger Williams Mint and donated to the American Numismatic Association?s museum. Had the stamper been built, it would have vastly improved the quality of coinage the period.

Did the same Robert Patterson who defeated the first proposal for the 2-cent piece as director of the Mint later make the suggestion that it be adopted?

Same name, different generation. Robert Patterson, director of the Mint, strenuously opposed a Senate bill for the coin in 1806. Robert M. Patterson, his son, proposed the successful bill that was passed and made into law Dec. 12, 1836. The coin was to be 90 percent copper, 10 percent silver, but for unknown reasons it was never produced for circulation.

Was President Franklin D. Roosevelt a coin collector?

Roosevelt was much better known as a stamp collector, but he did collect coins as well. His collection was sold several years after his death.

When was the screw press for coining invented?

One source points to the Florentine artist Bramante who used a screw press in 1508 to strike medals. In 1538 Benvenuto Cellini, also in Italy, used the same principal to strike coins.

Which president also served as Mint director?

This is something of a trick question. Elias Boudinot, third director of the U.S. Mint, had previously served as president of the Confederation that preceded the United States in 1783.


Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 41-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to Answerman2@aol.com.

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