Author Archives: R.W. Julian

‘Jefferson Head’ rarity

On rare occasion one sees a 1795 “Jefferson” cent offered for sale and, in fact, the head of Liberty on the coin does look like Thomas Jefferson. It is not that president, however, and the background of this piece is … Continue reading

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Field honored for transatlantic cable

At the present time, in this age of the Internet, we think nothing of contacting a person halfway around the world or visiting a website in some remote country. Yet, it is only in the past few decades that this … Continue reading

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Ruble for the czar who wasn’t czar

The death of Russian Czar Alexander I in late 1825 set off a chain of events in which two brothers swore allegiance to the other as the new ruler of Imperial Russia. The St. Petersburg Mint quickly prepared a portrait … Continue reading

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Boy king murdered by stepmother

Tenth-century England was a land of extremes as powerful rulers alternated with the incompetent or weak ones. During that time, however, came one of those terrible crimes that horrified an entire nation: a teen-aged king was brutally murdered by order … Continue reading

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Continental dollar struck in Europe?

The annual Royal Numismatic Society publication, the Numismatic Chronicle, has an interesting article by Catherine Eagleton in its 2014 edition just published. The author discusses a 1776 Continental dollar in the holdings of the British Museum and this is sure … Continue reading

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The misunderstood dollar: Gobrecht coins cause confusion

The Gobrecht silver dollars of 1836-1839 have proven to be among the most contentious and, at the same time, the least understood coins of our numismatic history. Actually the story is rather straightforward but the clash of conflicting theories has … Continue reading

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Counterfeit cent story unusual one

Counterfeiting in the United States has generally been confined to the paper money. In the early days of the Republic this usually meant that engravers worked on private bank notes but the target changed after the introduction of the greenbacks in the Civil War and the abolition of private notes. Continue reading

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Preble honored for beating pirates

The end of the Revolutionary War in 1783 meant that the United States was now a free and independent nation but with freedom came added problems. Prior to 1776 American vessels were well defended by the British Royal Navy and it was a brave pirate indeed who chose to attack merchant shipping flying the British flag. Continue reading

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Medals honor War of 1812 leaders

The War of 1812, which began in June of that year, was to produce several gold medals honoring victorious leaders of that conflict. This year marks the 200th anniversary of that conflict and the medal under discussion here was awarded to Kentucky Governor Isaac Shelby for his critical role in the resounding victory at the Battle of the Thames in Canada. Continue reading

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Croghan medal last for War of 1812

This year marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812, which began in June of that year. The British refusal to honor the neutral rights of American ships on the high seas led to a declaration of war by Congress and until the peace treaty was signed in late 1814, a series of battles on land and sea marked the struggle between Britain and the United States. Continue reading

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