By David Finkelstein
As a researcher of the technology, processes, implementation standards and people that worked at the first United States Mint, I have read many publications on a wide variety of Mint-related subjects.
The general belief, without any supporting evidence, has long been that David Rittenhouse (the first director of the Mint) posted the surety bond for Henry Voigt (the first Chief Coiner of the Mint). We now know that David Rittenhouse did not post Voigt’s surety bond. Voigt’s surety bond has been found, stored among Treasury Department documents for the last 221 years. It is being presented in a rare document that references Henry Voigt’s surety bond, therefore I believe that Thomas Jefferson’s statement may have been misinterpreted, resulting in the belief that David Rittenhouse posted Voigt’s surety bond.
The fact is, Henry Voigt’s surety bond was posted on April 4, 1794, by Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, Peter Muhlenberg, Henry Kammerer and Nicholas Lutz. See Figures 2 and 3. When Voigt’s surety bond was posted:
• Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg was the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives,
• Peter Muhlenberg was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania’s at-large district,
• Henry Kammerer was a Philadelphia paper manufacturer, and a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (representing Philadelphia City), and
• Nicholas Lutz was also a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (representing Berks County).
Accurate information regarding Henry Voigt’s surety bond is now correctly documented for future generations of numismatists and numismatic researchers.
1. American State Papers; The Mint & Coinage Act of April 2, 1792 and The Alteration of the Mint Act of March 3, 1794.
2. Founders Online; www.founders.archives.gov, The Thomas Jefferson Papers.
3. National Archives and Records Administration; Treasury Department, Records of the Bureau of Accounts.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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