Monday, March 4, 2013
Brown claimed that a master die
Brown claimed that a master die had been prepared for 1913 and that these pieces had been run off to test it. As it turned out, Brown possessed five coins, which he eventually sold. After spending fifteen years in the hands of the eccentric Col. E.H.R. Green, the famous Fort Worth, Texas, area collector, the coins were finally dispersed in 1943. Since then, they have had several owners each. Today, two are on public display—at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and the ANA's Money Museum inColorado Springs, while three are owned privately. The most recent sale of a 1913 Liberty Head nickel was in January 2010, when one sold for $3,737,500 in an auction. It is uncertain how the 1913 nickels came to be made. The Mint's records show no production of 1913 Liberty head nickels, and none were authorized to be made. Dies were prepared in advance and sent to California for a 1913-S Liberty Head nickel coinage, but upon orders from Mint Director Roberts in December 1912 to end the old design, Sony VAIO VGP-BPS13/Q Battery they were returned to Philadelphia. They were received by December 23, and were almost certainly destroyed routinely by early January. Brown had been an employee at the Philadelphia Mint (although this was not known until 1963) and many theories focus suspicion on him. Sony VAIO VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 expressed his dissatisfaction with the artistic state of American coins, and hoped to hire sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to beautify them. Saint-Gaudens, before his 1907 death, designed a new eagle anddouble eagle, which entered circulation that year; Sony VAIO VGP-BPS13B/Q Battery the cent, quarter eagle, and half eagle were redesigned by other artists and were released into circulation by 1909. That year, Mint Director Frank Leach instructed Barber to make pattern coins for new nickels. Most of these coins featured the first president, George Washington. Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery However, the project was discontinued when Leach left office on November 1, 1909, to be replaced by Abram Andrew. On May 4, 1911, Eames MacVeagh, son of Treasury Secretary Franklin MacVeagh wrote to his fatherSony VGP-BPS21A Battery A little matter that seems to have been overlooked by all of you is the opportunity to beautify the design of the nickel or five cent piece during your administration, and it seems to me that it would be a permanent souvenir of a most attractive sort. As possibly you are aware, it is the only coin the design of which you can change during your administration, Sony VGP-BPS21B Battery as I believe there is a law to the effect that the designs must not be changed oftener than every twenty-five years. I should think also it might be the coin of which the greatest numbers are in circulation. Soon after the MacVeagh letter, Andrew announced that the Mint would solicit new designs for the nickel. Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery Sculptor James Earle Fraser, who had been an assistant to Saint-Gaudens, approached the Mint, and rapidly produced concepts and designs. Mint Director George Roberts, who had returned to office in place of Andrew, initially favored a design featuring Lincoln, but Fraser soon developed a design featuring a Native American on one side and a bison on the other.[59Sony VGP-BPS21A/b Battery ] Secretary MacVeagh wrote, "Tell him that of the three sketches which he submitted we would like to use the sketch of the head of the Indian and the sketch of the buffalo." In July 1912, news of the new nickel became public, and coin-operated machine manufacturers sought information. Sony VGP-BPS26 Battery Clarence Hobbs of the Hobbs Manufacturing Company, maker of counterfeit detectors, feared the new nickel would not be passed by his devices. Hobbs demanded various changes to the design, to which the artist was reluctant to agree. The Hobbs Company continued to interpose objections in 1913. Sony VGP-BPL26 Battery On February 3, Hobbs sent Roberts a lengthy list of changes that he wanted in the coin, and the sculptor was required to attend a conference with Hobbs representatives. On the fifth, following the conference, which ended with no agreement, Fraser sent MacVeagh a ten-page letter, complaining that his time was being wasted by the Hobbs Company, Sony VGP-BPS26A Battery and appealing to the Secretary to bring the situation to a close. Secretary MacVeagh agreed to hold a meeting at his office in Washington on February 14. Barber prepared patterns showing what the nickel would look like if the changes demanded by Hobbs were made. MacVeagh conducted the meeting much like a legal hearing, Sony VGP-BPS22 Battery and issued a letter the following day. The secretary noted that no other firm had complained, that the Hobbs mechanism had not been widely sold, and that the changes demanded—a clear space around the rim and the flattening of the Indian's cheekbone—would affect the artistic merit of the piece. Sony VGP-BPL22 Battery MacVeagh concluded, "You will please, therefore, proceed with the coinage of the new nickel."The coins were officially released to circulation on March 4, 1913, and quickly gained positive comments for depicting truly American themes. However, The New York Times stated in an editorial that "Sony VGP-BPS22A Battery The new 'nickel' is a striking example of what a coin intended for wide circulation should not be ...[it] is not pleasing to look at when new and shiny, and will be an abomination when old and dull." The Numismatist, in March and May 1913 editorials, gave the new coin a lukewarm review, suggesting that the Indian's head be reduced in size and the bison be eliminated from the reverse. Sony VAIO PCG-3B1M Battery Dies for the new design proved to break quickly. Barber made proposed revisions, which Fraser approved after being sent samples. These changes enlarged the legend "FIVE CENTS" and changed the ground on which the bison stands from a hill to flat ground. Sony VAIO PCG-3D1M Battery According to data compiled by numismatic historian David Lange from the National Archives, the changes to what are known as Type II nickels (with the originals Type I) actually decreased the die life. A problem not addressed was the exposure of the date to wear; many Buffalo nickels today have the date worn away. Sony VAIO PCG-3G2M Battery In January 1938, the Mint announced an open competition for a new nickel design, to feature early president Thomas Jefferson on the obverse, and Jefferson's home, Monticello on the reverse. The last Buffalo nickels were struck in April 1938 at the Denver Mint, the only mint to strike them that year. Sony VAIO PCG-5R1M Battery The identities of the models for the Native American on the obverse and for the bison on the reverse are not known with certainty. Fraser stressed that the Indian was a type, rather than based on a specific individual, and identified various Native Americans as models, not always consistently, including Iron Tail, Two Moons, and Big Tree (of the Kiowa people). Sony VAIO PCG-7162M Battery There have been other claimants, the most prominent being John Big Tree, a Seneca, who made many public appearances as the "nickel Indian" until his death in 1967. Fraser recounted that the animal on the reverse was an American bison, Black Diamond, whom he stated lived at the Bronx Zoo, Sony VAIO PCG-7181M Battery and also described the model simply as a bison at the Bronx Zoo. However, Black Diamond was never at the Bronx Zoo, but instead lived at the Central Park Zoo (both facilities are in New York City) until the animal was sold and slaughtered in 1915. The placement of the horns on the still-extant mounted head of Black Diamond differs from that of the bison on the nickel. Sony VAIO PCG-41112M Battery From its inception, the coin was referred to as the "Buffalo nickel", reflecting the common misnomer for the bison. The numismatic publication with the greatest circulation, Coin World, calls it an Indian head nickel, while R.S. Yeoman's Red Book refers to it as an "Indian Head or Buffalo type".Sony VAIO PCG-7153M Battery When the Buffalo nickel had been struck for 25 years and could be replaced without an act of Congress, the Mint moved quickly to replace it. Although the Fraser design is popular today among numismatists, it did not enjoy that status in 1938, and there was no public outcry at the decision. Sony VAIO PCG-71312M Battery In January 1938, the Mint announced an open competition for the new nickel design, with the winner to receive a prize of $1,000. Anticipating the 1943 bicentennial of Jefferson's birth, competitors were to place his portrait on the obverse, and a depiction of his house Monticello on the reverse. Sony VAIO PCG-7144M Battery On April 24, Felix Schlag was announced as the winner. His design featured the portrayal of Jefferson which would be used on the nickel until 2005, closely conforming to the former president's bust by sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon, which is to be found inBoston's Museum of Fine Arts. Sony VAIO PCG-7191L Battery However, the model differs from the nickel that was struck for circulation because it featured a view of Monticello from an angle, and a style of lettering officials did not like; Schlag was required to change both. Either through a misunderstanding or an oversight, Schlag did not include his initials in the design; they would not be added until 1966.[86Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M Battery ]Production began on October 3, 1938; they were released into circulation on November 15. According to contemporary accounts, the Jefferson nickel was initially hoarded, and it was not until 1940 that it was commonly seen in circulation. With the entry of the United States into World War II, nickel became a critical war material, Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M Battery and the Mint sought to reduce its use of the metal. On March 27, 1942, Congress authorized a nickel made of 50% copper and 50% silver, but gave the Mint the authority to vary the proportions, or add other metals, in the public interest. The Mint's greatest concern was in finding an alloy that would use no nickel, but still satisfy counterfeit detectors in vending machines. Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M Battery An alloy of 56% copper, 35% silver and 9% manganese proved suitable, and this alloy began to be coined into nickels from October 1942. In the hope of making them easy to sort out and withdraw after the war, the Mint struck all "war nickels" with a large mint mark appearing above Monticello. Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M Battery The mint mark P for Philadelphia was the first time that mint's mark had appeared on a US coin. The prewar composition returned in 1946; all nickels struck since then have been in 75% copper and 25% nickel. In 1966, a small change was made to the design to add the initials of the designer (FS) to the obverse, Sony VAIO PCG-8141M Battery underneath Jefferson's portrait. In commemoration of that change, two specimen 1966 nickels with the initials were struck and presented to him. Coins struck at any mint between 1965 and 1967 lack mint marks, which were omitted as the Mint replaced the silver circulating coins with copper-nickel. Sony VAIO PCG-8161M Battery Beginning in 1968, mint marks were again used, and on the nickel were moved to the lower part of the obverse, to the right of Jefferson's bust. From 1971, no nickels were struck for circulation in San Francisco—the 1971-S was the first nickel struck in proof only since 1878. Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M Battery The Mint had struck circulating commemorative coins for the United States Bicentennial, giving quarters, half dollars, and dollars struck in 1975 and 1976 a dual date, "1776–1976". After Canada issued a successful series of quarters in 1992 honoring its provinces and territories, Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M Battery the Mint obtained congressional permission to issue a series of US quarters honoring American states; they began to be issued in 1999. In 2002, the Mint began to consider redesigning the nickel in honor of the upcoming bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Representative Eric Cantor (Republican-Virginia) Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M Battery did not wish to see Monticello (located in his home state) moved permanently off the nickel. The resultant "American 5-Cent Coin Design Continuity Act of 2003", was signed into law on April 23, 2003. Under its terms, the Treasury Secretary could vary the nickel's designs in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Expedition and of the Louisiana Purchase, Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M Battery but the nickel would again feature Jefferson and Monticello beginning in 2006. Unless Congress acts again, every future five-cent coin will feature Jefferson and Monticello.