Sunday, September 28, 2014

JR Newsletter: 28 September 2014 (208)

We have three contributions this week.  The first is from Kevin Coleman:

Hello,  I am trying to be able to identify which variation I have.  Because of the style of the 8 I believe it to be either a JR-6, JR-7 , or JR-8 (or possibly JR-9?)

Can you identify which I have or direct me to where I might be able to get the answer?

Thank you in advance,

Kevin Coleman

(Editor's note:  Click on the image to open a larger version)


Garrett Ziss wrote:

Thank you for the information last week, Mr. Tompkins.  Like you mentioned, it's a neat way to connect a coin to a specific point in history.

The dates of the delivery warrants are interesting. The White House was burned on August 24, 1814 so I would think that the Mint employees would have known about this when the first set of coins were delivered to the Treasurer of the Mint on September 12. The next day, the Battle of Ft. McHenry started and the Mint employees could hear the cannon fire in Baltimore as they were striking coins. The war was getting closer.  I live outside of Philadelphia and have been to Baltimore several times, so I know these cities aren't that far apart.

At the ANA convention last month, Mr. Finkelstein gave a presentation on the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1797 and how the Mint shut down during the epidemic. They had a specific plan on how they would shut down. Even though the Mint was still striking coins during the War of 1812, did the Mint have some sort of plan (as they did with Yellow Fever) to shut down or hide equipment and supplies if the war moved to Philadelphia? If the British captured the Mint, our country would have been in serious trouble.  Of course, the British never got to Philadelphia, but the Mint didn't know what was going to happen during the war.

Garrett Ziss (JRCS 1465)

Richard Meaney wrote:

Here is the biographical sketch intended for inclusion on the JRCS Hall of Fame web page for Stewart Witham:

Stewart "Stew" Witham was described by Bowers and Merena, in the company's catalog for a September 14-15, 1992 auction, as "one of America's best known numismatists". That catalog is a source for this biographical sketch of Stew Witham.

Stew Witham was born in 1916 in New York City.  He graduated from Miami University of Ohio in 1938.  He then went on to a career in property and casualty insurance, with his last eleven years in the industry as president of the Leonard Agency in Canton, Ohio.

Stew and his spouse, Merriam (Myers), were married in 1942.  They had one son, Walter Todd Witham. 

Outside of numismatics, Witham was active in many organizations, including the board of trustees of The Presbyterian Church, chairman and president of offices within the YMCA, campaign chairman for the United Way, Man of the Year for the Jaycees, and club president, district governor, and recipient of the Paul Harris Award with Rotary International.  Witham provided several years of military service during World War II. 

He started his foray into numismatics in 1960 when he began collecting Capped Bust half dollars by Beistle varieties.  His interest soon spread to Capped Bust half dimes by Valentine numbers, and then to Assay Commission and American Numismatic Society medals, early half dollar patterns, and medals relating to engraver John Reich and his father, Johann Christian Reich, who was also an engraver.

Witham authored many articles in numismatic publications, including eight articles in the John Reich Journal, and contributed to the publications of many other authors.  In 1993, Witham wrote and published the only known biography of John Reich, “Johann Matthäus Reich, Also Known as John Reich”.

Witham was active in many numismatic organizations, including the American Numismatic Association, the American Numismatic Society, and the Token and Medal Society.  Witham also held membership number one in the Bust Half Nut Club!  Witham also specialized in material relating to President William McKinley and Treasury - Mint medals.

Those interested in the coins of Stew Witham will find two auction catalogs especially helpful.  The first included Witham's half dimes: 1977 Central States Numismatic Society Annual Convention Auction Sale, Featuring the Harley L. Freeman Collection, Milwaukee, WI May 13-15, 1977, conducted by Rarcoa.  Of note, there is no printed attribution of the half dimes in the catalog to the Witham collection.  The second catalog included Witham's counterstamped half dollars, Assay Commission medals, and Washington tokens and medals: The Witham and Sansoucy Collections and other Important Properties, Bowers and Merena, September 14-15, 1992.