Sunday, May 10, 2015

JR Newsletter: 10 May 2015 (240)

A final reminder for collectors of half dimes starts us off this week:

Please email your complete inventory listing (including all duplicates and die states) of all your 1792 Half Disme, Draped Bust, Flowing Hair and Capped Bust half dimes to Stephen Crain at: mrhalfdime(at)

Or mail hard copies to:

Stephen A. Crain
P. O. Box 1680
Windham, ME 04062

Please include all of your cud examples, as well, as we are responding to collector demand to include this information.

Please respond by
May 15, 2015 to ensure inclusion of your collection in this census. This is a hard cut-off date – no exceptions, since the completed census must appear in the pre-ANA John Reich Journal.
Thank you,
John Okerson wrote that he is near completion of his set of JR Journals, but needs some help:
Trying to complete my collection of John Reich Journal issues – I need Volume 4 #3, Volume 5 #3 and Volume 17 #1.
David Finkelstein provided the following original article, "David Ott's Account of Gold -- Part 3"
David Ott’s Account of Gold – Part 3
By David Finkelstein

The officers that were fiscally and legally responsible for the precious metals and coins within the Mint were the Treasurer of the Mint, the Assayer, the Melter & Refiner and the Chief Coiner.  Since bullion and coins were transferred from the custody of one of these officers to the custody of another of these officers, each of these officers was required to post a surety bond and be bound to the United States of America.  The Director of the Mint, who was the chief executive officer of the Mint, was not required to post a surety bond, as he never took custody of any bullion or coins.

The Workflow While David Ott Was Employed

David Ott was the Mint’s first Melter & Refiner Pro Tem.  He was never nominated by President Washington for the position of Melter & Refiner.  In addition, I have been unable to locate any document or reference indicating that he posted his surety bond.  It is logical to conclude this because no entries were ever made in the Waste Book or Bullion Journal during his tenure that identified him as an officer in a bullion transfer.  Instead, the entries identified that the bullion deposits that he melted and refined were done so while the bullion was in the custody of the Chief Coiner.

Per the Bullion Journal, the first four gold deposits were transferred from the custody of the Treasurer of the Mint to the custody of the Chief Coiner on July 21, 1795.  See Figure 1.  According to David Ott’s Account of Gold, he received the gold bullion from the first four gold bullion deposits on July 21st and July 22nd.  See Figure 2.  He then provided one ingot to the Chief Coiner on July 21st for an experiment, and the remaining 6 ingots to the Chief Coiner on July 23rd (refer to my article titled David Ott’s Account of Gold – Part 1).  See Figure 3.

David Ott wrote in his ledger that the gold bullion was “Received from the Treasury”.  See Figure 2.  Although the bullion may have been physically moved from the Treasurer of the Mint’s vault (that was shared with the Assayer) to the Chief Coiner’s vault (that was shared with the Melter & Refiner), the bullion was legally transferred from the custody of the Treasurer of the Mint to the custody of the Chief Coiner, then provided to the Melter & Refiner Pro Tem by the Chief Coiner.

The Workflow After David Ott Resigned

Per page 23 of “Orders and directions for conducting the Mint of the United States, established by Elias Boudinot, director of said mint. November 2, 1795” the Melter & Refiner:

Is to receive all bullion after it is assayed, with a copy of the assayer’s report, from the Treasurer of the Mint, and cause the same without delay, to be melted and refined according to the standard of the United States, and cast into bars in the order in which it is delivered to him unless otherwise specifically directed.  As soon as this duty is executed he is to return the same to the Treasurer, to remain ready for coinage.

While David Ott was employed as Melter & Refiner Pro Tem, the workflow was adjusted and did not match the Melter & Refiner section of Elias Boudinot’s publication.  David Ott resigned in early November, 1796.  Joseph Cloud was immediately hired as Melter & Refiner Pro Tem and did post his surety bond.  The Mint’s workflow was adjusted again, this time matching the Melter & Refiner section of Elias Boudinot’s publication.  On November 9, 1796, Melter & Refiner warrant 1 was issued to transfer gold bullion deposits 55, 56 and 57 from the custody of the Treasurer of the Mint to the custody of the Melter & Refiner Pro Tem.  See Figure 4.

Joseph Cloud was nominated as the first Melter & Refiner of the Mint by President Washington on December 30, 1796.  His nomination was approved by the Senate on January 2, 1797.  Joseph Cloud served as Melter & Refiner until January 11, 1836.

To be continued…

Figure 1 – Bullion Journal Entries Dated 21-Jul-1795
Gold Deposits Transferred From the Treasurer of the Mint
to the Chief Coiner

Figure 2 – David Ott’s Entries For Gold Received on
21-Jul-1795 and 22-Jul-1795

Figure 3 – David Ott’s Entries For Gold Ingots Delivered on
21-Jul-1795 and 23-Jul-1795

Figure 4 – Bullion Journal Entry Dated 9-Nov-1796
 Melter & Refiner Gold Bullion Warrant 1


The final contribution comes from Winston Zack:
Does anyone know the etymology (origins) of the nickname 'Office-Boy' reverse for the 1820 JR-2 bust dime? Apparently Breen used it in his encyclopedia, but is there an earlier reference?

Do we know if there was, and who the so-called 'apprentice' was who likely made this die!? Are there any mint records of mint employees at this time which could potentially answer this question?

Thanks very much,