Numismatist Dennis Fortier describes his recent experiences in the placement of an 1841 Seated Liberty dollar beneath one of the new masts on a 19th century sailing vessel, the Charles W. Morgan.
Fortier, writing in the March 2014 issue of The Gobrecht Journal, official publication of the Liberty Seated Collectors Club, explains how the coin was chosen to be placed beneath one of the vessel's three masts.
The Morgan was built in 1841, thus the date on the Seated Liberty dollar. The vessel today rests at the Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Conn.
When a new mast is placed into position on a sailing ship, or is stepped, nautical tradition calls for a coin to be placed at the base of the mast for good luck. When the masts that had been stepped in a 1990s overhaul were pulled out of the ship in 2013, three coins were found: an Eisenhower dollar of indeterminate date, a 1908-D Barber half dollar and a 1986 American Eagle silver bullion coin.
For the October 2013 overhaul, one of the coins selected for the tradition was an 1841 Seated Liberty dollar. Fortier had an opportunity to briefly examine the coin, and concluded that it was probably genuine and not one of the oft-encountered counterfeits.
The 4 in the date was repunched and Fortier observed heavy die lines under Liberty's elbow and on her torso.
Fortier also reported another numismatic connection to the vessel. The Morgan was once owned by Col. E.H.R. Green, a numismatist who once owned all five of the 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent coins.
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