An example of the first printing of the Coinage Act of April 2, 1792,
establishing a Mint and the dollar as legal tender of the United
States sold for nearly $120,000 at auction April 8, 2014, by Swann
Auction Galleries in New York.
The five-page document printed on three unbound sheets of paper and
hand-signed by Thomas Jefferson as secretary of state on April 2,
1792, sold for $118,750 including the buyer’s fee. The document was
estimated to sell at between $50,000 and $75,000.
“The ninth clause lists the denominations of coins which can be
produced by the new mint. The most important was ‘Dollars or Units —
each to be the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now
current, and to contain three hundred and seventy one grains and four
sixteenths of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of
standard silver,’ ” according to the catalog description. “The other
denominations, ranging from ten-dollar gold ‘Eagles’ down through
quarter dollars, ‘dismes,’ cents, and half cents, are all defined in
relation to the dollar.”
The 10th clause mandates that each coin bear the word “Liberty,” and
that the gold and silver denominations read “United States of America”
and bear an eagle on the reverse.
The final clause dictates that “the money of account of the United
States shall be expressed in dollars or units, dismes or tenths, cents
or hundredths, and milles or thousandths,” per the catalog description.
The document is certified with Jefferson’s signature at the bottom
of the final page. It is also “signed” in type by Jonathan Trumbull as
Speaker of the House, John Adams as vice president, and George
Washington as president.
The act is printed on paper made by Henry Schutz in Pennsylvania,
with his “HS Sandy Run” watermark — the same paper favored by George
Washington for his private correspondence, according to the catalog description
No complete signed copies of the Coinage Act of April 2, 1792, have
appeared at auction since at least 1917, according to Swann Auction.
This may be the only extant complete signed copy, according to the firm.
For more information about this auction or future sales, contact
Swann Auction Galleries, 104 E. 25th St., New York City, NY 10010;
telephone the firm at 212-254-4710; or email the business at email@example.com.
Also visit the firm’s website for upcoming auctions at www.swanngalleries.com.