US Coins

Book helps collector identify token

The publication of a reference book about the first U.S. Mint helped solved a 118-year-old mystery for collector Thomas D. Harrison.

In the latest issue of The Asylum, the quarterly journal of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, Harrison recounts the bequest of a number of numismatic items that had resided in the walnut writing desk of his maternal great-grandfather.

The items included an 1854 Coronet cent, 1876-S Seated Liberty 20-cent coin, 1835 Capped Bust half dollar, 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition half dollar and 1878-S Trade dollar, along with a few other pieces, which included a miniature token with the Liberty Bell on its obverse and the Lord’s Prayer on the reverse.

It wasn’t until Harrison acquired a copy of The Secret History of the First U.S. Mint: How Frank H. Stewart Destroyed and Then Saved A National Treasure by Joel Orosz and Leonard D. Augsburger did he learn that the “token” was a popular medalet issued by George Soley. The two authors confirmed Harrison’s piece as a Soley medalet when Harrison attended the American Numismatic Association 2011 World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill., at which the two authors were presenting a Numismatic Theater program on their newly published reference.

Orosz contributes a review in The Asylum of Dean Albanese’s 2009 book, King of Eagles: The Most Remarkable Coin Ever Produced by the U.S. Mint — the Proof 1804 Capped Bust, Plain 4, Heraldic Eagle gold $10 eagle.

Annual NBS dues, which support the journal and other membership benefits, are $15 in the United States, $20 if first-class mail delivery of the journal is desired, and $25 in U.S. funds elsewhere.

Requests for membership and change of address should be submitted to the secretary-treasurer, David M. Sundman, Box 82, Littleton, NH 03561. Sundman can be reached by email at

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