US Coins

Princeton University Library site of May 6 lecture

On May 6, the Friends of Princeton University Library will sponsor a public lecture by a scholar of early American coinage, Louis Jordan, titled “Transformations in Numismatic Iconography during the American Revolution.”

The talk will take place at 4 p.m. in 101 McCormick Hall on the Princeton campus.

The lecture will be preceded at 2:30 by a curatorial tour of the exhibition “Capping Liberty: The Invention of a Numismatic Iconography for the New American Republic” by Alan M. Stahl, Princeton’s curator of numismatics, in the Leonard L. Milberg Gallery of Firestone Library, Princeton University.

Notes a press release from Princeton University, Jordan is one of the pre-eminent experts on the coinage of the early American Republic. In addition to his many public lectures and publications on the topic, he maintains an extensive scholarly website: “The Coins of Colonial and Early America” (

Jordan is librarian and director of special collections, University of Notre Dame Libraries, the institution from which he received his doctorate in medieval studies in 1980. He is co-editor of and a frequent contributor to The Colonial Newsletter: A Research Journal in Early American Numismatics, and author of John Hull: The Mint and the Economics of Massachusetts Coinage (2002) and Lord Baltimore Coinage and Daily Exchange in Early Maryland, currently in preparation.

In his talk at Princeton, Jordan will trace the various attempts by the Continental Congress to devise a symbol for the new Republic, including the devices of a linked chain and a sundial invented by Benjamin Franklin, which were adopted on the 1776 Continental Currency patterns and on the 1787 Fugio coppers. Another common motif, the circle of stars representing the Colonies and then states, appeared on the Nova Constellatio coppers and became the basis of the first United States flag.

The lecture is being held in conjunction with the exhibition “Capping Liberty,” which is running through July 8. Exhibition hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., closed holidays. The exhibition and its associated events are free and open to the public.

A website devoted to the exhibition, including high-resolution images of both sides of all coins on display and images from associated books, manuscripts, and graphic arts, is online at and will remain on the site after the close of the exhibition. Further information can be obtained from Stahl by email at or by telephone at 609-258-9127. ¦

Community Comments