US Coins

Week of May 16 to 22

Highlights of the week of May 16 to 22 include the death of Bela Lyon Pratt and Congress prohibiting silver export.

May 16

1678, Lords of Trade and Plantations lecture representative of Massachusetts Colony that its offenses including coining money are sufficient to void its charter; 1856, Hyderabad Department of Mint and Stamps established, with Maj. Henry Rocky as mint master; 1863, counterfeit 50-cent postage currency circulates in Columbus, Ohio; 1866, Congress provides for coinage of copper-nickel 5-cent piece with legal tender limit of one dollar.

May 17

1781, Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris submits a plan for a national bank; 1806, gold medal presented to Commodore Edward Preble for gallantry off Tripoli; 1892, New York Times reports on counterfeiter Emanuel Ninger’s pen and ink counterfeit $50 notes; 1938, Bureau of Engraving and Printing moves into Treasury Annex Building.

May 18

1819, Asa Spencer signs contract to proceed to England in employ of Perkins and Fairman; 1917, gold coin designer Bela Lyon Pratt dies; 1935, New York newspaper calls attention to the coin motifs decorating the entrance to Chase Manhattan Bank’s money collection at 18 Pine St.

May 19

1613, King James issues proclamation prohibiting private token coinage and granting John Harrington royal patent to produce copper farthing tokens for use throughout the realm; 1669, Massachusetts enacts second order to prevent exportation of more than 20 shillings per person exiting commonwealth; 1967, Congress prohibits export of U.S. silver coins.

May 20

1777, first Continental Currency with designation the “United States”; 1896, Emanuel “Jim the Penman” Ninger sentenced to six years for counterfeiting; 1911, first coinage of Lincoln cent at Denver Mint; 1913, Wayte Raymond sale of Malcolm Jackson Collection begins; 1954, Newark, N.J., dealer-publisher Frank Spadone launches The Flying Eaglet Coin Journal.

May 21

1877, J. Colvin Randall Collection auction begins; 1916, commemorative half dollar subject Stone Mountain site dedicated; 2004, U.S. Court of Appeals rules “intentional, systematic overgrading” constitutes criminal offense.

May 22

1776, Committee of Continental Congress on monetary policy submits first report; 1854, Senate concurs with the appointment of John J. Cisco as assistant treasurer of the United States at New York, nominated by President Franklin Pierce May 17, 1854; 1979, Franklin Mint announces it will jump on the gold bandwagon and market gold bullion pieces named “Franklins.”

Fred Reed has been a collector and writer for many years. If you have additions or comments, you can reach him at or P.O. Box 118162, Carrollton, TX 75011-8162 and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

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