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[i]Mister[/i] Liberty


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I was explaining, elsewhere why I found Swiss coins so appealing: the wreath-work is superior, and the allegories have a particular pull as well. (When I first encountered Swiss coins, American circulating coinage was shedding its last allegorical Liberties—the Winged Liberty dime, Standing Liberty quarter, and Walking Liberty half—and I hated that.)

 

But even as I was writing that, I realized it wasn’t technically accurate, not where the subject of “American allegorical Liberties” is concerned.

 

It isn’t often mentioned, but American coins do not picture Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Washington and Kennedy.

 

Instead, to comply with the 1792 law that determined the devices to be used on our coinage, American coins bear the allegorical portrait of “Liberty,” in the guise of  Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Washington and Kennedy.

 

An artful, but fundamentally dishonest dodge….

 

:D v.

 

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I learned something new, ty

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  • 5 months later...
Burkhard
Il 22/9/2019 alle 10:41, villa66 dice:

Instead, to comply with the 1792 law that determined the devices to be used on our coinage, American coins bear the allegorical portrait of “Liberty,” in the guise of  Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Washington and Kennedy.

 

Hy villa66, do you have any reference for this passagge? A friend of mine is very interested in the "legal" aspects of this.

Thanks 🙂

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villa66

It has been 25-30 years since I read this, and unfortunately I can’t remember exactly where. And I’m not near my library. I guess I might have read it in Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Coins published about 1988. But it may have been somewhere else—I just can’t be sure.

 

But I did—before I posted—reread the 1792 Mint Act and confirmed the prescribed format for American coin design, and feel very comfortable with the analysis. (As for the Act’s continuing effect, I note that the little eagle on the reverse of the Franklin half was an afterthought, specifically added to comply with the 1792 Act, and that was in 1948.)

 

I don’t whether this reasoning was officially expressed at the Mint or in the Treasury Department, but a logical place to look would be the process that led to the 1909 Lincoln cent, the first American regular-issue coin to employ an obviously real-life person as “Liberty.”

 

I really appreciate the interest—and I’m sorry I can’t be of more immediate help…

 

;) v.

Edited by villa66
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  • 1 month later...
villa66

For a long time I've been meaning to tell you one of my own favorite facts about american coins, @Burkhard .

 

While it ts very often said that the American dollar is based on the Spanish dollar (8-reales), that isn't really true. Instead, the true statement is:  the American dollar is based on the Spanish dollar as it was then circulating in the United States.

 

Alexander Hamilton took 100 random Spanish dollars from circulation. weighed them, and decided the weight of the new American dollar accordingly.

 

;) v.

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petronius arbiter
9 ore fa, villa66 dice:

Alexander Hamilton took 100 random Spanish dollars from circulation. weighed them, and decided the weight of the new American dollar accordingly.

But many of these coins were very worn, and the obtained average weight was lower than weight of newly minted coins. Thomas Jefferson noticed this, and warned Hamilton against the risk of a dollar "too light". Jefferson was right, and the importance of detecting this discrepancy became even more evident as the value of silver began to fall, compared to that of gold, on international markets.

petronius :)

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luke_idk
Il 22/9/2019 alle 10:41, villa66 dice:

An artful, but fundamentally dishonest dodge….

Probably, to avoid to be compared to European monarchs, but I agree with you.

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