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Comment about one of 1st 1878-S dollars struck

Posted: Mon Jul 04, 2022 11:56 pm
by RogerB
One of the first standard silver dollars (VAM-60) struck at San Francisco Mint on April 17 is this coin:
1878-S NGC One of First 10 Struck.jpg
1878-S NGC One of First 10 Struck.jpg (159.94 KiB) Viewed 451 times
This is an 1878-S dollar engraved with the words, ”ONE OF THE FIRST TEN COINED APRIL 17TH FROM J. GUS. BURT” in neat capital letters. The engraving was cut manually and close examination shows the individual graver strokes, and slight variation in letter shape and word spacing. From press reports we learn that the first coin went to Coiner Cicott, the second to Governor Low, then to three ladies present, followed by William W. Burns, Lt. Col. Army Chief of Commissary, James F. Houghton and Charles R. Story, President and Secretary, respectively, of Home Mutual Insurance Co. of California, J. B. Rice and C.C. Barr. If each named person received a coin, the first ten would be accounted for. Assuming the "Burt" coin inscription is correct, this coin had to have come from one of these people. Most likely might have been one of the unnamed ladies.

My interpretation of the engraving is that this coin was a gift to someone from Burt. He was a general purchasing agent for country merchants and mining companies. His office was at 116 Front Street and he lived at 726 Sutter St, a few blocks from the Mint building. He likely knew the insurance men and might have convinced one to sell him a coin, or possibly he was present (or late) and secured a coin from a lady.

There is no historical mention of Sptd. Dodge including a certificate with any coin, and no background to the Burt coin. Thus, we have to depend on this one coin as the only physical testament to the first San Francisco silver dollar coinage in 1878.

Re: Comment about one of 1st 1878-S dollars struck

Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2022 3:18 pm
by vampicker
I found similar information about Burt around ten years ago and published a brief article in the May 15 2012 edition of 'The View'. I'll try to link it here, but this can be accessed by SSDC members off the registry page

http://registry.ssdcvams.com/TheView/TheView_1_7.pdf

Re: Comment about one of 1st 1878-S dollars struck

Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2022 7:46 pm
by RogerB
Thanks! Had not seen your article. Much better than my little bit.
:)

Re: Comment about one of 1st 1878-S dollars struck

Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2022 7:55 pm
by vampicker
I like that we independently reached similar conclusions

Re: Comment about one of 1st 1878-S dollars struck

Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2022 6:17 pm
by RogerB
Yes! That is a very good indicator of accuracy. Nice to see in numismatics.