Morton And Eden To Offer 1859 United States Proof Set On Behalf Of The Royal Mint Museum Specialist London auctioneers Morton and Eden announce the sale of important United States Proof coins which have remained in the possession of the Royal Mint Museum since their acquisition in 1859.
specimens graded by PCGS.
Estimate: £20,000-30,000 ($32,000-48,000).
1859 Proof Half Eagle: A coin of very great rarity, of which a total population of only about 7 to 10 examples (including those in museums) is known. PCGS has graded only three specimens (including both Royal Mint Museum coins). This, graded Proof 65+ Cameo, is possibly the finest in existence. The Royal Mint Museum half eagles coins are specifically referenced in the standard works by Breen and Garret & Guth, as well as by David Akers who called them “superb gems.”
Estimate: £50,000-70,000 ($80,000-110,000).
1859 Proof Eagle: It is believed that, including examples held in museum collections, only about 10 1859 Proof Eagles have survived, of which this is probably the finest known. Grading Proof 65 Cameo, it is certainly the finest example yet graded by PCGS (the other Royal Mint piece being Proof 64 Cameo). None finer is known to have been graded and none has been offered individually at auction since 1984. This pair of coins has also featured in references by Breen and Garrett & Guth, and were also cited by David Akers who described them as “virtually perfect”.
Estimate: £70,000-100,00 ($110,000-160,000).
Professor John H. Alexander
John H. Alexander was born in Annapolis, Maryland in 1812, a week after the outbreak of the War of 1812. A remarkable individual, he graduated from St. John’s College, Annapolis, at the age of 14, before independently pursuing (although not completing) studies in both law and medicine. Focusing instead on geology, civil engineering, mathematics, and physics, he was, at age 21, appointed Chief Engineer of Maryland. Three years later, while retaining his state post, he became President of the George’s Creek Coal and Iron Company, which made him financially independent for the rest of his life.
Very much a renaissance man, he wrote on a wide range of subjects including metallurgy, chemistry, physics, poetry, theology and, at the time of his death, had prepared an unpublished manuscript dictionary of the language of the Lenni-Lenapé Indians (the Delaware tribe). Other publications, notably on the placement of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Wheeling, West Virginia would have brought him to the attention of his fellow Baltimoreans the Garrett family (whose coin collections were among the finest assembled by an American).
Alexander, an incorporating member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, held various titles including Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland and Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, and he was a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society. Aged 55 at the time of his death in February 1867, he was about to be appointed Director of the United States Mint.
Alexander and his Proposal for an International Currency
In the 1840s Alexander concentrated on working to achieve harmony in weights and measures standards throughout the country. This ultimately led him to the concept of uniformity in international currency systems and in 1855 he first published his pamphlet entitled International Coinage for Great Britain and the United States, which