Walter Breen’s Documents Can Help Future Researchers
Prominent collector and benefactor Dwight N. Manley of Brea, California has donated to the American Numismatic Association (www.money.org) more than 60 books, auction catalogs, and photographs he recently acquired at auction from the Sydney F. Martin (1945-2021) Numismatic Library Collection. All the items were previously owned or annotated by noted numismatic researcher and author Walter Breen (1928-1993) and many have his handwritten notes.
Among the highlights of the donation are two annotated drafts of Breen’s massive 1987 masterpiece, Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, with thousands of handwritten notes made as he typically did in different color inks. The combined drafts total over 3,000 pages and were described by auction house Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers as “an exceptionally important part of the Breen archives.”
Another annotated book is Breen’s personal copy of the 1981 reference guide he co-authored with former ANA President Anthony Swiatek, The Encyclopedia of United States Silver & Gold Commemorative Coins, 1982-1954.
There are 29 auction catalogs each with Breen’s handwritten notes. The sales dates range from a Stack’s auction in 1951 to the Rarcoa offering of the Kaufman Collection in 1978.
The donation also includes several letters Breen wrote and 19 photographic plates depicting colonial-era state and other pre-federal coins with his handwritten notes on rarity. Among the plates are black and white prints depicting obverses and reverses of 1785 Connecticut coppers. These photos were produced by Al Hoch in the late 1960s and are the coins extensively cited in Breen’s famous 1975 Early American Coppers organization sale catalog of Connecticut coppers.
“Walter Breen had a troubled personal life, but he was one of the top numismatic researchers of his era. These important documents can help current and future researchers provide useful information for our hobby,” said Manley.
In 2003, the ANA Library at ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado was named in honor of Manley when he gratefully donated $250,000 to the Association. That donation was a “thank you” for the $400 scholarship he received as a teenager in 1980 to attend an ANA Summer Seminar session.
In 2007, Manley donated an original edition of the world’s first illustrated numismatic book, Illustrium Imagines, published in 1517.
The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging the study and collection of coins and related items. The ANA helps its members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast array of educational and outreach programs, including the Money Museum, located at 818 N. Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colo. For more information, call (719) 632-2646 or visit www.money.org.
The new £1 coin design will be minted at The Royal Mint, who will also release a special collector’s edition to coincide with the launch in early 2023. The new design will celebrate the culture, creativity, heritage and history of the UK in the 21st century.
It is the first change to the £1 since 2017, when a new 12 sided coin replaced the former ‘round pound’ and introduced a range of anti-counterfeit features. The new £1 design will retain these safety measures and feature the fifth effigy of Her Majesty the Queen on the obverse.
The son of a Yorkshireman and Kikuyu mother, Michael Armitage was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1984 and now lives works between London and Nairobi. He trained at the Slade School of Fine Art, London and the Royal Academy Schools. In January 2022, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, elected him a Royal Academician in the category of painting.
Speaking at the official opening of the RCA’s Rausing Research and Innovation Centre, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “I am delighted that Michael will lend his vision to the creation of this new £1 coin design in its 40th anniversary year. This coin will symbolise the rich tapestry of modern Britain and honour our deep heritage and history.”
Coin artist Michael Armitage said: “It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to collaborate with The Royal Mint on the design of the new £1 coin. It is an honour to be part of the lineage of coin-making in the United Kingdom and I am grateful to the Chancellor and the selection panel for the opportunity to contribute to this history in considering what it is to be part of Great Britain today.”
Chief Executive of the Royal Mint, Anne Jessopp said: “The £1 coin is a symbol of Britain that is recognised around the world. As such we are delighted to work with Michael Armitage to create a new design that celebrates the people of Britain and our diverse culture. It is the first new £1 design since 2017 and will combine our 1,100 years of craftsmanship, with cutting edge design to champion modern Britain.”
Michael Armitage was chosen by an independent panel with expertise in coin design and art. The panel was established to advise the Chancellor on the artistic merits and ideas behind proposals put forward by selected candidates.
Further information on the history and previous designs of the £1 can be found here: £1 Coin | The Royal Mint.
(Temecula, California) May 10, 2022 – Second generation numismatist Wayde Milas, President of Rare Coin Company of America (RARCOA) in Willowbrook, Illinois, has been selected as the new President of the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.org) for the 2022-2024 term.
Milas’ father, Ed Milas, served as PNG President from 1983 to 1985.
“Our respected, long-time PNG Executive Director, Robert Bruggeman, will be retiring next year, so my primary first goal as PNG President is to reach out to our members about the best candidates to succeed him,” said Milas who joined PNG in 2005.
“My other goals and projects as PNG President will be looking at ways to revamp and revitalize the experience of in-person shows for dealers and collectors as well as the future of PNG Days and the dealer-to-dealer PNG Trading Rooms. Another goal is to increase the number of younger dealers in the PNG ranks and how we can increase the cost/benefit ratio for them as well as all PNG members,” Milas continued.
All officers of the PNG Board of Directors also serve pro bono as officers of the non-profit Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (www.ACEFonline.org) and oversee the ACEF’s Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force. The volunteer task force works with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to combat counterfeit coins, banknotes and precious metals products.
“We need to find permanent funding for ACEF and ACTF. The anti-counterfeiting work and PNG’s Code of Ethics binding arbitration to mediate any disputes involving our dealer-members are the two most important activities for PNG. ACEF’s partnership with law enforcement across the country has helped remove millions of dollars in counterfeits from the marketplace and resulted in shutting down dozens of fraudulent websites selling fakes,” explained Milas.
“The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation is a 501(c)(3) corporation and separate from PNG. All donations to ACEF are tax deductible.
Also selected as PNG officers for the 2022-2024 term are Vice President Don Rinkor of Rinkor Rare Coins in Santa Rosa, California; Secretary Dustin Johnston of Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas; and Treasurer John Brush of David Lawrence Rare Coins in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Other members of the PNG Board are William Gale of Asset Marketing Service in Eagan, Minnesota; Jeff Garrett of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries in Lexington, Kentucky; James Sego of JMS Coins in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Vincent Wade of Pinehurst Coins in Pinehurst, North Carolina; and Immediate Past President Richard Weaver of Delaware Valley Rare Coin in Broomall, Pennsylvania.
“Under PNG Bylaws, member-dealers of the organization elect the board members at large, and then the elected board members select the officers from within their group. During their April 26, 2022 meeting, the nine-member board chose the President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary,” explained PNG Executive Director Brueggeman.
Founded in 1955, the Professional Numismatists Guild is a nonprofit organization composed of many of the country’s top rare coin and paper money experts who undergo a background check, must adhere to a strict code of ethics in the buying and selling of numismatic items and who guarantee the authenticity of the numismatic merchandise they sell. The PNG mission statement is: Ensuring integrity, instilling confidence, and promoting professionalism for the benefit of all numismatic collectors and professionals.
A directory of PNG member-dealers is online at https://png.memberclicks.net/find-a-png-dealer and a directory of PNG-Accredited Precious Metals Dealers can be found at https://apmddealers.org/apmd-dealers.
For additional information, visit online at www.PNGdealers.org or call the PNG headquarters in Temecula, California at 951-587-8300.
The Mint launched the American Buffalo Coin Program in 2006. The one-ounce coin in this program is the first 24-karat gold proof coin ever struck by the Mint and is the collector version of the official United States Mint American Buffalo One Ounce Gold Bullion Coin. Designs depicted on this coin are based on the 1913 Type I Buffalo nickel by sculptor James Earle Fraser. The obverse (heads) portrays a profile representation of a Native American with the inscriptions “LIBERTY” and “2022.” The reverse (tails) features an American Buffalo (also known as a bison) and the inscriptions “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” “$50,” “1 OZ.,” and “.9999 FINE GOLD.”
Each coin is encapsulated and placed in a black presentation case with the United States Mint seal on the lid. The case fits into a black outer sleeve bearing an embossed gold foil image of the coin’s reverse, and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
The American Buffalo One Ounce Gold Proof Coin is priced according to the range in which it appears on the Mint’s Pricing of Numismatic Gold, Commemorative Gold, Platinum and Palladium Products table. Current pricing information is available here.
To set up a REMIND ME alert for this coin, please visit: https://catalog.usmint.gov/american-buffalo-2022-one-ounce-gold-proof-coin-22EL.html (product code 22EL).
To reduce the risk of employee exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, the Mint’s sales centers are closed until further notice. Please use our website for all order placements or call 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
Note: To ensure that all members of the public have fair and equal access to United States Mint products, the United States Mint will not accept and will not honor orders placed prior to the official on-sale date of May 12, 2022, at noon EDT.
May 6, Goldsmiths’ Hall, City of London: Today at Goldsmiths’ Hall in London, the Queen’s Remembrancer, Senior Master Barbara Fontaine, pronounced the verdict on the 7,968 coins submitted at the Trial of the Pyx in January, including the 10Kg “Queens’ Beasts” gold proof – the largest coin ever created by the Royal Mint.
Along with this one-of-a-kind masterwork, created using a combination of traditional skills and innovative technology, 2,700 pieces of the nation’s currency and a further 5,267 commemorative coins were submitted, tested and passed for quality and accuracy in one of the nation’s longest-established judicial ceremonies, dating back to the 12th Century.
Today’s verdict marks the end of a three-stage process, which started in January, when a jury of goldsmiths carefully counted and weighed a selection of new coins (legal tender and commemorative coins) taken at random from the Royal Mint’s 2021 production line. After adjourning for three months to allow the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office time to thoroughly test the coins, the Queen’s Remembrancer then delivers the verdict at Goldsmiths’ Hall, where both the Trial and the Verdict have taken place annually since 1871.
The Trial fulfils a legal requirement imposed by an Act of Parliament (Coinage Act 1971) to conduct an examination by jury to ascertain that the coins of the realm, produced by the Royal Mint, are of the correct weight, size, and composition.
Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths’ Company, Dame Lynne Brindley, commenting on the verdict today said: “Today’s verdict is important for the future of coins: both the everyday pieces found in the nation’s pockets and purses, and the beautiful commemorative pieces that have found renewed popularity with both collectors and investors. It shows an enduring commitment from the Royal Mint to uphold the highest standards of quality and provides an assurance that the Goldsmiths’ Company continues to protect consumers by assessing and testing the nation’s coinage with the same vigour today as it has done for almost 700 years.”
Anne Jessopp, Chief Executive of The Royal Mint said: “As Britain’s oldest company, we have an incredible 1,100-year heritage which includes the ancient Trial of the Pyx ceremony. As our business continues to evolve, the coins we submit vary in size, metal, and design but they all remain of the highest standard of British craftsmanship. We are delighted to have that standard affirmed through today’s verdict.”
The Trial of the Pyx today
- The purpose of the annual Trial is to check that UK coins produced at The Royal Mint are within the statutory limits for metallic composition, weight, and size.
- Officials from The Royal Mint bring chests (Pyx) to Goldsmiths’ Hall, hence the name ‘Trial of the Pyx’
- These coins represent one coin from every batch of each denomination minted.
- During the opening proceedings, the coins are counted and weighed, and a selection are put aside for testing by the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office.
- The Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office has three months to test the coins.
- The benchmark against which the coins are tested is called a Trial Plate.
- The trial jury, which must consist of at least six members of the Goldsmiths’ Company, is a formal court of law, summoned to Goldsmiths’ Hall by the Queen’s Remembrancer, the oldest judicial post in England and Wales.
History of the Trial of the Pyx
- Origins of the Trial of the Pyx go back as far as circa 1180, when some form of trial may have been ordered by Henry II who instigated various control initiatives.
- The first record of a public trial dates from 1248. Twelve citizens of London and twelve goldsmiths of the City were selected to examine the money.
- In 1279, Edward I published an ordinance called ‘The Form of the New Money’ which described how a sample of the work produced each day at the mint in the Tower of London should be placed in a box, or ‘Pyx’.
- Up until the reign of Elizabeth I the juries of the Trial of the Pyx were composed of a mixture of goldsmiths and other citizens of the City of London. Elizabeth I gave the Goldsmiths’ Company full responsibility for the Trial in 1580, and all jurors were nominated from its members from then on.
- 1707 also saw the production of new trial plates following the Act of Union between England and Scotland, to bring the Edinburgh Mint into line with the Tower of London
- Although previous Trials had occasionally been held at Goldsmiths’ Hall, it became the permanent venue by law after the Coinage Act of 1870.
- The first Trial in Goldsmiths’ Hall, as the permanent venue, was held in 1871 and it has been held there every year since.
- The Master of the Mint – a role held by the Chancellor today – went to prison for six weeks in 1318 after poor tests.
More information on the Trial can be found here.