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Alexander Hamilton’s Request for Coins – and the Coins He Requested – Sell at Rago in June

By Rago Arts & Auctions ……
Seldom does one get to handle a piece of American history as important as a document written by one of our Founding Fathers. But to have both a document written by Alexander Hamilton requesting $10,000 for copper to be struck as the first coinage in the United States, as well as several of the coins minted under this request in the same auction series is simply serendipitous.

Both the letter and the coins will be offered for sale at Rago Arts on June 9. The letter, penned and signed by Alexander Hamilton, reads as follows:

Treasury Department
December 18. 1793.


For the purpose of obtaining a final settlement at the Treasury of the bills drawn on Amsterdam, I have this day issued a warrant on you in favor of the Treasurer of the United States for ten thousand dollars, being the amount of the bills furnished by you to the Director of the Mint. I have therefore to request that until an appropriation be made for the purpose (a circumstance which will shortly take place) you will be pleased to consider the said 10,000 dollars as an advance on account of the Mint. I have [illegible] a warrant to cover all your advances heretofore to that establishment [illegible] of two June for the purchase of copper which must also want an appropriation.

I have the honor to be,
With great respect, Gentlemen
Your Obed’ Servant.

Alex Hamilton
The President and Director
Of the Bank of the US.

The Bank of the United States was created to assume the Revolutionary War debts of several states; pay off the war debts accumulated through the Revolution by the United States Government; raise money to operate the new government; and create a common currency. This correspondence from Alexander Hamilton to the President of the Bank of the United States was an effort to fulfill the last of these aims, the creation of a common currency. The deposit requested in this letter was provided to the Treasury Department of the United States for the purchase of copper on behalf of the United States Mint. The Mint struck the first official coinage in March 3, 1793.

Several coins likely struck with the copper ordered and paid for by this letter will be offered the same day during the Coins + Currency Auction, including two 1793 Chain Cent coins and a 1793 Liberty Cap One Cent Coin. 1793 Chain Cents were designed and engraved by the mint director Henry Voigt and have a mintage 36,103 – of which it is estimated that slightly over 1,000 have survived to present day. The two examples that will be offered are graded PCGS Fine 12 and Fine 15, respectively. The 1793 Liberty Cap One Cent Coin comes from a mintage of only 11,056 with an estimated survival quantity of 450 – making this coin a true rarity in any grade. The example which we will be offering is graded Very Good, details with corrosion.

The catalog for Rago’s June 9 Coins + Currency Auction and Collectibles Auction goes online May 21. Exhibition begins June 2.

Consignments are being accepted through April 6.

Questions about the sale can be answered by calling (609) 397-9374 or emailing Rago at [email protected].

Auction Exhibition/Preview/Bidding

Saturday, June 2 through Thursday, June 7, 12–5 pm and by appointment. Open until 7 pm on Friday, June 8. Doors open at 9 am on sale day.

Rago is located midway between NYC (1 hr. 15 min) and Philadelphia (50 min). Directions online at ragoarts.com.

For those unable to attend, telephone/absentee bidding available at (609) 397-9374. Online bidding available at www.bidsquare.com.


Printed catalogues will be available for $20 each by calling (609) 397-9374 or e-mailing a request to [email protected].

View a complete online catalogue with color images at www.ragoarts.com and www.bidsquare.com, online on May 21.

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About Rago Arts and Auction Center

Rago is a leading U.S. auction house with $33 million in annual sales. It serves thousands of sellers and buyers yearly with global reach, personal service and competitive commissions for single pieces, collections and estates. Rago’s expertise encompasses 20th/21st century design; fine art; American, European, English and Asian decorative arts and furnishings; fine jewelry and coins/currency. An internationally known venue through which to buy and sell, it offers free valuations for personal property (from a single piece to collections), as well as USPAP-compliant estate and appraisal services. Rago is located midway between Philadelphia and New York with satellite offices in Westchester/Connecticut.

Coinweek is the top independent online media source for rare coin and currency news, with analysis and information contributed by leading experts across the numismatic spectrum.

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