Bolen's Pynchon House die pair
I was recently able to pick up dies for the Pynchon House medal made by John Adams Bolen. The Pynchon House was notable because it was the first brick house built in the Connecticut River Valley in 1660. It took a year to fire the 50,000 bricks in Northampton, England which were then shipped to the US to build the house. Because it was brick and not wood, it was the only building that wasn't burned down in Springfield in October, 1675 by Indians during King Philip's War after which it earned the nick name "The Old Fort". Colonists fled to and took shelter in the building. It was built by John Pynchon, son of William Pynchon, both of who came to America with the Massachusetts Bay Colony. John was a Major and then Colonel in the military and known as "The Worshipful Major" and then "The Worshipful Colonel". John and William, along with others, were known as "River Gods" of the Connecticut River Valley and the Indians called the settlers in the area "Pynchon's men".
Bolen struck just 150 medals from these dies, 10 in silver, 45 in brass and 95 in copper. From auction records, it seems the brass specimens may be as rare as it more rare than the silver ones. These dies were previously owned by Q. David Bowers. Unlike the dies donated to the ANS by Bolen's wife, these were retained by the family and eventually sold by his son in 1940.
Given the few pieces that were struck, I was amazed by the pedigree information available on some of these so I put together the following guide with some background on the Pynchons and a Condition Census:
Here's my draft guide:
Here are images of my dies and the one medal specimen I have so far:
Of note, the Pynchon House appears to be featured on the Springfield 250th Anniversary HK-609 So-Called Dollar and the Pynchon Bank's 2 Dollar Bill.
Springfield 250th Anniversary
HK-609 has what looks like the Pynchon house, minus some windows
Pynchon Bank 2 Dollar Bill
William Pynchon was the founder of Springfield and his son John was a magistrate of the town. They became very wealthy and the local bank was named after them. This 2 dollar bill from the Pynchon Bank showcases the Pynchon House. Eventually the bank became a National Bank as well.