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Info About Numismatic Research

FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,845 ✭✭✭✭✭

This info was posted by Roger Burdette ATS and I found it especially useful. It talks through the process of searching mint documents for info regarding any research topic.

"With more US Mint Bureau documents becoming available on-line through the Newman Numismatic Portal (NNP), it seems a good time to give those doing numismatic research a little guidance. This will show how various groups of documents are connected and suggest which files to search for letters relating to specific events or persons. The information will help researchers look through thousands of documents without have to spend weeks at NARA locations thumbing through thick volumes and overstuffed file boxes.

What you will find: Connections between archive files. Transcriptions of some documents. What you will not find: Transcriptions of everything.

Access: All materials are available for free via NNP to read or download.

Basic files in Record Group 104 U.S. Mint ––

For letters from 1873 to 1900 the overall search flow is:
1. Start with Entry 1. These are in chronological order and many are transcribed. Search by subject or approximate date.

2. Once something of interest is found, go to E-235 and look for the volumes covering the date on your item. Look both before and after this date. There is also an index by author for many of these volumes, but it is useless for subjects.

3. Next look in Entry 6 around the date of your item and see if there are any letters between Mint Departments that relate to your subject. Do the same with Entry 17.

4. Go to Entry 229 and search it in the same manner. These entries have documents that are frequently interconnected, such as a letter sent and its reply, or private comment on a subject by the Coiner or Secretary of Treasury. By searching through the 4 steps, above, users should be able to locate about 80% of extant materials relating to an individual, situation or subject.

-Entry 1 General Correspondence, 1792-1899. (Completely digitized. Transcribed from 1885 to 1899.)

-Entry 235 Letters sent by the Director to other mint facilities and individuals (1873-1937). Digitized April 1873 to April 1893, more to come.

-Entry 6 Letters between Philadelphia Mint departments and also those sent by the Superintendent to the Director. (Digitized from October 1, 1866 to October 1889, more to come.)

-Entry 17 Letters received by the Philadelphia Mint Superintendent from the Coiner 1877-1900 Completely digitized.

-Entry 229 Letters received by Mint HQ from other mint facilities and individuals. Digitized intermittently 1875 to 1900, more to come.
For earlier letters and subjects up to 1873 the overall flow is less well defined.
1. Start with Entry 1. These are in chronological order and a few are transcribed. Search by subject or approximate date.
2. Once something of interest is found, go to Entry 3, 215, 216 and 217 depending on items date.

-Entry 1 General Correspondence, 1792-1899. (Completely digitized. Transcribed
from 1885 to 1899.)

-Entry 3 Journals 1792 to 1835.

-Entry 215 Letters sent to Branch Mints 1836-1871.

-Entry 216 Letters to and from Secretary of Treasury regarding Branch Mints July 5, 1834 to December 31, 1862.

-Entry 217 Scattered letters about Mints 1865 to 1872.

For coinage quantities look in Entry 271 for reported quantities and especially for any condemned deliveries. Use Entry 330 for exact delivery dates and quantities from about 1916 forward to 1947. The latter has large gaps, which will gradually be filled as time permits.

-Entry 271 Monthly coinage by Mint July 1875 to June 1906. Completely digitized.
-Entry 330 Cashier’s Daily Statements. Intermittently digitized from 1916 to 1947.

Year 1900 is in E-229 as extracted from correspondence.

Coinage, die use and many other subjects are mixed into the entries mentioned at the beginning. Also the Entry 3 journals include copies of annual reports and letters in their original form that are not available elsewhere.

Roger W Burdette
December 20, 2022"

Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.


  • Thanks
    Roger has always been very helpful to me in my numismatic research endeavors.

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for the information. I miss Roger posting on this forum. His inputs were always excellent. @FlyingAl ... Your inputs are also excellent and I enjoy - and learn - from your posts. Cheers, RickO

  • PhillyJoePhillyJoe Posts: 2,686 ✭✭✭✭

    Some of my favorite times were spent researching at the Philadelphia Archives. Here's one tidbit I found in my notes from my last visit (I was thinking of submitting an article to the Numismatist).

    Another suggestion for the coin enthusiast would be examining the correspondence in any year where a coin design changed. You’ll enjoy the dialogue and controversy of the 1916, 1932 and even 1959 records as the Mint chooses a final design for the nickel, dime, half; the quarter and the reverse of the cent, respectively. Some information may only be available in these records, many of which are internal Mint correspondence. For example, as late as November 1958, there were a total of 23 drawings for the new reverse of the 1959 Lincoln cent. Just when the Mint thought they had an acceptable design, the Fine Arts Commission “suggested” that the presence of the thirteen stars and the words “Lincoln Memorial” made the coin “too busy”. The changes was made at the last minute. Great care was also taken, as evidenced by several letters, to insure that all 1958 reverse dies were accounted for and destroyed by December 31, 1958 prior to the new reverse being produced on January 2, 1959. The Mint Director and other senior management witnessed the destruction and signed a document attesting to the fact. This eliminates the possibility of a 1959 cent being stamped with the old style reverse, unless of course, you are the person who owns the 1959-D “Wheatie”.

    The Philadelphia Mint: making coins since 1792. We make money by making money. Now in our 225th year thanks to no competition. image

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