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W.H.D.C Engraving on 2 1862 Liberty Seated Dollars.

Recently I bought an 1862 Liberty Seated Dollar, in raw XF grade, that had been engraved "A.B.B. from W.H.D.C." on its reverse. What attracted me to it was that I had seen a similar coin advertised on eBay more than a year ago. I didn't buy that coin, as it was in lower grade (raw VG) than what I liked for the seller's price; but I did save pictures of it. It was engraved "A.B.C. from W.H.D.C." on its reverse. While the font style is different between these 2 coins, the inscriptions are very similar, and must have been engraved by the same entity.

TO FIND 2 1862 US SILVER DOLLARS ENGRAVED "W.H.D.C." IS TRULY EXTRAORDINARY.

First; only 11,540 of them were minted.

Second; their silver content was above face value. To obtain one, a person had to pay thr U.S. Treasury $1.08.
Third; almost all of them were bought in bulk from the Treasury for use as "de facto" trade dollars. Most of these went to China, where they were melted for their bullion content.

Fourth; by the middle of 1862, US silver coins had vanished from circulation. Northerners were unsure who would win the war, and all silver coins were hoarded. These hoards ranged from thousands of dollar's worth stashed in big banks, all the way down to humble farmers who might have saved a couple of dollar's worth. Coins were replaced by privately issued merchant scrip, encased postage stamps, Federal Postage Currency, and Federal Fractional Currency. Silver coins did not return to general circulation until the end of 1878.

 Today, about 350 circulation strike 1862 dollars remain. (This estimate is from "Liberty Seated Dollars - A Register of Die Varieties", by Dick Osburn and Brian Cushing. This book has been sold out, but its entire contents is available online.)

The 2 coins that are pictured in this post are both circulation strikes. 

 _**The big question is, what does W.H.D.C. mean?**_ 

To begin, what did the W.H. stand for? Connecticut has a West Haven and a West Hartford; Massachusetts has a Westhampton; and New York has West Hampton, West Hempstead, and West Hurley. There might be other places in the North with similar "W.H." initials. (It's very unlikely that any 1862 U.S. dollars made their way to the Confederate states in that year).

 Then there is the matter of the "D.C."  Drum Corps, Divinity College, Debate Club, or even Democratic Club are possibilities; as well as various fraternal orders and secret societies unknown to me.

 My first hypothesis is that they were made up as awards given to members of some organization, society, school, or club who enlisted in the Union military. 

 My second hypothesis is that they were awards to participants in some sort of debate club or competition. The Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 were nationally published in newspapers. Many colleges and academies (both what we now call prep schools, as well as predecessors of town and city high schools) had active debate societies; and their members would likely have followed the Lincoln-Douglas newspaper accounts, and imitated them.  Also, the "Wide Awake" movement which began in 1860, and favored the Republican Party, had swept across much of the country's  young men. 

  Or, a third hypothesis is that they were issued by a women's group which provided supplies to the troops in the field, or gave medical care to those who were wounded or diseased.

  (A neither of these coins were holed, It is unlikely that they were used as Civil War dog tags.)

Does anybody out there have any ideas as to their origin?




Comments

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    Manifest_DestinyManifest_Destiny Posts: 3,728 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Those are cool

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    Here's the obverse of the XY coin.

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    jayPemjayPem Posts: 4,047 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What cool coins!
    Hopefully you’ll get a break in your research, locate more perhaps.
    Fantastic project, I’d be all over these!

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    RobertScotLoverRobertScotLover Posts: 614 ✭✭✭✭

    You have erred unfortunately, the first 1862's initials are:
    A.B.B. from W. H.D.C.
    The second 1862's initials are:
    A.B.C from W.B.D.C.
    And the fonts are completely different, the only thing that is similar is their respective locations on the reverse and that is the typical spot centered where one would engrave them.
    Just being exact here. I like the higher graded example and the 1862 is a wonderful date

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    OwnerofawheatiehordeOwnerofawheatiehorde Posts: 1,521 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 29, 2024 1:51PM

    @RobertScotLover said:
    You have erred unfortunately, the first 1862's initials are:
    A.B.B. from W. H.D.C.
    The second 1862's initials are:
    A.B.C from W.B.D.C.
    And the fonts are completely different,

    He has mentioned that.

    Type collector, mainly into Seated. Young Numismatist. Good BST transactions with: mirabela, OKCC, MICHAELDIXON

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    RobertScotLoverRobertScotLover Posts: 614 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 29, 2024 1:54PM

    @Ownerofawheatiehorde said:

    @RobertScotLover said:
    You have erred unfortunately, the first 1862's initials are:
    A.B.B. from W. H.D.C.
    The second 1862's initials are:
    A.B.C from W.B.D.C.
    And the fonts are completely different,


    He has mentioned that.

    Reread it again, he erred. And now you are erring. And let me add these were not engraved by the same engraver, and that is a fact

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    TypekatTypekat Posts: 161 ✭✭✭

    White House District Columbia?

    30+ years coin shop experience (ret.) Coins, bullion, currency, scrap & interesting folks. Loved every minute!

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    JBKJBK Posts: 14,781 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RobertScotLover said:
    The second 1862's initials are:
    A.B.C from W.B.D.C.

    If the second letter in the first string is "B" (and I think it is), then I don't think the second letter in the second string can also be a "B". Those are different letters.

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    FrazFraz Posts: 1,861 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 29, 2024 2:28PM

    @RobertScotLover said:
    You have erred unfortunately, the first 1862's initials are:
    A.B.B. from W. H.D.C.
    The second 1862's initials are:
    A.B.C from W.B.D.C
    And the fonts are completely different, the only thing that is similar is their respective locations on the reverse and that is the typical spot centered where one would engrave them.
    Just being exact here. I like the higher graded example and the 1862 is a wonderful date

    @Freedom04941 said:
    Recently I bought an 1862 Liberty Seated Dollar, in raw XF grade, that had been engraved "A.B.B. from W.H.D.C." on its reverse. What attracted me to it was that I had seen a similar coin advertised on eBay more than a year ago. I didn't buy that coin, as it was in lower grade (raw VG) than what I liked for the seller's price; but I did save pictures of it. It was engraved "A.B.C. from W.H.D.C." on its reverse. While the font style is different between these 2 coins, the inscriptions are very similar, and must have been engraved by the same entity.

    Where did he err? It escapes me.

    Never mind I see Vasanti’s post.

    Second coin looks like A.G.C.

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    JBKJBK Posts: 14,781 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Typekat said:
    White House District Columbia?

    Back then they called it the Executive Mansion. :)

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    TypekatTypekat Posts: 161 ✭✭✭

    @JBK
    You are correct!

    30+ years coin shop experience (ret.) Coins, bullion, currency, scrap & interesting folks. Loved every minute!

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    I erred in my typing, and stand corrected .

    The recipient of the higher grade coin was "A.B.B."

    The recipient of the lower grade coin was "A.B.C."

    The style of the letters are different. But, they are too similar in layout to have been made by different organizations.

    If both of these coins "escaped into circulation", what are the odds that they both turned up on eBay in a period of about 2 years apart (2022 and 2024) , after having been floating around in "numispace" since 1862? The lower grade one came from a Weat Coast dealer, and the higher grade one came from an East Coast dealer.

    I suspect that the recipients knew each other, and when one died, the other one got his coin. Eventually, when he also died, they wound up in the same collection.

    The lower grade one must have been carried in a pocket for decades.

    The high grade one (which looks better in hand than in the picture) looks like it was carried about a year.

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    By the way, does anyone of you know who has the lower grade coin ?

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    JBKJBK Posts: 14,781 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 29, 2024 3:57PM

    People seem to be assuming that the four initials represent an organization. They could also represent a person with two middle names.

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    tttwotttwo Posts: 34 ✭✭✭

    @JBK said:
    People seem to be assuming that the four initials represent an organization. They could also represent a person with two middle names.

    I'm going to throw out one possibility for W.H.D.C. that I found, but have doubts about. William Henry DeCourcy Wright (1795-1864) was a prominent Maryland resident at the time. The website https://wikitree.com/wiki/Wright-38256 refers to him as "WHDC", without the ending W for his surname, but whether or not he would have used his initials in this way isn't known, but possible on an intimate gift I suppose.

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    RobertScotLoverRobertScotLover Posts: 614 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 29, 2024 5:27PM

    I absolutely think the initials are a person, definitely not an organization
    And I stand corrected
    ABC From WHDC
    ABB from WHDC
    And with 4 initials it does narrow the field, it could very well be William Henry, and he could have given both as gifts to 2 different individuals and had the engraver engrave it in 2 different styles and different times in his life on an 1862. I am gonna go with that story, makes a whole lot of sense now

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    SapyxSapyx Posts: 2,009 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Perhaps a matching pair of love tokens?
    WHDC gives girlfriend/fiance ABB a love token.
    WHDC then marries ABB, who then takes her husband's surname and becomes ABC.
    WHDC gives new wife ABC another love token.

    A fanciful story, but plausible. The difference in time could explain the difference in engraving styles. There's another, perhaps more humorous explanation.

    WHDC commissions a love token for his fiance/girlfriend ABB.
    WHDC is horrified to discover the engraver has botched the job and mis-spelled "ABB" as "ABC".
    Enraged, WHDC gets his money back, gets another 1862 dollar, and goes to another engraver who engraves the second coin correctly.
    WHDC gives ABB her correct love token.
    WHDC then takes the botched coin with him to the far side of the country and spends it over there.

    And perhaps 1862 was a significant date for the pair, which could mean the engravings happened long after 1862. The ABC coin certainly seems to have seen considerable circulation either before or after becoming tokenized.

    Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.
    Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"

    Apparently I have been awarded one DPOTD. B)

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