1876 George Bache Soley First Steam Coining Press Medallet

ZoinsZoins Posts: 18,937 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited September 14, 2017 12:13AM in U.S. Coin Forum

The 1876 Centennial thread reminded me that I picked up a silver George Bache Soley First Steam Coining Press medallet a while back.

It's dated 1876 and unholed. Has anyone ever seen another 1876 unholed specimen? I've seen pics of a few 1877 holed specimens. Is this in any catalog and would PCGS slab it?

Updated: to spell out George's middle name, Bache, based on information from Rulau via @coindeuce .

Comments

  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 28,750 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've seen these but more holed at 12 O'clock for suspension then not. I've seen some with pins to wear on a jacket lapel. Not sure if PCGS will, however NGC and ICG have slabbed these smaller Lord's Prayer medallets.

    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 18,937 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 13, 2016 1:19AM

    So far, I've only come across 2 unholed specimens with the "First Steam Coining Press" die, both dated 1876 and not 1877. The other is a George Washington piece in the Mount Vernon collection:

    http://www.mountvernon.org/preservation/collections-holdings/browse-the-museum-collections/object/m-3182/

    I don't look for these all the time but it would be interesting to see more specimens.

  • rickoricko Posts: 66,457 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice looking specimen..... You could always self slab for preservation. Cheers, RickO

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,297 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 13, 2016 6:43AM

    Soley and William Barber had a medal making business at the time. Soley also built his own reducing lathe so that he could make master reductions of Barber's models in his home workshop. Neither man used US Mint time or equipment although both were employed there.

    As can be seen from the promotional medal (above), workmanship was "quick and dirty" - but that was all their customers wanted. It appears from the limited documents available that the two entrepreneurs made as much in their private venture as in their government jobs.

  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 28,750 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 13, 2016 6:56AM

    I've seen most all on eBay not at any other auction venue. You could check worthpoint as they might have captured some older sales in their archives. Getting back to slabbing all of the Lord's Prayer tokens I've seen have been full bright brass gem or nearing superb. Beyond that condition IMHO all the associated expenses of getting them into plastic would be hard to ever recoup upon resale.

    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 18,937 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 13, 2016 9:56AM

    Great information Roger! I read that Soley was a die sinker at the US Mint and had a shop on Chestnut Street. Nice to know he and Barber worked together. Did Barber share the shop on Chestnut Street?

    Of note The Times of Philadelphia mentioned Soley's medals were being sold by the US Mint on Dec 12, 1894, yesterday 112 years ago:

    Two Souvenirs Must Not Be Sold to Visitor at the Mint
    Souvenirs which have been on sale at the Mint have been pronounced to be too much like money and their sale has been stopped by Chief McManus, of the civil service force, on orders from the authorities at Washington. One of these souvenirs is a medal which is the size and about the color of a gold dollar, has the face and bust of Washington in relief on the front, with the words, "God and Our Country." On the back is the lord's Prayer in letters so tine that a magnifying glass is needed to read it. These medals have been manufactured by George B. Soley, an employe of the Mint, and sold to visitors. They have not been made in the Mint. The die used, however, is one made for the government and purchased by Soley, The stopping of their manufacture and sale while result of an inquiry addressed to the secret service agent at Washington by a man who desired to buy and sell these medals. The order on which Mr. McManus acted was based on the act of Congress approved February 10, "to prevent counterfeiting or manufacture of dies, tools or other implements used in counterfeiting.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 18,937 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 13, 2016 9:06PM

    @Broadstruck said:
    I've seen most all on eBay not at any other auction venue. You could check worthpoint as they might have captured some older sales in their archives. Getting back to slabbing all of the Lord's Prayer tokens I've seen have been full bright brass gem or nearing superb. Beyond that condition IMHO all the associated expenses of getting them into plastic would be hard to ever recoup upon resale.

    I'll keep on the lookout for more of these. In my limited searches, I haven't seen any others that are unholed but would love to build up a collection.

  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 28,750 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Worthpoint only records items that sold.

    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 18,937 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 13, 2016 10:02AM

    I'm not concerned about resale on these. For these pieces, I'm more concerned about raising awareness of their history.

    As you mention, these medallets often get posted on eBay only and records of them disappear if they are not sold. Sometimes I buy things just be able to take photos and have a record of them.

    This piece is more about building awareness and appreciation for these medallets struck by a Mint employee on the first U.S. steam coining press press (sold as surplus). It's interesting to note that the newspaper article quoted above mentions that some of Soley's medallets were sold by the U.S. Mint.

    In addition to brass, these come in silver.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 18,937 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 13, 2016 10:15AM

    Since George B. Soley was a die sinker and had a medal making business with William Barber, is it possible or likely that the engraving for this piece was done by William Barber?

    Are there some examples medals Soley and Barber made together?

    Also, does anyone know what is:

    • George B. Soley's middle name?
    • the address of his shop on Chestnut Street?
    • whether William Barber also shared that shop on Chestnut Street?

    I've done some searches but have come up empty handed so far.

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,297 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This page from one of the Engraving Department notebooks for 1945 should help. George B. Soley. For the address, check the Philadelphia city directory, 1876. Barber did the design work at his home, and Soley made reductions and struck medals. (pronounced: saw' lee)

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 18,937 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 13, 2016 10:22AM

    Very cool Roger! Great to see Soley's name in that Engraving Department notebook for 1945.

    So it seems possible that Barber may have done the design for this while he was also working for the Mint (from 1869–1879)?

  • coindeucecoindeuce Posts: 13,247 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 13, 2016 10:30AM

    @Zoins said:
    Since George B. Soley was a die sinker and had a medal making business with William Barber, is it possible or likely that the engraving for this piece was done by William Barber?

    Are there some examples medals Soley and Barber made together?

    Also, does anyone know what is:

    • George B. Soley's middle name?
    • the address of his shop on Chestnut Street?
    • whether William Barber also shared that shop on Chestnut Street?

    I've done some searches but have come up empty handed so far.

    According to Russell Rulau, Soley's middle name was Bache. Soley had purchased the U.S. Mint's first steam press in 1875 as scrap metal. The press is now in the ANA Museum in Colorado Springs. The OP's token would have been struck at the Centennial International Exposition along with many of the Pa-Ph394 tokens (1832 Phila. Mint facade obverse / Lord's prayer reverse).

    "Everything is on its way to somewhere. Everything." - George Malley, Phenomenon
    http://www.americanlegacycoins.com

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 18,937 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks @coindeuce ! I've updated the title and post to reflect George's middle name.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 18,937 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 13, 2016 10:54AM

    Some thoughts on minting:

    • Since the text is incuse on both sides, would have been likely that these were engraved into a galvano or directly into a hub before a die was made so that the letters would be raised on the die?
    • How likely was it that the design was reduced but the letters hand engraved on the hub?
  • GoldenEggGoldenEgg Posts: 1,151 ✭✭✭✭

    Wow! Great info in this thread. As always, Roger, your input on this is awesome! Some of it seems to contradict some material I read about Soley, however. I can't wait to read through this thread more closely and compare it to some research already done on Soley.

    I would love to put together a list of Soley material, if anyone is interested. He signed some of medals, but most are not. Many of his 25mm medals are very similar in style, skill, and composition to the type that was produced by Krider at this time as well, so differentiating may be impossible.

    In regards to the document posted, a while ago, I found his dod to be different: findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=91221152 I also, have a photo of Harry Blythe operating the janvier press; I can post it closer to the holidays. I'm not sure if it's the same Blythe that's referenced in the document, because I believe there were multiple Blythe's at the Mint.

    @Zoins said:
    Some thoughts on minting:

    • How likely was it that the design was reduced but the letters hand engraved on the hub?

    I think this is very likely (except the lettering was likely hand engraved on the die). I have a pair of medals, certainly produced by Soley, with the central design being essentially the same, some slight differences due to finishing, however the lettering is significantly different.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 18,937 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @GoldenEgg I think it would great to put together a list / reference of Soley material, especially if it can be used to have PCGS slab these pieces.

    The reason I mentioned the letters may have been hand engraved on the hub is because the letters are incuse on the tokens. If the engraving was done on the die, I imagine the letters would be raised like a standard coin.

  • Great thread on George Soley here! :D I have been collecting his medals for quite awhile! That's a really nice nice and rare 1876 posted by Zoins! So will PCGS slab a Soley medal without his name on it? I'm really just wondering at this point. Also, does anyone know whether or not Soley engraved the Protestant Lord's Prayer or only the Catholic's Lord's Prayer. Here's my 1877 medal and the larger medal with the Liberty Bell Obverse and the Protestant Lord's Prayer on the reverse. Anyone got any information on my Liberty Bell medal?

  • GoldenEggGoldenEgg Posts: 1,151 ✭✭✭✭

    @fretboard said:
    So will PCGS slab a Soley medal without his name on it?

    Not likely. Most of his work is not listed in any of the publications for which PCGS will grade and encapsulate medals. The other TPGs likely will.

    @fretboard said:
    Also, does anyone know whether or not Soley engraved the Protestant Lord's Prayer or only the Catholic's Lord's Prayer. Here's my 1877 medal and the larger medal with the Liberty Bell Obverse and the Protestant Lord's Prayer on the reverse.

    This is not Soley's. It is not done in a style, size, or composition that was typical for him. It is lower quality than is typical for Soley. Also, your piece was likely struck in 1926 for the Sesquicentennial, and Soley was long gone by then.

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,297 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 12, 2018 7:47AM

    .

  • Yes GoldenEgg, you're right! Actually I thought I had already responded to this thread, luckily the liberty bell token only cost a couple of bucks, I live and learn. :D

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