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The historical allure of "relic coins!"

DCWDCW Posts: 6,975 ✭✭✭✭✭

What could be cooler than a token or medal struck from metal actually taken from a historical event? "Relic coins" were once a popular niche.
As coin collectors, we have a natural gravitation towards history. So, when history and numismatics collide we have the best of both worlds.
Here are two "relic coins" from my collection, both from around 150 years ago:
The first has been called "The First Commemorative Token of the Civil War."
Lincoln/ Made From Copper Taken From the Ruins of the Turpentine Works Newbern, NC. Destroyed by the Rebels March 14, 1862.


Here is an article in Harper's Ferry depicting scenes from the same date from the Burnside Expedition:
The copper was probably picked up by one of the soldiers in the Massachusetts Regiments involved in the battle and given to Merriam to make these little medalets once the officers went on furlough. They were almost certainly disseminated among the members of the unit to commemorate their participation in this battle. The reverse die is known to be muled with several of Merriam's other dies (along with those of prominent Massachusetts die sinker Bolen) but it is believed that the Lincoln reverse and Merriam's Washington die (shown below) were the only original strikings where the actual copper from Newbern was used.
This next one is a very rare piece which I had never seen before acquiring an old collection of many years intact: Washington/ Made From a Copper Bolt Taken From the Wreck of the Frigate Congress by G.W. Williams, Co. C. 25th Reg MV Jan 1. 1864.

There cant be more than a handful of these, maybe 2 or 3. I dont know of another. I wonder just how many planchets could be fashioned from a bolt? Bolen had a similar token in which he stated that two were struck.
The sinking of the Congress by the Merrimac, or as the Confederacy named her, the "CSS Virginia" marked the end of an era. Wooden warships were now a thing of the past, and ironclads would now ruled the seas.

Post a relic coin and let's discuss history!

Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
"Coin collecting for outcasts..."

Comments

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    Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,452 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The second one is unbelievable! I need it. LOL. I collect Monitor & Virginia battle stuff. Too bad this didn't fit into Shenkman's book so I would have known it existed. :(

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    northcoinnorthcoin Posts: 4,987 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 29, 2017 2:57PM

    There is something magical about the source of the metal. True or not the prospect that the 1792 half dismes were sourced from Martha Washington's silverware has added to their mystique. The 1848 CAL Quarter Eagle from California Gold Rush gold another example. In recent times coins made from gold recovered from shipwreck gold ingots have been poplular. If I recall correctly, barrel staves were used for some of the earliest colonial or American coins.

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    JBKJBK Posts: 14,771 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 29, 2017 3:03PM

    I love the stuff but own very little of it. I have modern medals made from ships USS Constellation and the HMS Cutty Sark. I also have some 1980s era silver rounds and ingots made form Strategic Stockpile silver. And a few medals made from various spacecraft.

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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I do not have any coins made from significant metal sources.... However, I have a knife whose handles are made from the wood taken from the U.S.S. Constitution when it was refurbished. Being former Navy, and having been on that ship (as a visitor), it has special significance. Cheers, RickO

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    BoosibriBoosibri Posts: 11,867 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Does Irish gun money count? Made for the Catholic King James II from church bells and apparently guns, hence the name, and dated my month and year to set the order of redemption for silver once the war was won, which it never was.


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    JBKJBK Posts: 14,771 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 1, 2017 11:26AM

    @ricko said:
    I do not have any coins made from significant metal sources.... However, I have a knife whose handles are made from the wood taken from the U.S.S. Constitution when it was refurbished. Being former Navy, and having been on that ship (as a visitor), it has special significance. Cheers, RickO

    How could I forget the USS Constitution. I have a pen made from it's wood, a box made from its wood and a copper medallion made from salvaged metal set into the top, and a small engraving of the ship printed on paper made with chips and splitters from salvaged wood visible throughout. They make great use of the material they remove every time she gets an overhaul.

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