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Numismatic Morphy

   Coin collecting, while I can see the appeal, is not one of my avocations. As such, I'm not familiar with some of the terminology or methodology involved in the discipline. 
   In my eplorations I found a wonderful commemorative coin minted in 1859 in honor of Paul Morphy.  But I'm a bit confused trying to understand some of the details involving this coin.
   The Morphy coin, just like this (below) coin of the Philadelphia State House have engraved on the back the words: Aug. B. Sage.

   
Philadelphia State House
The Patriot's Rendesvous
No. 6
Aug. B. Sage's Historical Token

 

                                             

   

"Paul Morphy, The American Chess King" 


 
"He has beaten Harrwitz in Chess 
playing and Staunton in Courtesy"
No.3

"Aug. B. Sage's odds and ends"  

 

Augstus B. Sage, who was born in 1842, founded, along with 11 others, the Antiquarian Society which later became known as the American Numismatic Society on the Ides of March, 1858, just as Morphy was preparing to leave for England.  This important event in the history of numismatics is made even more fantastic when one realizes that Sage was only 16 years old.  At the first meeting, held in Sage's home (where, in fact all the 1st year's meetings were held), Sage was elected Corresponding Secretary (and later elected Curator).  The previous year, 15 year old Sage, under the pen-name, Gus,  had published a series of articles in the New York Sunday Dispatch  entitled Gleanings from Coins.

 
   Sage was a dealer/collector who donated the first coin to the Antiquarian Society, which today, as the ANS, boasts the largest coin-related collection in North America - about 800,000 items. 

 

 

the 1825 Half Cent, donated by Sage, the first coin in the ANS collection.

 

 

In August of 1862, Sage joined the 170th New York Infantry Regiment with the rank of Captain and attaining the rank of Colonel before resigning in December 1863, apparently for health reasons.  After leaving the army, Sage became an attorney and practiced law in New York City. Other than some sporadic offerings, his numismatic relevance faded after the war and he died at the young age of 32 on February 19, 1874.

 

Hopefully some numismatists can explain :
1. why, since Sage wasn't a designer, engraver or sculptor and didn't own a mint, his name would be on the coins themselves. Did he commission them, paying the expenses out of pocket, hoping to recoup his investment by selling the coins/medals/tokens?

2. What "issuing" means - in the context :
     "Dealers such as Edward Cogan, William Idler, John K. Curtis and
     E. Hill issued more formal and sometimes beautifully engraved 
     advertising tokens proclaiming their professional interests in 
     numismatics over the next few years, and Augustus B. Sage issued 
     a nine-part series of medalets featuring prominent collectors in 
     "Sage's Numismatic Gallery."

     or 

     "In the period 1859-1860, pioneer New York City dealers 
     John K. Curtis and Augustus B. Sage issued medals relating to 
     their businesses as did Ezra Hill."

3. In the statement "the first Sage pieces were all copper, plain edge, but later brass and reeded-edge pieces appeared, as well as "mules" of mismated dies" it sounds as if Sage designed, or at least had input into the design of, the coin. Would this be, or have been, common with dealers?

 

 

Comments


  • 5 years ago

    batgirl

    I agree that these tokens aren't legal tender, but, at least to myself, the stature of the Sage in the history of coin-cllecting suggests that the creation of these coins or tokens were something beyond mere vanity purposes.  But that's just my impression, possibly based entirely on ignorance.

  • 5 years ago

    gretagarbo

    I don't believe that these coins are anything more than a vanity item.  I would think that they could be "issued" by anyone since they are not legal tender.

  • 5 years ago

    daozu

    Thanks for a beautiful story.

  • 5 years ago

    ChessGuevara234

    Very nice. I have a French coin minted in 1856, with Napoleon III on it, but I'd happily trade it for a Morphy coin. Interesting article.

  • 5 years ago

    charlierock

    I really must take time to write a few lines on how nice it was for me to be able to read and see a rare coin with a chess player on it,really amazed me,thank you.

  • 5 years ago

    chessaus321

    nice!!

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