At Auction | Rare 1792 Silver Center Cent Coin

Posted in Art Market by Editor on April 14, 2012

A Heritage Auctions press release (5 April 2012), as noted at ArtDaily.com:

Heritage Auctions, Central States U.S. Coin Auction
Schaumburg, Illinois, 18-20 April 2012

Highest bid as of 13 April: $1,000,000

DALLAS – One of the most historic coins struck by the early U.S. Mint, a 1792 Judd-1 Silver Center cent pattern, MS61 Brown PCGS, headlines the Heritage Auctions April 2012 Central States Signature U.S. Coin Auction, April 18-20, with Platinum Night offerings on April 19.

“Our long-running relationship with the Central States Numismatic Society and conducting its annual convention’s official auction is alive and well,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage, “as is our tradition of bringing important rarities to those auctions. The 1792 Silver Center cent is tremendously important to the history of U.S. coinage – arguably far more so than a number of better-known and more celebrated rarities.”

The 1792 Silver Center cents were experimental pieces designed by Chief Coiner Henry Voigt to remedy a flaw in the Mint Act of 1792: the official weight for one cent coins would have made them too large and heavy for practical use. Voigt suggested a small silver plug, worth ¾ of a cent, surrounded by copper worth ¼ of a cent. The value of the metal would be the same, but the Silver Center cent was designed to be smaller and easier to handle. The Silver Center cents were the first coins struck on the grounds of the U.S. Mint, lending them great historical importance, but they never went into general production and are very rare today. Congress reduced the official weight of the cent instead, making an all-copper coin more practical. Heritage’s roster of Silver Center cents counts only 14 positively identified survivors. This Silver
Center cent, presented as An Offering From The Liberty Collection,
was used to illustrate the type in Walter Breen’s famous
Encyclopedia and is pictured in certain past editions of A Guide
Book of United States Coins,
popularly known as the “Red Book.” . . .

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Update (added 20 April 2012) — The coin sold for $1million (plus the 15% commission), as noted here»

Catherine Molineux on Visual Ethnography

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 14, 2012

Catherine Molineux | Visual Ethnography:  The Travelogue Illustration as a Site of Encounter
The Newberry Library, Chicago, 28 April 2012

Please join us Saturday, April 28, 2012, 2-4 pm for our Newberry Library Eighteenth-Century Seminar works-in-progress session with Catherine Molineux of Vanderbilt University.

Between the 1730s and 1780s, a French traveler’s tale about the coronation of a West African king circulated through France, England, and the Netherlands. Embedded in this description of Hueda rituals surrounding kingship was a story about European rivalry for the favor of a key African player in the Atlantic slave trade.  As this commercial drama played out in Europe through multiple retellings of the story, engravers transformed the single image that accompanied it, reworking  the original sketch into a full-color engraving. The illustration’s evolution tells a modern story about the role of the visual in securing imperial hierarchies threatened by the encounter with African sovereignty.

The Newberry Library Eighteenth-Century seminar is designed to foster research and inquiry across the scholarly disciplines in eighteenth-century studies.  It aims to provide a methodologically diverse forum for work that engages our ongoing discussions and debates along this historical and critical terrain.

Attendance at all events is free and open to the public but in order to receive the precirculated paper, participants are asked to register in advance by contacting the Center for Renaissance Studies at: renaissance@newberry.org. A reception follows each presentation. It is also the custom of the seminar to gather at a restaurant in the Newberry neighborhood to continue our conversation. If you would like to join us for dinner after any session, please email Lisa Freeman at lfreeman@uic.edu. For more information about the seminar, please visit our website. We welcome your attendance and participation at the seminar and look forward to continuing our lively discussions.

Timothy Campbell, University of Chicago
Lisa A. Freeman, University of Illinois at Chicago
John Shanahan, DePaul University
Helen Thompson, Northwestern University

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