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Lot 3034


Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 3034
Date 1792
Side obverse
Grade 64
Service NGC
Service Catalog # 921
Denomination CENT
Description 1792 CENT Getz Washington President Pattern Cent, Plain Edge MS64 Brown NGC. Baker-25, Breen-1352, Pollock-5020, W-10775, R.5. Ex: "Col." E.H.R. Green. 257.7 grains, 99% copper per NGC metallurgical tests. The late Jack Collins spent many years studying the Getz silver and copper Washington President pieces. Unfortunately, he passed away before the study was completed. His friend, George Fuld, continued the study through completion, and in 2009 The Washington Pattern Coinage of Peter Getz was published by George Frederick Kolbe and Alan Meghrig. The Peter Getz pattern coins were minted in silver and copper. Those struck in silver include 14 with a plain edge, five with the Circles and Squares edge, and three with the twin olive leaves edge. Copper impressions include 45 with a plain edge and 11 with the Circles and Squares edge. Among those 56 copper pieces are eight examples that are described as Mint State. The Eric P. Newman coin is the fifth finest of those eight pieces. An arcing planchet cutter mark is visible from the bottom of the 1 to the top of the G, continuing to the border over the A. The entire obverse is double struck, with less noticeable reverse doubling. The surfaces are prooflike, and the design motifs are bold. Both sides have attractive chocolate-brown surfaces with delicate light green toning highlights. An exceptional Getz copper. There were many Washington tribute pieces made in England, but those by Getz were actually made in the U.S., and are considered pattern coins as opposed to Washington issues. While they were made outside the mint, they were struck in Philadelphia on a coin press that was soon moved to the new Philadelphia Mint. It is our opinion that these pieces should be collected as part of the United States pattern series, and they are listed in Andrew Pollock's pattern reference. These pattern coins are attributed to Peter Getz of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, apparently on the strength of remarks made by J. Franklin Reigart of that town, and published by Montroville Wilson Dickeson in The American Numismatical Manual: {blockquote}"Mr. Getz was personally complimented by Washington for his artistic skill in producing the die for what is called the 'Washington Cent,' and it was also officially recognized by the Government. This letter was often exhibited by Major John Getz, a son of the artist, during his lifetime. Memory must, however, supply the place of this documentary proof, as it cannot now be found."{/blockquote} Searching for source material proving these pieces were engraved by Peter Getz is challenging. All we have found was the commentary in Crosby, who wrote: {blockquote}"It is believed that the three dies last described [including the piece offered here] were the work of Peter Getz, of Lancaster, Pa: a self-taught, but skillful mechanic and engraver."{/blockquote} Crosby further notes that his information was obtained from Joseph Mickley, and came from Congressman James Lawrence Getz (1821-1891), a grandson of Peter Getz. A biographical note of Peter Getz appeared in William Barton's Memoirs of the Life of David Rittenhouse, published in 1813: {blockquote}"Peter Getz was a self-taught mechanic of singular ingenuity in the borough of Lancaster, where he exercised the trade of a silversmith and jeweler, and was remarkable for the extraordinary elegance and beauty of the workmanship he executed. He was, in 1792, a candidate for the place of chief coiner or engraver in the mint." {/blockquote} There is some uncertainty about his life in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Records place his birth in 1762, 1764, and 1768. Other records state that he died in 1804 or 1809. Some sources suggest that he served in the Pennsylvania Militia during the Revolutionary War, although he does not appear in records of the DAR. Die state evidence suggests that originals and restrikes of the Getz pieces exist. Examples with no die rust, such as this example from the Eric P. Newman Collection, are the original 1792 issues. Those with die rust followed, possibly after an intermission of several years. George Fuld explained in 2009: {blockquote}"On observing the die progression on the copper and silver impressions, the logical sequence appears to be as follows. The small, 32 mm. plain edge copper pieces were struck first in December 1791. All specimens are from perfect dies with no die rust on the reverse. ... Later, the large diameter copper coins, with diameters of 35 mm. with plain, prominently toothed borders (often called piedforts due to their thickness and broad oversize planchets) and ornamented edges, were made in January/February 1792, or possibly later in 1799-1800 in commemoration of Washington's death."{/blockquote} As one of the early strikes on a 32 mm. planchet, the Eric P. Newman coin is one of the original strikings of December 1791, and is among the most historically important examples in the present sale. Ex: Waldo C. Newcomer; B. Max Mehl; "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Green Estate; Partnership of Eric P. Newman / B.G. Johnson d.b.a. St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co.; Eric P. Newman @ $300.00; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Reportedly earlier from John F. McCoy (W. Elliot Woodward, 5/1864), lot 2456; J.N.T. Levick (W. Elliot Woodward, 10/1864), lot 2257; W. Elliot Woodward (3/1865), lot 3277; to J. Ledyard Hodge. Realized $164500.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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