Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Family Coin Collection

Ok, if you want to claim an official coin for your family you probably wouldn't want it to be a penny, but that's what we have.

James Barton Longacre was the 2nd cousin of my wife, several times removed.

They share a common great grandfather, Peter Longacre who was born in 1682 and died in 1739. Peter Longacre lived in the Kingsessing area of Philadelphia. In fact he owned 200 acres in the southwest part of Philly when he died, less than a half mile from where my daughter lives today. There is a Kingsessing park just down the street from her place. We will be there next weekend so I'll have to check it out.

James Barton Longacre was born in 1794 and died in 1869. He was an artist which seems to run in the family but he made better use of his talents. Or at least he made money with the talent in more ways than his cousins do today.

From 1844 until he died in 1869 he was the Engraver for the United States Mint in Philadelphia. He designed all the US coins and currency from the time he was named the official engraver until he died. He also did many of the early portraits of Presidents and famous folks that became the National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans.

In 1859 he designed a one cent coin that he is best remembered for. We call it the Indian Head Penny. He used his daughter Sarah Longacre as the model for the Indian Princess. The coin was in circulation until replaced by the Lincoln penny in 1909.

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