Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey, 1828. Two volumes, bound in one [as issued]. Small 4to [22.5 by 14.5 cm], later black half morocco; spine with four raised bands, ruled and lettered in gilt; decorative endpapers. (4), iv, (9)-212; 238, (4) pages. Internal foxing, as generally seen; marginal staining. Very good. Item #4663
The English translation of a highly detailed and enthusiastic account of a visit to the United States by Duke (Prinz und Herzog) Karl Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1792-1862), who in the years 1825 and 1826 traveled through the southern, midwestern and northeastern United States and in parts of Canada. Among other things, it contains Duke Bernhardís account of his visit to the United States Mint, which is undescribed in the numismatic literature. Bernhard appears to have had some numismatic interest, and is a keen observer. On his visit to the Mint, he witnesses the production of half dollars, including the cutting of the planchets and the actual striking of the coins. He notes that no silver dollars had been struck since 1803. The medals produced by the Mint are of considerable interest to him, and he praises in particular the Naval medals of the War of 1812 period and specifically the 1815-dated medal struck in gold for Andrew Jackson for the Battle of New Orleans. (Bernhard was a military man admired for commanding the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Dutch Division of the Duke of Wellingtonís forces at the Battle of Quatre Bras in the lead-up to Waterloo.) He admires as well the agricultural medals struck by the Mint and laments that the Mintís own collection does not include examples of the earlier American medals. No stranger to politics, he records that while the Mint is poorly equipped and insufficiently housed, the personnel fear requesting adequate funding from Congress for fear of losing the establishment altogether. While his record of this visit takes up only pages 179-180 of the second volume, it is quite interesting. Elsewhere, Bernhard describes the medal collection at the Boston Athenaeum and notes a collection of coins at the Western Museum in Cincinnati. Careful reading reveals a number of numismatic references throughout the text, many of them pertaining to medals, but encompassing also the circulating coinage and even bank notes. The author visits Thomas Jefferson at Monticello and spends two months enjoying New Orleans. This first English edition was published the same year as the original appeared in German. Clark III: 14. Graff 279. Howes B385. Sabin 4953.