Monday 26 November 2012
Nov 26
James Barton Longacre was born on August 11, 1794 in Delaware County Pennsylvania. James Longacre was an apprentice to two men before starting out on his own; a book salesman named James F. Watson in Philadelphia and also a bank note engraver named George Murray. After his apprenticeship with Watson, Longacre began making a living in 1819 by engraving metal plates for bank notes to be made, and also for different illustrations in books. Some of Longacre's work appeared in an 1820 encyclopedia. Longacre and James Herring collaborated on a project in 1830. Their goal was to write a series of biographies on important Americans in the field of politics and war. The first run of these books were published in 1834, titled

"The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans." This 4 volume work of literature brought much fame to Longacre, as well as nearly everyone else associated with these books.

After the death of Christian Gobrecht, who was also an apprentice to George Murray, James Longacre became the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint with the help of John C. Calhoun, who was a major political influence from South Carolina during the early to mid 1800's. Longacre aquired his position on September 16, 1844. As Chief Engraver, Longacre produced many of America's most iconic coins. Longacre had his hand in most of the coins produced by the U.S. Mint in the mid 1850's and later. [An Article on Longacre's Flying Eagle cent will be coming soon].

James Longacre had several assisstants throughout his career as the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, the most famous being Charles Barber. Charles Barber went on to become Chief Engraver himself, after being appointed to the position after his father's death. Barber became famous for his design of the silver dime, quarter, and half dollar in the late 1800's and early 1900's, which is much better know as 'Barber Coinage'.

James Longacre was known for being rather stubborn, which resulted in several disputes between other Mint workers and himself. Longacre had much trouble with Franklin Peale, who was Chief Coiner at the time. Peale operated a business of his own on the side, using much of the Mint's equipment to do so. Peale was fired by Franklin Pierce in December of 1854 when he heard of his doings. Longacre had much less trouble at work after Peale was fired.

James Longacre, along with the assisstance of Anthony Paquet, redesigned and modified some coins for the goverment of Chile. Longacre did some other commission work, including dies for private California coiners. One of James Longacre's most famous coins is the ever popular and readily available Indian Head one cent piece. He is also credited with the so called 'Shield' nickel, as well as several other lesser known coins. James Longacre was the Chief Engraver from 1844 until his death on January 1, 1869. William Barber gave a eulogy at his funeral on January 4, at which the entire Mint staff had the day off to attend.

written by Nicholas

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Current Coins in Circulation Among the Republic of India
Monday 15 April 2013 - 14:56:14

Here's a fairly large article covering India's modern coins. Starting with the fading 50 paise coins to the 10 rupee.