A Maris Sale, with the Two New Jersey Plates Annotated by F.C.C. Boyd

Currency:USD Category:Coins & Paper Money / US Coins Start Price:400.00 USD Estimated At:600.00 - 600.00 USD
A Maris Sale, with the Two New Jersey Plates Annotated by F.C.C. Boyd
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(Smith, Harlan Page). CATALOGUE OF COLONIAL, UNITED STATES, AND PATTERN PIECES FROM THE CABINET OF DR. EDWARD MARIS OF PHILADELPHIA. Philadelphia: Stan. V. Henkels & Co., June 21, 1886. 4to, original printed wraps. 30, (2) pages; 501 lots; 2 [of 6] fine photographic plates, both annotated in pencil and one cut with one missing image. Separately printed Preface included; photocopy of all six plates laid in. Catalogue folded and somewhat worn; rear wrap missing. Good or somewhat better. Of enormous importance for colonial and state coinages, most especially the New Jersey coppers. It is the final two plates, depicting those, that are present in this copy (which is lacking the other four), and these have been annotated by F.C.C. Boyd, giving the Maris number for each variety and noting a few overstrikes. Unfortunately, the final plate has one clipped image: that of reverse C (lot 355). Best known today for his seminal work on the New Jersey pieces, Maris also is credited with the first serious works on the die varieties of 1794 U.S. large cents. The sale appears to have generated some controversy. Maris issued a circular on May 15, 1886, announcing that his collection was to be sold at the auction house of Stan. V. Henkels of Philadelphia. Maris writes in this circular that "The most important of the Colonials will comprise my entire collection of the coins of New Jersey. This will include specimens, or copies of all known New Jerseys, of undoubted genuineness, together with some counterfeits of that period. Also, those which were struck over the Connecticut, Vermont, Nova Constellatio, English, Irish and French coppers; one in brass; one in a mixed metal; one with a small piece of silver in the plow handle; and many other pieces showing fracture of the dies." In an unusual move, Maris catalogued his collection himself. This apparently irritated some coin dealers, who resented this intrusion onto their turf. The October 1886 issue of the American Journal of Numismatics reported that, "although the name of a New York dealer [Smith] was placed on the title page, that gentleman did 'not own a single piece in it,' and Dr. Maris was 'driven to the necessity of placing it there by the attitude of other dealers, who protested against a collector cataloguing his own collection.'" It is notable that Smith's name appears only on the separately printed Preface, and not in the catalogue itself (though some copies seen have "With the Compliments of H.P. Smith" printed on the title). Charles Davis, in his catalogues of the Champa library, has suggested that it was the Chapman brothers who protested at Maris preparing his own catalogue, noting that they ceased holding their auction sales at Henkels shortly after this sale. Smith's Preface acknowledges "material assistance from the owner, in the preparation of the Catalogue." (There are also references throughout the sale referring to Maris in the third person, though these may have been written by Maris.) Smith discusses the issue of plated catalogues, stating that "I have had 50 Catalogues made, containing six plates." It is generally felt that far fewer than this were issued, as the number of surviving copies has been estimated as fewer than ten. The plates are outstanding artotypes, of superior quality to those in most sales of the period, and illustrate U.S. federal coins (mostly early silver, large cents and half cents), pattern coins (including an important group of 1877 half dollars), and, of course, some of the most important New Jersey coppers (which take up the last two plates, and include the 21-R not included in Maris's masterwork, as well as others that Maris notes as being superior to those on his famous plate). The New Jersey coppers were purchased en masse by T. Harrison Garrett through his agent Harold Newlin for $551 (he had been offered the collection directly by Maris for $1000 earlier). One of the most important sales of the 19th century. Adams 19 (rated A overall and for colonials and patterns in particular). Clain-Stefanelli 12188. Davis 944 ("Perhaps the most difficult sale of great importance to locate with plates").