The Earliest Known Photograph of an 1804 Dollar

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The Earliest Known Photograph of an 1804 Dollar
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Cogan, Edward. CATALOGUE OF A VERY RARE AND VALUABLE ASSORTMENT OF COINS AND MEDALS, IN GOLD, SILVER AND COPPER, THE PROPERTY OF E. HARRISON SANFORD, ESQ. New York: Bangs, Nov. 27, 1874. 8vo, original printed blue wraps. 20 pages; 367 lots; 2 fine mounted photographic plates. Neatly hand-priced in dark red ink. Original wraps loose and a bit worn and faded; plates also loose, and faded as always, with fore-edge of one plate a little chipped (easily trimmed and not affecting any images); internally fine. Adams A-: “1791 Disme. AU 1794 $1. 1804 $1. 1846-58 proof sets. Gem 1823 25¢, 1802 5¢. XF 1796 1/2¢.” Inscribed in ink at head of front wrapper: “Plates & Priced, J. Colvin Randall, Phila.” One of the great rarities, with plates, of the Cogan series; Adams ranks it the scarcest. The plates depict choice large cents, colonials, rare early United States silver coins, medals, etc. Though a fine engraving of the 1804 silver dollar had appeared in Eckfeldt & Du Bois’s famous 1842 Manual of Gold and Silver Coins of All Nations, the Sanford specimen appears to be the first to be depicted on a published photograph. The obverse of this 1804 silver dollar (later to become generally known as the Lorin G. Parmelee-Byron Reed specimen) is illustrated at the upper right corner of one of the plates, secured in place with three pins as was the custom at the time. According to Newman and Bressett: “It has been stated that a lady obtained this dollar from the Mint during the period of President Polk’s administration (1845-1849), and hearing of the high price paid for Mr. Mickley’s piece ($750, October 28, 1867), she turned her coin over to her son who sold it to Mr. Sanford about April, 1868.” Described in the Sanford sale as “one of, if not the most rare piece in the American series, not more than four of five being known to collectors in the United States,” it sold for $700.00 to Lorin Parmelee and, at his 1890 sale, was acquired by Byron Reed for $570. Ex Harry W. Bass library (Kolbe Sale 75, lot 109).