Robert Maskell Patterson was named Director of the United States Mint by President Andrew Jackson, and this appointment was confirmed by the Senate on January 5, 1835. He served with distinction for more than 15 years, retiring in July of 1851. Patterson was the son of former Mint Director Robert Patterson, Sr. (1806-24), and his immediate predecessor in this office was his brother-in-law, Samuel Moore (1824-35). This sort of interconnectedness of the Mint’s officers was quite common, lasting as late as the early 20th Century, and it represented a shared sense of commitment to public service.
R. M. Patterson’s term witnessed the introduction of steam power to the actual coining process, as well as many other mechanical and statutory improvements that made America’s coinage equal or superior to that of European nations. He also oversaw the debut of several new coin issues, including the gold dollar and double eagle in 1849-50 and the silver three-cent piece in 1851. He supervised the creation of new designs for all of the existing denominations, as well as the restoration of silver dollar and gold eagle coinage during 1836-38.
These achievements are commemorated in the three medals which accompany this exhibit, all of which are from the estate of Director Patterson. The two smaller pieces herald the debut performance of a steam-powered coin press, this very same press now preserved and on display at the Museum of the American Numismatic Association in Colorado Springs. The larger piece was created as a testimonial to the esteem in which Director Patterson was held by his fellow Mint officers and was presented to him upon his retirement in 1851. Numismatic Guaranty Corporation is very proud to have been selected to certify and encapsulate these extremely rare medals and to present them for your viewing pleasure. Also included in this display is a letter dated January 8, 1836 transmitting R. M. Patterson’s commission as Director of the Mint.
Letter Appointing Robert M. Patterson Director of the United States Mint
Envelope that Held "The Very First" First Steam Coinage Medal, Presented to Robert M. Patterson
Edge Inscription of Patterson's First Steam Coinage Medal
Wooden Box that Held Patterson's Gilt First Steam Coinage Medal