HK-1 WM, Erie Canal Completion 1826





Coin Details

Origin/Country: United States New York, NY 1826
Item Description: WM SC$1 1826 NY HK-1 ERIE CANAL COMPLETION HK-1 WM
Full Grade: NGC MS 61
Owner: Spencer Collection

Owner Comments:

Medal, 1826, WM, ERIE CANAL COMPLETION, New York, NY, So Called Dollar, HK-1 WM, NGC MS61, Cert# 1657081-001. Rarity-6. Obv. One of the most coveted medals in American Numismatics. Two full seated figures depicting Pan and Neptune, to r. of Pan is cornucopia; in background is lighthouse and sea; below l. microscopic R. Del, below r. microscopic W. Sc.; above all, around Union of Erie with the Atlantic. Rv. In center is New York State Coat of Arms; to l. is section of Canal; in background is sailing ship and distant view of city; below 1826 / Presented by the City of New York; above all, around Erie Canal Comm. 4 July 1817 Comp. 26 Oct. 1825; microscopic C. C. Wright Sc just below center design. Size: About 45mm. The design signifies the joining up of the canal river God, with the God of the Sea, "Pan and Neptune are in loving embrace, with cornucopia showing the fruits of the land, the sea and shore, with lighthouse... and the inscription 'Union of Erie with the Atlantic.' " The other side displays, "the coat of arms of the State of New York and a section of the canal showing locks and tunnel, with the bay of New York and city, and ship in full sail, with the inscription, 'Erie canal commenced July 4, 1817. Completed October 26, 1825. Presented by the city of New York, 1826.' Interestingly, concentric circular die, or lathe, lines cover most of the gray surfaces with the focus at the center of the die. Richard Snow, in his Flying Eagle and Indian Head Cents, second edition, Vol. II, 1859-1869 reference work, illustrates and discusses such lines on page 65. Happily, this Specimen does not exhibit any of the "bubbly" surfaces found on many of these medals, most likely from interaction of the medal surfaces with the wooden container that these originally came in. History: Medal issued by Common Council, City of New York; designed by Archibald Robertson; engraved by Charles Cushing Wright; struck by Maltby Pedetreau. Erie Canal Commission created 1810 by NY Legislature; DeWitt Clinton, later Governor, served as member 10 years without pay. Ground broken July 4, 1817, at Rome, NY. Over 8 years and $7,000,000 later, Canal stretched 364 miles "straight as the lay of the land would permit" from Hudson River to Lake Erie; 83 locks required for "greatest engineering feat of modern times…costliest, most successful project yet undertaken in the New World." Originally dubbed "Clinton's Folly" by many, Canal proved one of main factors in our national development by directly opening West to agriculture; reduced freight cost and time, Albany to Buffalo, from $100 per ton and 45 days (by wagon) to $5 and 6 days; passengers paid 5 cents per mile, including 3 meals daily. By 1836, tolls had paid off entire cost; made New York City first seaport in U.S., passing Philadelphia. Now part of NY Barge Canal System, original 40 ft. width and 4 ft. depth have been increased substantially. Formal opening was Oct. 26, 1825, with vessel Seneca Chief carrying Governor Clinton departing Buffalo; arrived New York City Nov. 4. Long water-parade behind "moved slowly" with banquets, parades, etc. "at every town" en route; climaxed by huge New York celebration early 1826. Fifty-one Gold medals struck; presented to "crowned heads of world and eminent men" including General Lafayette and 3 surviving signers of Declaration of Independence. "Several hundred" pieces struck in Silver and White Metal (pewter); presented to guests and officials. Attractive and RARE.

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