Wednesday, October 26, 2011

An 1813 O-102 Capped Bust half dollar... maybe Oliver Hazard Perry held this!

These photos are of an 1813 Capped Bust half dollar in my collection, an example of the O-102 variety, which is an R4 in rarity.  Note the subtle raised bars through and below Liberty's ear.  These are clash marks, which were caused when the obverse and reverse dies banged together harshly (clashed) at one  point or more in time, probably repetitively, because someone forgot to put a silver planchet (the "blank" that becomes the coin) in between the two dies in the hand-operated screw-down coin minting press.  The bars are from where the vertical bars on the shield (in front of the eagle on the reverse) of the reverse die clashed into the obverse die. Similarly to the 1794 large cent I posted earlier, the Capped Bust half dollars from 1807 through 1836 have a "third side", which is the edge, with its incuse lettering stating the value "FIFTY CENTS OR HALF A DOLLAR".  It is not unusual for this edge lettering on capped bust half dollars to be blundered, and some of these edge lettering errors can be highly collectible in their own right. 

1813 O-102 Capped Bust half dollar obverse

1813 O-102 Capped Bust half dollar reverse


The year 1813 was of great importance in U.S. history and particularly in Northwest Ohio, due to a pivotal naval battle during the War of 1812 which occurred in western Lake Erie about 5 miles northwest of Put-in-Bay, Ohio (on South Bass Island) on September 10, 1813.   

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton had charged Daniel Dobbins with building the American fleet on Presque Isle Bay at EriePennsylvania, and 28 year-old Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry was named chief naval officer.   Timber from near present-day Erie was used to build the ships, and the ships were outfitted and armed via an overland route from the federal arsenal in Pittsburgh.  From the start of the war to the end of July 1813,  British Royal Navy ships, which since May 5, 1813 were led by Commander Robert Heriot Barclay (operating out of Amherstburg near Detroit), had maintained control of Lake Erie, and kept the American squadron under Perry confined by blockade to Presque Isle harbor.  

Barclay had then been forced by shortage of supplies to lift the blockade for two days, allowing Perry to get his ships across the sandbar at the entrance to the harbor.  Once it was fully armed and manned, Perry's superior squadron instituted a counter-blockade of Amherstburg, and supplies of food there rapidly ran short. Finally, with supplies almost exhausted, Barclay put out to seek battle with Perry.







On September 10, 1813, Perry's command met and successfully fought against a  Barclay's task force  in the Battle of Lake Erie.  At the outset of this battle Perry declared, “If a victory is to be gained, I will gain it.”  The initial  exchange of cannon volleys were quite disastrous for the Americans and the British took an early advantage. Perry's flagship, the USS Lawrence, was so severely raked with cannon fire in the encounter that the British commander, Robert Heriot Barclay, assumed that Perry would surrender it, and sent a small boat to request that the  crippled American vessel lower its flag.  Faithful to the words of his battle flag, "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP" (a paraphrase of the dying words of Captain James Lawrence, Perry's friend and the ship's namesake), Perry ordered the splintered Lawrence to fire a final salvo, then ordered his men to row him about a half-mile through heavy grape- and canister- shot cannon fire and rifle fire from British marine snipers to transfer his command to the brig USS Niagara



Oliver Hazard Perry with Don't Give Up The Ship battle flag

Battle of Lake Erie, by William Henry Powell

Once aboard, Perry ordered the Niagara's commander, Captain Jesse Elliot, to bring the other schooners into close action while he steered the Niagara toward the damaged British ships.  Breaking through the British line, the American force pounded Barclay's ships at close range with carronades (cannons optimized for short range and more massive cannonball weight) until they could offer no effective resistance and surrendered. Although he had won the battle aboard the Niagara, he received the British surrender on the deck of the devastated Lawrence to allow the British to see the terrible price his men had paid. Perry's battle report to General William Henry Harrison was famously brief: "We have met the enemy and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop."

Perry's victory was the first time in history that an entire British naval squadron had surrendered, and every captured ship was successfully returned to Presque Isle. Although the engagement was small compared to Napoleonic naval battles such as the Battle of Trafalgar, the victory had disproportionate strategic importance, opening Canada up to possible invasion, while simultaneously protecting the entire Ohio Valley. The loss of the British squadron directly led to the critical Battle of the Thames, the rout of British forces in Detroit by Harrison's army, the death of Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames, and the breakup of his Indian alliance. Along with the Battle of Plattsburgh, it was one of only two significant U.S. naval victories of the war.

The Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, a 352-foot doric column rising over Lake Erie located at Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island, was built in 1913 and is about 5 miles southeast of the battle site.  
Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial 


Friday, October 21, 2011

A story for Halloween: a blood-curdling scream near where Colonel Crawford was burned at the stake








Since Halloween is right around the corner, here's a true anecdote that I can't tie in with an early U.S. coin as I have in the last posts, but this is something I find very interesting and relevant to northwest Ohio history just a bit south of the Great Black Swamp region.

One dark night about 7 years ago, when our daughter was a little toddler, we were traveling in our minivan with my parents on U.S. 23 just north of Upper Sandusky in Wyandot County, Ohio, keeping mainly quiet as she was sound asleep after a tiring day.  We traveled northwest and crossed the Sandusky River (actually the tributary Tymochtee Creek)- knowing the area and its dark history quite well, my mind wandered a bit and I shuddered as I looked off to the east.  Immediately north of the river is a roadside rest area, and when we passed it, our peacefully sleeping daughter emitted a huge scream (which nearly scared me out of my wits as I was the driver) and wailed inconsolably for a good five minutes at least until her mommy got her calmed down.  This was before she could speak, so we have no idea what kind of disturbing nightmare shook her from her slumber.   But the thing that made the biggest impression on me was what happened just a few hundred yards to the east, back in 1782.  It was a story we learned in all of its gory detail in 7th grade Ohio history class -- and, my grandfather owned a farm that is within a mile of this historical site, so this made an impression on me as a youngster.

The site is referred to as the Colonel Crawford Burn Site, as he was tortured, tied, and burned at the stake. It is about 4 miles northwest of where Colonel William Crawford's forces were routed by Indians in 1782 at a site called "Battle Island" (not an island in the river, but rather an "island" of hardwood trees in plain within the Sandusky Valley) just slightly north of what is now the town of Upper Sandusky .    The  Ohio Historical Society's marker at the Colonel Crawford Burn Site Monument in Wyandot County reads as follows:
"Colonel William Crawford, a lifelong friend of George Washington, was born in Virginia in 1722. He was married twice, first to Ann Stewart and later to Hannah Vance. In 1755, he served with Colonel Edward Braddock in the French and Indian War. In 1767, he moved to Stewart's Crossing, Pennsylvania, near the Youghiogheny River. During the American Revolutionary War he raised a company of men, commanded the 5th and 7th Regiments, fought in battles in Long Island, Trenton, and Princeton, and built forts along the western frontier. In 1782, he led the Sandusky Campaign into the Ohio country and was subsequently captured by Delaware Indians after the battle of 'Battle Island.' On June 11, 1782, he was tortured and killed near the Tymochtee Creek near this marker. A monument dedicated to his memory is located about a quarter of a mile north of here. Counties in Ohio and Pennsylvania are named for Colonel Crawford."

"At the twilight of the American Revolutionary War, British forces hired American Indians to conduct attacks on pioneers living along the Ohio and Pennsylvania border. In response, the 13th Virginia Regiment, an over 400-man mounted unit formed by General William Irvine, was led by Colonel William Crawford to destroy the Sandusky towns of the Wyandots and Delawares. This volunteer army departed Mingo Bottom on May 25, 1782, and headed west into the Ohio country. On June 4, they met an Indian force at an area called "Battle Island," located between Carey and Upper Sandusky. The Americans held the field, but withdrew when the British reinforced the Indians with Butler's Rangers and Shawnee Indians. Crawford was ultimately captured, tortured, and killed by Delaware Indians."

Well, "tortured" is probably a bit of an understatement.  If you want the full gory details, there are several contemporary eyewitness accounts that have been published, and which are easily Googled with the search terms "torture" or "burning" of William Crawford".  I've included a sample of one of the artistic depictions (public domain), as well as one depicting the battle.  

Battle of the Sandusky at 'Battle Island'
                            

Colonel Crawford burned at the stake

Crawford became an early friend of George Washington, and in addition to surviving Braddock's Defeat during the French and Indian War, he served in Dunmore's War and was an American commander involved in numerous engagements during the Revolution. In May of 1782, he was appointed to lead an expedition against the Indians of the Sandusky Plains, an area which is now in Wyandot County, Ohio. The American forces were defeated at the Battle of Sandusky on June 4 and 5 (at Battle Island about a half mile northeast of the intersection of U.S. 30 and SR 53 just north of Upper Sandusky), by Indians and British rangers from Fort Detroit.  Separated from his men and taken captive by the Indians a short distance west of what is now Crestline Ohio,  Colonel Crawford was taken back west to the burn site just a short distance east of what is now the village of Crawford, Ohio, and tortured and burned.  By the way, I just found out on Wikipedia that the Butler's Rangers referred to in the quote from the Ohio Historical Society sign above were comprised to a large degree from British loyalist "Tories" from upstate New York. 

It may have just been a coincidence, but my daughter's disturbed slumber and harrowing scream at rattled me just a bit.  I have never since heard her awake in a "night terror" like that, nor do I wish to again.  Not that I believe in ghosts, but I wonder if there are any local accounts for the "Haunted Ohio" type books... numerous other of Crawford's men were slaughtered and tortured in the area or at the Battle Island site in retribution for the earlier Gnadenhutten massacre of innocent Moravian Christianized Indians. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tecumseh, Tenskwatawa, a solar eclipse, and an 1806 O-118A Draped Bust Half Dollar

1806 O-118A Draped Bust half dollar obverse

1806 O-118A Draped Bust half dollar reverse

This is a Draped Bust half dollar from 1806; the Overton variety O-118A, which is R3 in rarity.   There is a really cool prominent die crack on the reverse that runs from the bottom dentils at about 7 o'clock through the talon, all the way up through the O in "OF".    As a result of the reverse die beginning to break up and part of the die beginning to sink in, the reverse of the coin shows some major strike weakness on the left wing, eagle's head, etc. Another less prominent die crack arcs through the top of most of "UNITED STATES". 

1806 was a banner year for American history, with the Lewis and Clark Expedition gradually making its way back to St. Louis during the first 9 months of the year.  I'm not exactly sure what was happening in the Great Black Swamp of Ohio, but the extreme western frontier of the USA was at the edge of what is now Ohio and Indiana. This land was inhabited by the Shawnee tribe.  Ohio joined the U.S. as a brand new state in 1803 and with the exception of a few cities on the Ohio River (Cincinnati, Marietta, etc.), was largely a dense wilderness. President Jefferson had appointed William Henry Harrison (a veteran of the Battle of Fallen Timbers) as governor of the Indiana territory and the basic greed of rapid growth and expansion of the western frontiers was the strategic initiative of the day.  Campaigns were waged during the summers as militia recruits and full time soldiers would march into the Indian lands and ravage crops and towns, and settlers would illegally cross the boundaries defined by government treaties and set up households as squatters on disputed or Indian-held lands.  In retribution the Indians harassed many towns and settlers.  

At first, the Indians in western Ohio ranging through north-central Indiana were a loosely formed federation of tribes unaccustomed to prolonged warfare or a war of attrition -- as a result the settlers were gaining ground rapidly.  Eventually, however, two brothers of the Shawnee nation stepped up to lead. One was a war chief, Tecumseh, who was charismatic, well respected, intelligent, fluent in multiple languages, and a gifted warrior and hunter.  Tecumseh's younger brother, Tenskwatawa (Open Door), more commonly known as "The Prophet", according to contemporary accounts was slightly deformed, was missing an eye due to a childhood hunting accident, and was one of a rare set of triplets. As a result he never reached the hunting and warrior status of his brothers, and apparently turned to drinking.
Tenskwatawa, 'The Prophet'
 
According to one account, Tenskwatawa claimed to have an  epiphany from the Great Spirit that his drunkenness was wrong and began to preach abstinence to the others in his tribe, while building his reputation as a charismatic shaman and clairvoyant and developing a devoted following.  Moreover, he realized that in order to resist the onslaught of expanding white settlers and soldiers taking the land in Manifest Destiny, he and Tecumseh would need to forge a large confederation of tribes, which they did with a principal town on the Wabash River in Indiana territory at Tippecanoe.  

In order to discredit the brothers in the eyes of their peers, Governor Harrison wrote an open letter to the Indians gathered at Tippecanoe. In it, he put forth the challenge to the Shawnee Prophet, "If he is really a prophet, ask him to cause the Sun to stand still or the Moon to alter its course, the rivers to cease to flow or the dead to rise from their graves."   The Prophet's response was that he had consulted with the Great Spirit, who was unhappy with Harrison's request and agreed to give a sign... "Fifty days from this day there will be no cloud in the sky. Yet, when the Sun has reached its highest point, at that moment will the Great Spirit take it into her hand and hide it from us. The darkness of night will thereupon cover us and the stars will shine round about us. The birds will roost and the night creatures will awaken and stir."


At around noon on Tenskwatawa's predicted day, June 16th 1806, a total solar eclipse crossed the region, encompassing most of the lands inhabited by Tenskwatawa's followers.  In Greenville, Ohio, where Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh waited for the event, nearly a thousand Indians had gathered to see the Prophet's sign, and they were not disappointed.  It is unclear how the Prophet and/or Tecumseh knew about the eclipse (interaction with white settlers or even astronomers/scientists in the region, access to a Farmer's Almanac, astronomic knowledge amongst the Shawnees or other confederated tribes, clairvoyant abilities in Tenskwatawa), but this legend is apparently true.   More importantly in history, this event further consolidated the confederacy under Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa and foreshadowed the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, which I will feature a bit later. 



Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Turgle"-ing little mutt "Muncie"



Our dog Muncie is 10 whopping pounds of Shih-Tzu/Maltese mutt trying to prove his abilities as the Speaker of the House.  Let the canine good times roll as he tries to assert his Call of the Wild with this Stupid Pet Trick!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Making money in collecting, trading, selling early U.S. coins

I have collected coins since I was a kid and am now middle-aged, and I have done this mainly as a hobby with an eye for attractive coins and a passion for history, and with a secondary thought only toward investment potential.  However, I can tell you that hands-down, over the past 5 years, my coin collection has provided more stable appreciation and better performance than many of the mutual funds in my company's 403b selection.  Had I been able to invest 5 or 10 % of my allocation in early U.S. coins instead of the various mutual funds, I think my retirement funds would have been better off today.   

What are the keys to making money in U.S. coins?  I'd like to summarize a few of these key concepts, and will comment more about this later.  My comments do not speak for or to the gold coin market, as I do not collect them and do not have expertise in them.  These are my opinions based on my own experience with early U.S., non-gold coins:

First, be relatively focused in your collecting.  When I was a kid I collected everything and anything, from any country.  This is just not feasible when it comes time to liquidate part or all of your collection for a profit.  Choose a niche that excites you - I have decided to collect primarily Capped Bust half dollars, mainly by year but to some extent by Red Book variety, and then to a lesser extent a few type coins such as large cents, a Draped Bust half dollar, and I hope to get a Flowing Hair half dollar.  All of my coins are pre-1840, but this is just a personal preference (but I can tell you there is good demand for early U.S. "Federal period" coinage).  Buy things that you like and find intriguing and eye-appealing.

Second, buy quality coins.  You get what you pay for, generally.  Of course my wallet doesn't alway permit the finest, but in the lower grades that I can afford, I try to look for coins that are as original looking as possible (i.e., not cleaned, polished, scratched or otherwise tampered with) with nice patina, good surfaces free of scratches and corrosion... as I mentioned in the last sentence of the preceding paragraph, buy coins you find eye-appealing.  I do have some coins that have been cleaned (hard to find Bust halves that have not been cleaned or dipped at some point in their lives), but I try to limit this to very special coins, rare coins, and to those that have only been cleaned lightly.   A lot, but not all, of the coins offered raw on E-bay are suboptimal and a lot of the sellers are not forthcoming about problems such as cleaning, pitting, scratches, graffiti, or even holes in the coins.   Avoid sellers or dealers who do cannot display a photo of a coin as good as or better than the ones I have posted here on my site (I am a very amateur photographer)... if they can't at least try to make an effort to clearly display their coin, then be wary.  If you are cautious and very selective, you do not necessarily have to limit yourself to PCGS or NGC-slabbed coins, which usually are quite a bit pricier due to the cost of the professional grading service.   

Third, keep in mind that recent issues and particularly modern (post-1982) commemoratives by the U.S. mint are made in mass quantities, with few exceptions.  I got lucky with my $39 purchase of a 1999-S silver U.S. State Quarter proof set of 5 quarters, which I was able to sell for about $360 a few years later.  It seems that their value peaked somewhere around $400 and now is at a much lower level.  That particular set was one of the few exceptions.   Much rarer and more desirable coins are available in the early U.S. coins series.   I've gotten lightly burned selling off many of the U.S. Mint  proof, mint, and modern commemoratives I collected as a kid... luckily I did not put too much money into any of them.  That being said, there's nothing wrong with getting kids started in collecting with the State Quarter program, which I am doing with my daughter.  Coins are a wonderful and educational hobby to teach about history, geography, culture, and numerous other topics.

Finally, have fun and don't worry too much about your budget.  There are plenty of series, even quite historical and "old" U.S. coins, in which really nice examples can be had for less than $10.  Same goes with foreign coins, ancient coins, etc.   Assembling a nice collection can be done at whatever pace you desire.

A 1798 S-143 large cent (off center)...

1798 S-143 obverse

1798 S-143 reverse
This is one of my personal favorites in my collection.   I love the off-center (maybe 8%?) strike of this 1798 "1st hair style" large cent, which is an S-143 variety with a rarity rating of R3, and the way the dentilations on the right side of the obverse and reverse are stretched out as a result.  I like how this off-center strike shows the crudeness of the minting process back in the 1790's. I also love the 2-tone coloration of this, which the camera has captured pretty well with the exception of the reflection from the PCGS holder. The lettering of the legends are also very strong. The drawbacks are the dig behind Liberty's eye, as well as a little blue-green verdigris in several places in the legend lettering on the reverse, but these are OK for the grade of VG08 that PCGS gave it.  

I wanted to be able to really tie this date (1798) in with some contemporary Northwest Ohio history, but was only able to find an account of judge named Jacob Burnet who traveled through the Maumee River valley and wrote his recollections.  Some of Burnet's quotes are chronicled nicely by Jim Mollenkopf's excellent book "The Great Black Swamp II":

"My yearly trips to Detroit from 1796 to 1802 made it necessary to pass through some of the Indian towns and convenient to visit many of them.  Of course I had frequent opportunities of seeing thousands of them in their villages and their hunting camps and of forming an acquaintance with some of their distinguished Chiefs.  I have eaten and slept in their towns and partaken of their hospitality..."  

Outside of NW Ohio in American history, in 1798 John Adams was president, the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed by Congress, and the U.S. (and the fledgling U.S. Navy in particular) was engaged in the Quasi-War with France. 

The U.S.S. Constellation served with distinction in the Quasi-War


My 1794 S-71 large cent, contemporary with The Battle of Fallen Timbers (August 20, 1794)




1794 S-71 large cent obverse

1794 S-71 large cent reverse
Edge lettering on 1794 S-71 large cent


As a fairly low-budget early U.S. coin collector, my acquisition of a 1794 large cent was quite a thrill.  I opted for something that wasn't too beaten up or corroded, but yet I needed to find something that wouldn't break the bank and would fit my personal finances.  Since I grew up approximately 40 miles from the site of The Battle of Fallen Timbers (August 20, 1794), which is in the present-day city of Maumee, Ohio, getting a relatively affordable coin of this date had some real significance to me.  The really neat thing about these large cents is that they represent a true piece of history certainly handled by Revolutionary War veterans during their circulation; their incuse edge lettering stating "one hundred for a dollar"; their substantial diameter size, weight and heft; and the beauty of the design of Liberty on the obverse as well as the wreath on the reverse.  Once I figure out how to get photos up on this site, I will post photos of my large cent.   Mine cost me about $425 in trade value of other U.S. coins I had; no small purchase for my economics.  But lesser graded samples or samples with a few problems can be had for cheaper.  This is a S-71 variety, which is an R2 in terms of rarity, fairly common.  It has a few little problems including a little rim ding below the 4 and some pitting original to the planchet (common in copper from this era, some of which supposedly came from copper hoops around barrels of gunpowder or which sat in the soggy bottoms of ships), but has a really nice original color and patina and some interesting die clashing near the throat. 

The Battle of Fallen Timbers has been called the “last battle of the American Revolution” and one of the three most important battles in the development of the United States. The decisive victory by the Legion of the United States over a confederacy of Native American tribes opened the Northwest Territory, a huge region unceded by the native inhabitants, for westward expansion and led to the eventual establishment of 5 states and specifically Ohio’s statehood in 1803.   The summary below is pretty brief, but if you would like more details, the following links to other blogs cover The Battle of Fallen Timbers in more extensive detail:

http://franceshunter.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/the-battle-of-fallen-timbers-part-i/

http://burnpit.legion.org/2011/08/battle-fallen-timbers-american-army-defeats-indian-confederacy








"Charge of the Dragoons at Fallen Timbers" by R. T. Zogbaum, ca. 1895


The battle took place amid trees toppled by a tornado just north of the Maumee River in the present-day city of Maumee.  There is an eponymous "Fallen Timbers" shopping center directly across the street from the battle site; a nearby monument marks where earlier experts believed the battlefield to be until a relatively recent (1995) archaeological survey and work by Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio proved them wrong and uncovered the site adjacent to the shopping center:  


http://touringohio.net/history/battle-of-fallen-timbers-monument.html









Battle of Fallen Timbers Monument
Inscriptions:
(Front)
The Greenville Treaty
To General Anthony Wayne who organized the “Legion of the United States” by order of President Washington and defeated Chief Little Turtle’s warriors here at Fallen Timbers August 20, 1794. This victory led to the Treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795, which opened much of the present state of Ohio to white settlers.


(Right Side)
Indian Warfare
In memory of the white
settlers massacred 1783-1794
(Left Side)
Onward in peace
To the pioneers of Ohio
And the great northwest
(Back)
The Battle of Fallen Timbers
To Chief Little Turtle and his brave Indian warriors
 






The Legion of the United States was commanded by General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, a veteran of Valley Forge handpicked by President Washington to oversee the new nation’s first professional army. Wayne’s force, made up of 1,600 to 1,700 “regulars” and 1,500 members of the Kentucky Militia, was recruited and formed in Pittsburgh, underwent drill and combat training at Wayne's camp Legionville near present-day Baden, Pennsylvania (northeast of   Pittsburgh), then marched and quartered at Fort Washington in Cincinnati, then marched north from Cincinnati to build a series of forts between the Ohio and Maumee rivers. Among Wayne’s officers was 21-year-old General William Henry Harrison, who would win the Battle of Tippecanoe in Indiana in 1811, and ultimately become (very briefly) the ninth president of the United States.



Waiting for Wayne and his men were about 1,000 warriors representing the native confederacy and led by Miami war chief Little Turtle, an old nemesis of the United States. Other leaders of the confederacy included Shawnee Chief Blue Jacket and Delaware Chief Buckongahelas. One of the most famous leaders of the native resistance, Tecumseh, also took part in the battle.


Fewer than 100 men on each side died in the brief battle, but the Legion’s victory marked a major turning point in the battle for the western frontier. The victory led to the signing the Treaty Greenville on August 3rd, 1795. Without the treaty, portions of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin might have remained a buffer zone between Indian and settled territory, or even become part of British-controlled Canada.

My first blog post ever...

Hi everyone,

This is my first-ever blog post, and I'll be building this blog gradually to include some hopefully very rich content that will share some of my interests and things about which I am excited and passionate.  I love to write about anything under the sun that  is entertaining, funny, educational, historical, and cultural; including but not limited to family, science, nature, travel, technology, music, finding good deals, etc.  Just to name a few topics, I love early Federal U.S. coins, U.S. history (especially in the Black Swamp region of Northwest Ohio), travel in the U.S., travel in the Philippines and Philippine culture, vinyl LP records, old maps and lithography, manned space flight and all things aerospace, farming and agriculture, outdoor activities, antique tools, gasoline signs, and farm equipment, and biomedical research.  All of this and a wide variety of other subject matter will ultimately show up on this blog  - hence the "cornucopia" in the title.  I hope you'll enjoy it.  I will keep this blog family-friendly with the exception of various descriptions of battle scenes etc. that occurred in U.S. history - nothing more graphic than what was taught to me in my 7th grade Ohio history class.

Regarding early U.S. coins, I strongly feel that they are national treasures that allow us 'commoners' to literally hold history in our hand.  I will make every attempt to tie-in individual coins and their decent-quality photographs (some from my personal collection, which is mainly bust half dollars) with contemporary history of that particular date.  Moreover, they (along with coins in general) are an outstanding resource to teach kids about history as well as numismatics.  I intend to build this site as an educational resource and I hope to be able to add a forum interface for people to contribute their own coin photos and stories.  Much of the early Federal period U.S. coinage information and photos will in turn be tied in to contemporary history events that happened in Northwest Ohio from  about 1782 through the 1840's.  For example, the year 1813 was a critical turning point in many ways with Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's victory in the Battle of Lake Erie, and I will attempt to get some good coin photos posted with various maps and paintings and lithographs depicting the Battle of Lake Erie.

As alluded above, I will additionally be writing about my travels and experiences in the Philippines after 5 trips there over the last 15 years.  After 18 years of marriage to a Filipina and strong family ties there, it has been a true joy to visit, and every time I visit I feel more and more comfortable there --  and leaving to come back to the U.S. becomes much harder.


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