Old Things, New Interest

Perhaps you, like your humble storyteller, have made a resolution to declutter at home.  Perhaps you, like the ladies and gentlemen described in the January 1913 editions of the Skidmore New Era, have found some treasures.  We recount their stories so you can join in the discussion.  Can you top them?

From the January 2, 1913 Skidmore New Era (Skidmore, Missouri), page 8:

Half Dollar Eighty-four Years Old.

“Leechburg, Pa., Dec. 19 — A half dollar in a perfect state of preservation bearing the date of 1828 and the words ‘fifty cents’ instead of ‘half dollar’ on the reverse side, is in the possession of R. T. Frank.  Considerable interest is manifested in the coin, which is said to be the oldest half dollar in Pennsylvania.  Several men have procured 1853 half dollars, which they say are quite valuable and one man has an 1840 half dollar.”

We can beat that “all hollow.”  J. V. Parrish of Skidmore has in his possession a half dollar coined in 1819, or nine years before the Pennsylvania coin was stamped.

It seems as though the Skidmore coin is of the same design as the one mentioned above.  It has the words “50 C” stamped on one side, instead of the words, “half dollar.”  The “Goddess of Liberty” is the old-fashioned bust design with Liberty cap surrounded by thirteen stars.  Instead of the milled edge, like the silver coins of today, the words “fifty cents” are stamped on the edge.

Mr. Parrish has carried this silver piece for thirty-four years.  He received it for work while running a blacksmith shop on the river where the Nash Mill stood.  This was two years before Skidmore was laid out.

Some one-upmanship from the January 9, 1913 Skidmore New Era, page 4:

Got Him Skinned.

W. S. Linville says that he has Uncle Joe Parrish “skinned” on his “old half dollar.”  He has one which he says will make his coin look like “thirty cents” when it comes to date of issue.

The Linville coin seems to be of the same die as the Parrish half dollar, but bears the date of 1808, or eleven years older than the one owned by Mr. Parrish.  Billie says if Uncle Joe has any more rare coins about his old clothes, just trot ’em out, for he has some others that he is saving for him.

The coin has been in the Linville family for over thirty years and was given by W. R. Linville to his grandmother over thirty years ago, who gave it to her grandson, W. S. Linville, a short time before she died.  The date of the coin, 1808, one hundred and five years ago, is the birth year of Grandma Linville and she kept it as a souvenir on that account.

Others entered the fray.  From the January 16, 1913 Skidmore New Era, page 1:

Another Ancient Coin.

Mrs. J. H. McGrath of Graham has a half dollar, which she has had in her possession for over thirty years.  This coin is of the same die as the others but was coined in 1812, or is 101 years old.

We’re not done, yet, as we see in this item from the January 16, 1913 edition of the Skidmore New Era, page 4:

Oldest Dollar in County — Probably.

All you old coin fellows will now have to come again.  H. W. Montgomery of Skidmore has dug up one that has past the century mark by fifteen years.  It is a United States silver dollar and bears the stamp of 1798, or dropped from the mint in the second year of the Senior Adams’ administration.  If that old dollar could talk what a wonderful story it could tell.  It has lived through the greatest century of progress the world ever knew.  It has seen a young struggling Republic rise from thirteen weak, feeble colonies to forty-eight mighty, strong empires, which together form the greatest country on the face of the earth.  When the “eagle” on this “dollar of our daddies” was first squeezed by its proud owner and possessor, who were as reluctant to part with them as their sons are with their wealth now, we had no telephones, telegraphs and great railway lines traversing this grand continent.  Travel and communication then was by the slow process of the old stage coach.  But what a transmogrification has taken place since then.  Behold the chrysalis is now a beautiful butterfly.

This dollar was given to Mr. Montgomery by his father when he was ten years old, and he prizes it very highly not only as a souvenir, but as a keepsake.  All these years he has consciously realized that he has never been entirely “broke.”

Mr. Montgomery also has a Spanish coin, which is over 120 years old.  This silver piece was ploughed up several years ago in this township and was probably lost on an old Indian trail when this part of the country belonged to the Red men of America.

It wasn’t just about coins.  Our favorite, from the January 16, 1913 edition, page 4:

Older Than the Lincoln Badge.

Tom Parson says that he has Uncle Joe Parrish’s Lincoln badge bested by fifteen years.  Mr. Parson brought into the office this week a campaign badge bearing the names, “Jas. K. Polk, for Pres., and Geo. M. Dallas, for Vice Pres.”  This old badge is a fine old wood cut engraving, and has on it the Lone Star of Texas, the American eagle with a long streamer in its bill and on the streamer are the words, “Union, Harmony and Independence.”  It also has a scroll on which is printed the Declaration of Independence, underneath it, supported by two great flags, is the face of the author of that mortal document, Thomas Jefferson.

We don’t know what these people will turn out next.  We would not be much surprised for some of our readers to bring in the original stones containing the Ten Commandments.



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