National Numismatic Collection
The National Numismatic Collection is comprised of approximately 1.6 million objects and is thought to be the largest money collection in the world. Its diverse holdings represent every inhabited continent and span more than three millennia.
The collection has grown from a few thousand objects in the mid-19th century to its present size through donations from public institutions and private collections.
The National Numismatic Collection is unrivaled in its holdings of American material. It is the U.S. monetary system's collection of record and includes the extraordinary collections of the U.S. Mint, Treasury, and Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
A small portion of the National Numismatic Collection is available here. The National Numismatic Collection is currently working to develop digitization initiatives in order to make the collection more accessible to the public.
"National Numismatic Collection - Introduction" showing 1 items.
- Theodore Roosevelt met sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in the 1890s, when T.R. was an aspiring young politician, and Saint-Gaudens was establishing a reputation as a brilliant artist. When Roosevelt was elected President in 1904 and needed an inaugural medal, he gave the commission to Saint-Gaudens after rejecting the standard, unmemorable medal typically produced for this occasion by the United States Mint.
- Saint-Gaudens's results shattered precedent. The piece was modern in all senses of the word. There was no attempt to beautify or romanticize the President's head on the obverse, yet the image clearly conveyed vision and power. The reverse was, if anything, even more groundbreaking. The magnificent, left-facing eagle epitomized authority and presence, while displaying a classical ancient style. (The same eagle is used on the Saint-Gaudens $10 in 1907). This bird unquestionably ruled all it surveyed.
- Saint-Gaudens's success with this medal convinced Roosevelt that the artist was the partner he needed to collaborate on a pet project: the redesign of America's money. Saint-Gaudens signed on, and the plotting began. But the potential for trouble hovered on the horizon: this medal had been struck, not by the United States Mint in Philadelphia, but by Tiffany & Company in New York. If the Mint hadn't produced Saint-Gaudens's medal, would it agree to produce any of his coins?
- date made
- associated date
- associated person
- Roosevelt, Theodore
- Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
- Weinman, Adolph A.
- Tiffany & Company
- Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center