Book chronicles the trials and tribulations of the U.S. Mint

1849-philadelphia-coverWhitman Publishing announces the release of 1849: The Philadelphia Mint Strikes Gold, by Michael F. Moran and Jeff Garrett. The 352-page hardcover book will be available in early March 2016 from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide, and online (including at, for $49.95. It can also be borrowed for free as a benefit of membership in the American Numismatic Association, through the Dwight N. Manley Numismatic Library.

Award-winning researcher Michael Moran (author of Striking Change: The Great Artistic Collaboration of Theodore Roosevelt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens), joined by gold-coin specialist Jeff Garrett, chronicles the trials and tribulations of the U.S. Mint in the first half of the 19th century and the tremendous impact that the 1848 discovery of gold in California had upon that institution and the nation as a whole. From early struggles for adequate facilities in Philadelphia to dramatic political debates waged in Washington, D.C., the remarkable evolution of the Mint and the country’s coins and medals has never before been explored in such detail.

“The 1848 arrival of Colonel Mason’s oyster-can full of California gold in Washington would change everything in the United States,” Moran and Garrett write. “It would fuel a rapid industrialization across the Northern states with a supporting rail system. It would leave few institutions untouched, least of all the United States Mint at Philadelphia, which would be shaken to its very foundation and only just barely survive.”

1849: The Philadelphia Mint Strikes Gold includes hundreds of full-color images, some not seen in print for generations; an engaging narrative that sheds new light and draws fresh new conclusions; rich details on the colorful personalities involved and their interactions; and an inventory of the Smithsonian’s gold holdings. Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker describes it as “a treasure for the coin collector, the gold investor, and everyone interested in the fascinating history of the United States.” Numismatic historians Richard G. Kelly and Nancy Oliver call it “a fascinating account of the trying period of the California Gold Rush and its effect on the United States. 1849: The Philadelphia Mint Strikes Gold comes with our highest recommendation. We were genuinely impressed with the depth of the research . . . written in the style of numismatic history at its best.”