Featured The 1837 Feuchtwanger Cent

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Seattlite86, Jun 3, 2023.

  1. Seattlite86

    Seattlite86 Outspoken Member

    In 1837, Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger proposed a cheaper alternative to the copper Large Cent. The “Feuchtwanger Cent” was made of a metal alloy he called the “Feuchtwanger Composition.” This would have been the first time the US Mint used a nickel-alloy for its circulation coinage. Mint Director, Robert Patterson rejected the proposition, favoring Robert Scot’s design of the Matron Head Large Cent. It’s important to note that Robert Scot also designed the Draped Bust Half Cent, Draped Bust Large Cent, Draped Bust Half Dime, Draped Bust Dime, Draped Bust Quarter, Draped Bust Half Dollar and Draped Bust Silver Dollar (see also: https://www.usacoinbook.com/encyclopedia/coin-designers/robert-scot/). Robert Scott passed away on November 1, 1823, while still serving as the Chief Engraver of the US Mint. These factors likely played a role in Patterson’s decision.

    The Feuchtwanger Cent

    Feuchtwanger PCGS.jpg
    Source: (https://images.pcgs.com/CoinFacts/44358578_230666471_2200.jpg)

    The Feuchtwanger Cent contained 60% copper, 20% nickel, and 20% zinc, also known as “German Silver” and “Nickel Silver.” Diameter: 18.5mm, Weight: 2.45 grams. Note: Due to the high relief of the Eagle’s body, it is common to see strike weakness in the center of the coin.

    The Matron Head Large Cent

    (source: https://www.usacoinbook.com/us-coins/1837-plain-cord-small-letters-coronet-head-large-cent.jpg)

    Composition: 100% Copper. Diameter: 27.5mm, Weight: 10.89 grams.

    Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger

    Lewis Feuchtwanger was born in Furth, Germany on January 11, 1805. He earned his doctorate at the University of Jena. He emigrated to the United States and settled in New York City. In 1829, he opened a German pharmacy at 2 Courtland Street, NYC. Dr. Feuchtwanger was prominent in the fields of minerology, metallurgy, and chemistry. He published popular works such as the Treatise on Gems in 1838, the Elements of Mineralogy in 1839, and the Treatise on Fermented Liquors in 1858. He was an avid collector of minerals and even had part of his collection exhibited at the 1851 World Fair in London.

    Though the Feuchtwanger Cent was not accepted as the replacement for the Large Cent, it still found its way into circulation. In 1836, a severe infestation of the Hessian Fly in the United States caused a significant decrease in wheat availability, driving up the price. The Panic of 1837 exacerbated this issue and set off a depression that lasted until the mid-1840s. This period is known as the “Hard Times” in the US. In times of economic uncertainty, banks and citizens tend to hoard money and precious metals. The lack of coinage opened the door for others to introduce coins of their own. The coins/tokens produced in this period are known as Hard Times Tokens (further info here: http://hardtimestokens.com/). The Feuchtwanger Cent was distributed from his pharmacy, and circulated just like the Hard Times Tokens. Below is an advertisement to convince folks to adopt the cent.

    I recently purchased a Feuchtwanger Cent and wanted to know more about it. I very much enjoyed learning the history of the cent and the man who created it. For those who wish to learn more about the cent and/or identify which variety they have, please take a look at the following link: https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/7628/FeuchtwangerOneCent/. Here are photos of the cent I purchased.

    Feuchtwanger Slab.jpg

    Feuchtwanger Close-up.jpg
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  3. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 U.S Casual Collector / Error Collector

    Does it say how many were minted?
    NOS and Seattlite86 like this.
  4. Seattlite86

    Seattlite86 Outspoken Member

    Yes, check the final NGC link in there. It gives rarity approximations, and thus approximate mintages.
    Mr.Q and SensibleSal66 like this.
  5. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . .

    IMG_3369.JPG IMG_3370.JPG

    Fairly common, variety 6-I.

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2023
    NOS, Eric the Red, MIGuy and 8 others like this.
  6. Cheech9712

    Cheech9712 Every thing is a guess

    Learn something new every day. Thanks
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  7. TheNickelGuy

    TheNickelGuy Yippie I Oh

    Nice write up!

    My 1837 Feuchtwanger's One Cent HT268
    Obverse 6 reverse G

    Learning that, I was pleasantly surprised that this was probably in a higher grade than I expected.

    I then found out there are numerous die pairs and I do think I have mine attributed correctly. I wanted one for many years. finally a year or two ago I broke down and bought one. One of my favorites in my collection that I'll most likely own for life.
    NOS, Eric the Red, MIGuy and 6 others like this.
  8. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

  9. Seattlite86

    Seattlite86 Outspoken Member

    That filled O in composition is intriguing. Have you matched your die pairings?
  10. Publius2

    Publius2 Well-Known Member

    Very nice research and write-up. I also looked for a FC for some time and finally got this one. It is what I chose as my Hard Times Token for my US Type Set.

    1837 Feuchtwanger Cent Obv-tile.jpg
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  11. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    Never thought about it......I Was just happy to have one. :)
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  12. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . .

    Anyone have a Feuchtwanger 3 Cent?

  13. mrweaseluv

    mrweaseluv Supporter! Supporter

    Mine's a lil abused but might actualy have a new one soon :D
    1837.jpg 1837r.jpg
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  14. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter**

    That is one of the best write-ups I have ever read on the Feuchtwanger cents - lots of historical context that I appreciate.

    A nice example you got yourself, Brandon. Have you attributed it? (sorry, being a early copper collector I like to attribute all cents I see).

    Here is my example which I bought many years ago - it was part of a large lot of US coins I found at an antique show in Belgium around 1986. It turned out to be a variety 3-D, quite a rare one. Feuchtwanger cent 1837, Variety HT-268, 3-D, Rarity 7 - OBV:REV  VGP.png
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  15. Seattlite86

    Seattlite86 Outspoken Member

    Thank you Eduard! I really enjoyed researching and writing it. I did forget to mention he struck a 3-cent as well. Doubtful I’ll ever own one, but you never know. Your coin is very nice! It definitely matches the 3-D, which is a very rare variety indeed, at R8. :)

    Mine is a 5-G, which is an R2. I’ve realized that NGC actually attributes their coins on the slab. When I purchased this, I didn’t know there were different varieties. Of course, I’ve scoured every Feuchtwanger I could on eBay and didn’t find any super rare ones. Maybe someday!
    NOS, MIGuy, Eduard and 2 others like this.
  16. LakeEffect

    LakeEffect Average Circulated Supporter

    Nice writeup, thank you. It's a bucket list item for me.
    Seattlite86 likes this.
  17. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    Very interesting I enjoyed the history of the coin, thanks @Seattlite86
    Seattlite86 likes this.
  18. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Well-Known Member

    This is why I continue to love Coin Talk. This information would have been lost to me without your post, so thank you very much for helping to educate me.
    Seattlite86 likes this.
  19. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder Supporter

    Great writeup! Thanks for taking the time to post that. Had to laugh at the good Dr's promoting his coins contrasting them with the "dirty and unhealthy" copper cents.
    CircCam and Seattlite86 like this.
  20. MIGuy

    MIGuy Supporter! Supporter

    Here's my 3 cent (the more common NY variety, but uncommon nonetheless) which I was able to afford because it's body bagged by NGC for altered surfaces (it was still pricey for me!) and my PCGS graded XF45 1 cent (I don't know what variety). I think these are neat! I love the eagle depiction and I think the figures on the 3 cent look like space aliens, lol.

    Feuchtwangers1.jpg Feuchtwangers2.jpg
  21. Publius2

    Publius2 Well-Known Member

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