Featured The story of George E. Dixon and his good luck coin

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by BlackBeard_Thatch, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. BlackBeard_Thatch

    BlackBeard_Thatch Captain of the Queen Anne's Revenge

    George E. Dixon was a first lieutenant in the Confederate Army but his early life is unknown and the only census in 1860 listed him at the age of 23. George's profession was steamboat engineer and he resided in New Orleans, Louisiana before moving to Mobile, Alabama for reasons unknown. During Georges time in Alabama he joined a militia company called The Washington Light Infantry of Mobile and in the fall of 1861 the militia became part of the Confederate Army. During the early months of 1862 Georges regiment, The 21st Alabama Infantry Regiment moved towards Corinth, Mississippi to participate in the Battle of Shioh and during this battle George would be shot in the left leg but the bullet did not penetrate him being saved by his $20 gold coin given to him by his lover.

    George E. Dixon, at the age of 27 was selected to command the newly commissioned H. L. Hunley on it's first attack on a Union Navy ship. During this first attack the Hunley got with 20 feet of the USS Housatonic in the Charleston Harbor. The USS Housatonic was stationed at the Charleston Harbor in Charleston, South Carolina as a blockade against the Confederate Army making it harder for the Confederacy to get supplies into South Carolina. The Hunley was able to embed a torpedo into the Housatoic's hull and reversed away before it exploded. The Housatoic was destroyed and unknowingly to the Union, The Hunley sunk due to the shock wave that explosion caused and all 8 crew members to die instantly.

    In 1995 the submarine was found and in 2000 it was risen from its underwater grave(pictured on the deck on the ship, notice that its constantly being kept wet).
    [​IMG]
    During the conservation process in 2004 the submarine had to be hand watered down every 20 mins to prevent it from crumbling and breaking apart. During the early year of 2005 with all the incrustation removed from the submarine they were able to finally look side and remove artifacts and this is when it was discovered that George was in the submarine when it sank, Maria Jacobsen during a look around inside found Georges coin(pictured)
    [​IMG]

    The $20 Gold Coin was found to be a 1860 with inscription on the back reading
    "Shiloh
    April 6, 1862
    My life Preserver
    G. E. D."
    referencing the day which the coin saved his life.


    here is the full coin
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As of November 2017 The Hunley on display at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston, South Carolina undergoing sodium hydroxide bathing to preserve the submarine (pictured).
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
    dwhiz, 352sdeer, Hommer and 41 others like this.
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  3. H8_modern

    H8_modern Attracted to small round-ish art

    Great story, thanks for posting it.
     
  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That's fascinating!
     
    Curtisimo and BlackBeard_Thatch like this.
  5. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    Brave man, and a good read Edward Teach.......:)
     
    BlackBeard_Thatch likes this.
  6. Youngcoin

    Youngcoin Everything Collector

    Wow! That's amazing! I would love to see that one day.


    Thanks,
    Jacob
     
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  7. Theodosius

    Theodosius Unrepentant Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    Coins will save your life!

    But they will kill your bank balance.

    :)
     
  8. BlackBeard_Thatch

    BlackBeard_Thatch Captain of the Queen Anne's Revenge

    Thanks guys, forgot to mention that the coin is on display at the Warren Lasch Conversation Center and with other artifacts found inside the submarine including George E. Dixon's gold pocket watch.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    I had forgotten about that, thanks for posting.
     
    Mikey Zee and BlackBeard_Thatch like this.
  10. NLL

    NLL Well-Known Member

    Was there any skeletal remains found in the submarine? Also good write up @BlackBeard_Thatch !
     
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  11. BlackBeard_Thatch

    BlackBeard_Thatch Captain of the Queen Anne's Revenge

    Yes every man in the submarine was removed and given full military honor burials and they also found a tooth in concretion where crew member Frank Collins would have sat. The bodies were 3D scanned to document how they were found before removal, these bodies were under inches of concretion which had to be carefully chipped away.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Greg Ellison

    Greg Ellison New Member

    I do not believe the coin is authentic to the story of George E. Dixon. The main giveaway is that the word Liberty is all but worn off. How could this have happened in four short years of use?
     
  13. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    It has complete archaeological provenance. There is video of the exact moment it was discovered. From what was in effect a sealed time capsule. And the story was well known before the discovery.

    Also, do not forget that it was misshapen by the bullet and carried as a pocket piece, causing atypical wear. Gold is a soft metal and double-eagles were big, heavy coins. And the style of the engraved inscription is totally consistent with the period.

    It is completely legitimate.
     
  14. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    You beat me to it on this, and your photos are much better than what I could get at the museum. The gift shop does sell a nice reproduction of this coin for $10.
    I was thinking about doing an exhibit about the Hunley story at this year’s summer FUN show, but I couldn’t get all the piece parts to fit like I wanted them.
     
  15. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Fascinating. I heard that story a long time ago. Thank you for the information and the reminder of the rich history.
     
  16. Harry Brown

    Harry Brown Member

    Bringing closure to the story in such a fascinating way... the photos and the background are almost unbelievable. Thanks so much for posting this.
     
  17. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    When that double eagle was discovered, I made a trip to North Charleston to view it. To this old simple collector anyway, that double eagle is the coolest coin on the planet.
     
  18. Michael K

    Michael K Well-Known Member

    Where is the bullet mark on the coin?
     
  19. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Here a model of The Hunley that is available at the gift shop. This one is too big to get into an exhibit case, which was my bad. They are smaller one I should have bought.

    Hunley Model.jpg

    And here is they copy of the Dixon $20 gold that they offer.

    1860 $20 Replica R.jpg 1861 $20 Replica O.jpg

    And I did go out an buy an 1860 $20 gold for the exhibit. Maybe someday I'll put it together, but not this year.

    1860 $20 gold O.jpg 1860 $20  gold R.jpg
     
  20. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    It's in the center of the obverse, and it's only the concave dent. Civil War bullets were low velocity projectiles. The force from the bullet was strong enough to bend the coin but not enough to piece it.
     
  21. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    I don't know about THE coolest - one of our members (@AncientJoe) has one that I think is just as cool, and also related to a historical tragedy - but yes, that is one of the most historically significant single coins out there, and I think I'd pick it for my favorite US coin relic. I'd rather have that than an 1804 dollar, I think.

    Cool how you bought an 1860 double-eagle for your display.

    I really want to go to Charleston to see the Hunley exhibits. Last time I was there for any length of time, the vessel had not yet been raised.
     
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