James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Joseph Sansom, 18 October 1805 (Abstract)

To Joseph Sansom, 18 October 1805 (Abstract)

§ To Joseph Sansom.1 18 October 1805, Department of State. “Mr. Madison presents his compliments to Mr. Sansom, and encloses a letter to the Director of the Mint, containing permission to use the Machinery of the Mint as desired.”2

Letterbook copy and letterbook copy of enclosure (DNA: RG 59, DL, vol. 15). Letterbook copy 1 p. For enclosure, see n. 2.

1In 1805 and 1806 Philadelphia Quaker and silhouettist Joseph Sansom (1767–1826) issued a series of commemorative medals designed by him and engraved by John Matthias Reich depicting American historical events. His medal of George Washington, available in gold at fifty dollars, or in silver at five dollars, was advertised for sale in the winter of 1805–6. John Matthias Reich (1768–1833), an engraver and diesinker at the Mint, was a German who had worked in Paris before settling in Philadelphia in 1800. His medals were exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1811 to 1814 (Philadelphia United States’ Gazette, 28 Dec. 1805; Washington Federalist, 12 Mar. 1806; Joseph Sansom and Charles Coleman Sellers, “Joseph Sansom, Philadelphia Silhouettist,” PMHB 88 [1964]: 395, 397, 401; Charles Coleman Sellers, Benjamin Franklin in Portraiture [New Haven, 1962], 362).

2The enclosure (1 p.; DNA: RG 59, DL, vol. 15) was JM to Robert Patterson, 18 Oct. 1805, stating: “Mr. Joseph Sansom of Philadelphia being desirous of using the machinery of the Mint for striking a medal of Genl. Washington, you will be pleased to indulge him with the permission, at such time and to such a degree, as may not materially interfere with the public work.”

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