In the last decade of the 19th century the United States was in the throes of transition. Economic depression raged. Unionism was defining its relationship both to management and to its own membership. Industrialist J.P. Morgan, labor advocate Samuel Gompers and Congressman William Jennings Bryan were familiar figures. The 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition unveiled the technical achievements of capitalism as well as America’s cultural sophistication. Piano player Scott Joplin introduced a new kind of music—ragtime. It was against this backdrop of names and events that the coinage of Charles E. Barber was introduced to the American public.
Coins are usually referred to by their design, not their designer. The Mercury dime, the Franklin half dollar, the Walking Liberty half dollar, the Lincoln cent and almost all other coins give no clues, except for initials hidden somewhere on the coin, to the designer’s identity. So when new collectors he.... (Expand Text)