Lot 292: Manuscript DS, signed "Is. Newton," one page both sides, 9.25 x 14.5, August 14, 1717. Official document concerning the financing of the mint. In part: "In pursuance of a Warrant…That You Deliver and Pay of such his Ma's Treasure as remains in your charge unto Sir Isaac Newton Kn't Master and Worker of his Ma's Mint or to his Assignees the Sum of five hundred Pounds…and upon account towards defraying the charge which the Coynage of Copper Half pence and farthings at the said Mint shall require to begin and carry on the same." Signed on the front by several officials to approve the document and signed on the reverse by Newton to confirm receipt of the funds on September 4, 1717. A period docketing notation on the reverse of the second integral page also identifies Newton as the recipient. Intersecting folds with small repairs to edge separations, scattered foxing and soiling, and some show-through from writing to opposing sides, otherwise fine condition. Accompanied by an original example of the 1717 halfpence discussed in the document.
On the recommendation of his friend Charles Montagu, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Newton was appointed Warden of the Mint in 1696 and undertook the office of Master of the Mint the next year, a position he would hold for the last 30 years of his life. During the late 1690s so many copper halfpence and farthings were minted that they did not need to be produced under Queen Anne, whose reign lasted from 1701 to 1714. Responding to the inevitable shortage by the year of the present document, King George I issued a royal warrant in 1717 to introduce new copper coinage. Newton oversaw the production of the coins, which weighed the same as those previously struck but were smaller in diameter and thicker than the earlier issues; this allowed a deeper strike for finer relief. These halfpence were minted for just two years and returned to the larger size in 1719, when they were also slightly reduced in weight due to the rising cost of copper. Any autographic material from Newton is exceedingly rare, with this being an especially remarkable example given its important numismatic content.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 458
Wednesday, 12th August 2015
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