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Boxed Coin Scale and Weight Set

1750-1784
Origin: England and America, Philadelphia
Box: OL: 8 1/8” OD: 4” OH: 1 3/8” Balance OL: 7 1/4” OH: 3 1/8” Pans: Diameter: 2 ¼” 9 dwt weight OL: 1.3 cm OW: 1.2 cm 6 dwt weight OL: 1 cm OW: 1 cm 4 dwt weight OL: 0.9 cm OW: 0.8 cm 3 dwt weight OL: 0.8 cm OW: 0.7 cm 2 dwt weight OL: 0.4 cm OW: 0.6 cm 1 dwt weight OL: 0.3 cm OW: 0.4 cm
Wood, iron/steel, brass, cloth, string, and paper
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2014-19,A-H
Imported boxed set of gold and silver scales including an iron/steel balance (B) supporting two string-hung brass pans with light circular chasing and brass weights (C-H) marked in terms of pennyweights (dwt). The wooden box (A) is closed by an iron s-shaped clasp with grips. The interior of the box is partitioned and lined with green felt. A printed table for calculating the weight and value of foreign coins “as they pass in Pennsylvania” is pasted to the underside of the lid. Weights included in the set are: 9 dwt, 6 dwt, 4 dwt, 3 dwt, 2 dwt, 1 dwt.

A) Box
B) Pans & Balance
C-H) 6 Weights
Label:Before the Coinage Act of 1792, there was no uniform or regulated system of currency in the American colonies. European gold and silver coins of many differents sorts, were all accepted as legal tender, though at different values in different colonies. Consequently, coin scales and charts were used to determine the value of such coins in a particular colony.

Prominent Philadelphia silversmith, Joseph Richardson, imported this boxed coin scale set from England. The brass weights bear the stamp of the English Assay Office, a lion passant, along with their weight in pennyweights (dwt). Despite its English manufacture, pasted on the underside of the box lid is Richardson’s label detailing the most common gold and silver coins then circulating in Pennsylvania. Given its transatlantic history, this coin scale set tells the story of the increasingly independent American colonies and their role in the global economy of the eighteenth century.
Provenance:From the John J. Ford, Jr., collection. Earlier purchased from H.J. Forman, November 16, 1970.
Mark(s):Each brass weight is stamped with a lion passant