A 1793
Washington Portrait Cent

GWI 29-A MASTERS copy 2

* 1793 Washington Portait Cent *

~ Celebrating George Washington’s 2nd Administration as President ~

1793 Portrait Cent size 30mm Metal: Lead or Pewter. This is what i call a “Street Made” George Washington inaugural button. This crude button does date to the time period of George Washington’s 2nd Administration. In this Post-Conial Era, the common man was mostly without means. Metal coins were valued over state issued paper currency. Copper coins and other kinds of white metal was used as a kind of barter underground- currency that was wide spread and common place. (This is a time when people shaved the sides off of coins for the flakes). So, one can conclude that George Washington inaugural Metal buttons were a commodity in a way, and could be bartered and valued as a currency among a segment of the population.

     Diggers have come across these types of “homemade specimens”, but never placed a value on them. I think this is an oversight of some historical importance into the common man of the time and his overwhelming patriotism. There appears to be a good amount of specimens found in different parts of the country, and is not inclusive to one city or state. So, one can reasonably conclude the idea was wide spread. Authenticity to the time period can be supported by the obverse’s date. 

     This is the only George Washington inaugural button that was “not engraved in a steel die.” This was geared for a very small segment of the population that was poor, but had the patriotic sentiment of  their countrymen. Most were even probably made by husbands and wives. So I call it like it is, “This is a poor mans GW button to show that he also had as much patriotism and pride as the well to do gentlemen.” This was a segment of the population that even couldn’t afford a copper example, but their patriotism and loyalty, and love for George Washington was to overwhelming for them not to share in the celebration of the dream. This is an easy method for a person to do himself even in those times.

     First a person would obtain a thin sheet of copper or white metal from a Coppersmith or Blacksmith. He would use this to wrap a common 1793 Penny. This would make a shell. Then you mold the cent and form fit it. Hammer out the pattern to make clear pattern and a crude style mold. After the cent was removed, liquid pewter or lead was poured in. For the shank, they would twist a copper wire in a loop and and insert it to the back as the metal cooled.

     This was a cleaver idea, if you think about it, it allowed a poor person to use the same high quality guild Masons engraved works without paying the high price of a copper or brass button. Gold and silver celebratory pieces way out of their poverty level incomes. This type of button also supports my conclusion that everyone in America wore or obtained by any means George Washington Inaugural buttons. ~ Even a Poor man can hold-up high a George Washington button pinned to his chest. ~ Real American Patriotism at our New Countries  roots.





1793 Washington Portrait Cent

Color: Slate Gray.
Metal: Thick Flat, 1-Piece, Molded Lead.
Size: 30.92mm.
Rarity: R-2
Variety Type: 1793 Dated /George Washington Portrait.
Present Condition: An Excavated Specimen, Fair Planchet Condition, Fair Impressions Remain.
Obverse Button Analysis:  There Appears to be a lot of buttons made with this crude way. This poor mans button is the only Inaugural button that was not engraved in a steel die or mass produced for sale. This was made for a very small segment of the population that still had the sentiment of country patriotism.
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a wire shank that was inserted in the mold. The shank is missing. 

Library Records Has Limited Information WI 29 A-1:
History:        Yes               Recorded Sales Price:      Yes
Current Button Owner and Location:      ~ Oklahoma ~

* This button was found at the bottom of a box with other family heirlooms from an old Alabama family.

The C.G. Collection.
Previously the Isabela Collection.~


*Several conversations with Diggers revealed to me that several of these were found over the years without knowing what they actually were. They simply through them in their bags and brought them home. Unfortunately, I cannot quantify a number of known, or an original population, but since several people have claimed to have dug them I am placing an R-2 until further evidence. -Robert J. Silverstein