Saturday, April 26, 2014

"Nephite" Coinage in 1860 Colorado

I owe the following to Sandra Tanner, who turned my attention to the following brief but interesting piece originally published as "An Old Nephite Coin", The Deseret News 10/41 (12 December 1860): 321.  (As is not unusual, "interesting" in mid-nineteenth-century Utah has something to do with William W. Phelps.) 

Hon. George Peacock, of Manti, has exhibited in our office an old copper coin, recently found by some explorer or hunter on the Colorado river, on both sides of which are hieroglyphics or characters and Hebrew coin letters.  Not being one of the "learned," we submitted it to Professor Phelps, who has given us the following as a literal translation of the characters:
The King, Hagagadonihah, over the kingdom of the sea west, sends to all greeting: one senine.
On the other side - 
In the 95th year of the Kingdom of Christ, 9th year of my reign: Peace and life.
Mottoes: "Weapon to weapon:
               Life for life."

The coin is 1765 years old; and is evidently a Nephite Senine or farthing, as mentioned in the fifth chapter of second Nephi, in the Book of Mormon - English edition, page 517.  It is about the size of an English farthing.  The numerals are plain Arabic figures.

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