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Has a Nephite coin been found?


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#1 mapman

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:44 AM

I found this in the Desret News from December 12, 1860:

An old Nephite Coin
Hon. George Peacock, of Manti, has exhibited in our office an old copper coin, recently found by some explorer or hunter on the Colorodo river, on both sides of which are heiroglyphs 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. On one side, it reads, according to the rendition:

"The King, Hagagadonihah, over the kingdom near 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.


I'm not sure what to think about this. Does anyone have any light they can shed on this?

Edited by mapman, 16 April 2011 - 10:45 AM.

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#2 LeSellers

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 11:07 AM

I found this in the Desret News from December 12, 1860:

The numerals are plain Arabic figures.


I'm not sure what to think about this. Does anyone have any light they can shed on this?

Arabic numerals (actually Hindu, they came to Europe through Arabs at the time of the Crusades, a counter-offensive, a century too late to do any good) weren't invented until the VI and aren't described in detail until the mid-IX. The modern ones we have are even later: sometime in the X—far too late to be on this assumed coin, even if there had been any connection between India and Mesoamerica.

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers, 17 April 2011 - 09:00 AM.

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#3 mapman

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 11:15 AM

Alma 11 says that senines are measures of gold, not copper.
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#4 LeSellers

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 11:32 AM

Alma 11 says that senines are measures of gold, not copper.

In ±200 years, there could have been a lot of monetary debasing of the coinage, assuming coin were even part of the scene, which is doubtful.

Copper could have been used as money, and for small values, probably was: a one cent silver coin would have been so small in USmerica even a century ago, as to have been lost nearly every time the owner put it in his pocket.

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#5 Mordecai

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 11:32 AM

I don't think the Nephites used coins. They had a system of measure, but not in coins the way we understand them.
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#6 bookofmormontruth

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 04:22 PM

I don't think the Nephites used coins. They had a system of measure, but not in coins the way we understand them.

That is correct. It was a "monetary system" based on measurements.

Now, maybe there were coins that were used. Who really knows?

Great find mapman!
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#7 blackstrap

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 08:27 PM

Sounds a bit like an old coin that was found marked 45 B.C.
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#8 thesometimesaint

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 11:14 AM

I don't believe the Nephites used coinage. What we would need is an authenticated coin for the right place in the world, and the right time frame. None to date has been found.
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#9 calmoriah

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 02:33 PM

I found this in the Desret News from December 12, 1860:



I'm not sure what to think about this. Does anyone have any light they can shed on this?


googling "Hagagadonihah" brings up a mention in the American Journal of Numismatics, but they are asking the same questions, lol.

Apparently it is cited in this article, but only an abstract and the frist page are given: http://journals.camb...ine&aid=4261424

Edited by calmoriah, 17 April 2011 - 02:34 PM.

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#10 Stargazer

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 05:06 PM

googling "Hagagadonihah" brings up a mention in the American Journal of Numismatics, but they are asking the same questions, lol.

Apparently it is cited in this article, but only an abstract and the frist page are given: http://journals.camb...ine&aid=4261424


Heh.

So, do we have this coin somewhere? Whoever "we" is? I think science is now capable of determining the source of the copper (Bingham Canyon perhaps?) and possibly the approximate time of forging.

I think this is a "nice try". Especially nice is the apparent translation. Who the heck was it that translated it? Couldn't have been Joseph Smith, he was long gone by this point, and though the seer stone may still be in the possession of the Church, the Urim and Thumim were given back, right?

My best guess is that this is a Faith-Promoting Fiction. FPF.
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#11 mapman

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 07:15 AM

The article says that "Professor Phelps" translated it. Maybe that's W.W. Phelps?
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#12 Mola Ram Suda Ram

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 07:30 AM

Until more info can be garnered I have to say that this is not very compelling. There seems to be some inconsistencies. Most of them have already been talked about. And the aspect of Arabic writing seems (to me) to be problematic.
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#13 William Schryver

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 08:15 AM

The article says that "Professor Phelps" translated it. Maybe that's W.W. Phelps?

Yes, it was W. W. Phelps. And, let me tell you, it has significance beyond the question of this alleged "Nephite" coin. More on that in the future ...
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#14 Mola Ram Suda Ram

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 09:33 AM

Yes, it was W. W. Phelps. And, let me tell you, it has significance beyond the question of this alleged "Nephite" coin. More on that in the future ...

Well, the future is here, do go on....

Edited by Mola Ram Suda Ram, 18 April 2011 - 09:36 AM.

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#15 mapman

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 07:20 AM

I've been doing some research. I found in this article a reference to an alleged Nephite coin:

An other description of the [seer] stone was given by Richard M. Robinson when he returned from a Southern States mission in 1899 and presented a strange coin he felt might be of Nephite origin to President Lorenzo Snow.


The article gives a quote from Robinson that doesn't have anything to do with the coin. They cite the document by Robinson as: "The History of A Nephite Coin,” a personal experience of Elder Richard M. Robinson of Grantsville, Utah , recorded 30 Dec. 1934, LDS Church Archives.
I found another couple citations for this document here: Robinson 1934.
Church Historian’s Office: History of a Nephite Coin, by Richard M. Robinson. [See FMC II 216] Folk Coll 4, FMC Ser. II, Vol. 12, no. 211. And also: Robinson. The History of a Nephite Coin, A Personal Experience of Elder Richard M. Robinson. From Church Historian’s Office. Folk Coll 4, FMC Ser. II, Vol. 12, no. 216.

I found this quote on an anti-Mormon site:

I did have the opportunity of taking the testimony of two persons from my home town, a man and his wife, Brother and Sister Robinson, who brought what was reported to be a Nephite coin to the offices of the First Presidency around the turn of the century. He had served in the Southern States as a missionary. He came back from the Southern States with what he believed to be a Nephite coin. His mission president, Ben E. Rich, had so identified it.
I do not know the means by which the mission president made the identification. But Brother Robinson was told that it was a Nephite coin. He was told also by his mission president to take it to the First Presidency when he returned home.

He did so. I took the testimony from him and from his wife, had it recorded and then read it to them and had them sign it. They testify that such a coin was delivered to the Church. I was also told in that interview that they were shown a bag of coins of similar nature, by members of the First Presidency. This, as I say, happened around the turn of the century, around 1890". (James R. Clark, Book of Mormon Institute, BYU, December 5,1959, p.55)


I also found this reminiscence from The Contributor:

An incident which occurred in the early history of Iron County, may be appropriately mentioned in this connection. Walker, the great Utah chief, halted a few days at Parowan while traveling northward, returning from one of his customary raids in the Colorado River country, undertaken for the purpose of procuring captive Indian children to be sold by him to any who would purchase. He obtained these child prisoners by suddenly attacking a village of some of the river tribes, killing men and women, and saving alive such children as would be marketable. The writer met him one day in Parowan, and as I was personally known to him, he stopped me, united a little sack or pouch at his bosom, and took from it two pieces of metal, one of which was nearly twice as large as the other. He held them in his hand for my inspection. In appearance they closely resembled bronze or copper, but were evidently discolored by age. From their weight there might have been a portion of gold in their composition, and I wished to scrape the surface with my knife so as to expose the true color of the metal, but this the chief would not permit, seeming to hold them in reverence. Each of them had hieroglyphics beautifully cut or stamped upon their surface. Walker asked if they were money, adding that he knew where he could get more, if they were of any value. All endeavor to learn from him the exact locality where he had found them was ineffectual, except to learn that it was near the Colorado River, and as the writer understood from him, in a cave.

The writer fully believed then, and does still, that these were veritable specimens of ancient Nephite coin, their evident age as well as their inscriptions clearly pointing to a remote past Indisputably they were made by none of the present inhabitants of America; and as the Lamanites were so inferior to the Nephites in all the arts and sciences, including metallurgy, there is nothing at all improbable in the idea that some Nephite had once possessed them as part of his earthly treasure. If, as Walker intimated, he had found them in some cave, it is easily to be believed they were taken there by some hunted Nephite who hoped in its dark recesses to escape the bloody hand of a merciless foe, but who never left the cavern alive.


Edited by mapman, 19 April 2011 - 09:05 AM.

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#16 bookofmormontruth

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 08:47 AM

I've been doing some research. I found in this article a reference to an alleged Nephite coin:



The article gives a quote from Robinson that doesn't have anything to do with the coin. They cite the document by Robinson as: "The History of A Nephite Coin,” a personal experience of Elder Richard M. Robinson of Grantsville, Utah , recorded 30 Dec. 1934, LDS Church Archives.
I found another couple citations for this document here: Robinson 1934.
Church Historian’s Office: History of a Nephite Coin, by Richard M. Robinson. [See FMC II 216] Folk Coll 4, FMC Ser. II, Vol. 12, no. 211. And also: Robinson. The History of a Nephite Coin, A Personal Experience of Elder Richard M. Robinson. From Church Historian’s Office. Folk Coll 4, FMC Ser. II, Vol. 12, no. 216.

I found on an anti-Mormon website this quote:



I also found this reminiscence from The Contributor:


Very interesting!
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#17 Commander

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 12:32 PM

This is pretty fascinating stuff. I have never, ever heard of any claims of a Nephite coin being found before. I wonder if the church has it in their vaults?
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#18 mapman

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 07:57 AM

I found this in the Journal History of the Church, 14 October 1916, on Selected Collections from the Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints vol. 2, DVD 33:

"PIONEER INCIDENTS." BY Col. J. H. Mortineau. NEPHITE MONEY."

An incident occurred to me in 1854 in Parowan, which greatly interested me then and still does so.

Walker, the great Utah chieftain-"King of the mountains" as he styled himself - camped near Parowan at his return from one of his annual raids against the Indians of the Colorado river country for plunder and the capture of Indian children to sell to whites. I knew him well and as I met him one day, he motioned to me to stop and talk. He could not speak English but both could speak the Pah-Ede (incorrectlyspelled-Pieede [sic]) sufficiently to understand each other.

From a small buckskin pouch he took two metallic balls, each having six flat faces, upon which were raised characters. One of these balls was about one inch in diameter and the other about three-fourths of an inch. He handed them to me, inquiring if they were money.

"Let me see," I said, and examined them closely. They were so greatly oxidized that I could not tell whether they were silver or some base metal, and with my knife I was about to scrape off the rust to see if they were composed of silver or of copper.

Seeing this, he snatched them from me and replaced them in his pouch.

"Where did you get them?" I asked. He said, "In a cave near the big river," (the Colorado) and said he believed they were money; also that there was more of it in the cave and if it was money, he would go and get more.

I never knew what he did with those ancient relics, but he evidently never got anymore of them.

"What were those balls of not intended for money? And how came they in that cave? To me the answer is plain.

When the Nephites were driven northward by their enemies, some rich man fled for safety to te [sic] cave, taking with him his wealth, hoping, doubtless, at some future time when danger should be passed, to again enjoy his wealth. Doubtless he was captured, killed or starved in the cave, never again able to remove or enjoy his possession. When the Nephites were driven northward they now and then obtained a victory and were able for one or more years to remain long enough in one place to raise crops sufficient for the support of such a host until again attacked and compelled to retreat farther northward. And this alternate halt and drove continued for years until the Nephites made their last stand at the hill Cumorah.

In this connection I will say that many traditions of the Pali-Edes seemed like reading from the Book of Mormon--a book to them unknown.

They tell of great wars between Indians who were white, who lived by cultivation of fields and had houses, horses and cattle like white people, whose enemies they called dark Indians, who lived entirely by hunting and by war. They said the white Indians for years prevailed against their enemies until their leader was killed with all his people.

There is one place in southern Utah which no Indian would cross in the night time for any consideration, nor by daylight if possible to avoid it--a place three or four miles in extent. They say a great battle occurred here, lasting three days, until one could walk for miles upon dead bodies without touching the ground, and that at night they can hear the wailing of the dead. There are several places in southern Utah where large, smooth-faced rocks are covered with inscriptions which the Indians say tell of these great events. I, myself, have seen those inscriptions in several places, but of course their meanings to me were unknown.

Above taken from the Deseret Evening News of Oct. 14, 1916.


Edited by mapman, 24 April 2011 - 07:59 AM.

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#19 ebeddoulos

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 11:54 PM

Posted Image

I found this in the Journal History of the Church, 14 October 1916, on Selected Collections from the Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints vol. 2, DVD 33:

From a small buckskin pouch he took two metallic balls, each having six flat faces, upon which were raised characters. One of these balls was about one inch in diameter and the other about three-fourths of an inch. He handed them to me, inquiring if they were money.

I do not mean to derail this thread but that description sounds much like D&D dice.
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#20 calmoriah

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 01:50 AM

Posted Image

I do not mean to derail this thread but that description sounds much like D&D dice.

I am so glad I am not the only geeky one on the board.
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