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HK 149 - Pittsburg & Mexican Tin Mining Co

The Pittsburg & Mexican Tin Mining Co appears to have been formed in 1889 by a Mr. Christopher G. Dixon, a wealthy Pittsburgh, PA area contractor/builder of Irish descent who also is credited as "the first man to produce tin in America." The company, apparently based in West Virginia but with offices in Pittsburgh, owned substantial tin deposits in mines in Durango, Mexico. The company's business model involved transporting the tin ore to their factory in McKeesport, PA, for refining and tin plate production. The tin plate production business in the late 1800s predominantly occurred in England, with overseas shipment of tin to America, but in the late 1880s, tariffs were imposed against England, and tin production in America was attempted. Their first major tin ore shipment (20 tons) to Pittsburgh occurred around August of 1891, and by early 1892, the company created a tin medal to celebrate their success (attached image from the a January 1892 issue of the Pittsburgh Dispatch newspaper and pictures of the medal). The company secretary, a Mr. George H. Thurston of Pittsburgh, sent a copy of the medal with a letter to a Mexican official in Durango that is documented in a Mexican bulletin on agriculture, mining, and industry from 1892. Several sources estimate that 18-20 medals survived to this day with a likely original production run of 25-50 medals. It is unclear who made the medals, but it was most likely a local Pittsburgh company (...I wouldn't be surprised if it was the Heeren Brothers - see Rulau R-Pit 4). The finest known HK-149 piece (NGC MS64 PL) was auctioned for $920 in the Dec 2008 Holabird-Kagin Americana Bill Weber So Called Dollars Auction. I currently own the attached Ostheimer piece. Most of the surviving medals are in the VF-AU condition range per discussions on E-Sylum.

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  • HK-149.JPG
  • HK-149-Info.jpg

Original plate coin...