William Kneass - Second Chief Engraver of the US Mint 1824 - 1840

Welcome Guest! Need help? Our coin forum is completely free and you can get help in minutes. Register Now!

William KneassWilliam Kneass was the second Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1824 until his death in 1840. Kneass is credited with designing the "Classic Head" motif, which appeared on numerous denominations of American currency, including the gold quarter eagle ($2.50) and half eagle ($5.00) gold pieces from 1834 to 1839. He also modified John Reich's "Capped Bust" design for use on the half dime through half-dollar from 1829 to 1837.

Early Life and Career

William Kneass was born September 25, 1780 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He served in the War of 1812 as a volunteer associate of the field engineers, and helped construct fortifications on the western front of Philadelphia. He ran an engraving office on Fourth above Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, which was a popular meeting place for "leading wits and men of culture". Kneass also worked as an engraver of plates for book work. Although he mainly worked in line engraving, he was also known for producing aquatints. He also worked in two other engraving firms that bore his name: Kneass & Dellaker, and Young & Kneass & Co.

Chief Engraver of the US Mint

On January 29, 1824, Kneass was appointed Chief Engraver of the United States Mint. During his tenure as Chief Engraver, he oversaw production of gold coinage, and circulating coinage.

In 1830, Kneass redesigned the quarter, and in 1834, redesigned the gold coinage. He also introduced a new Liberty head on the half dollar, a design that was modified several times over the next two years. In 1835 Mint director Samuel Moore wrote of him: "Mr. Kneass, our present engraver ... is an acceptable, popular and very useful Officer, perhaps one of the most rapid in execution in the U. States. I do not know whether another could be found, whose celerity in his profession could have sufficed to furnish all the dies we have necessarily employed within the last five years."

On August 27, 1835, Kneass suffered a debilitating stroke that left him paralyzed on his right side. Once second engraver Christian Gobrecht was hired, he did most pattern and die work until Kneass died in office on August 27, 1840. Kneass was succeeded by Gobrecht as Chief Engraver on December 21 of that year.

Personal Life and Legacy

Kneass was married to Mary Turner Honeyman Kneass. One of their 6 children, Samuel Honeyman Kneass (1806–1858), was a notable civil engineer and architect, based in Philadelphia. Another, Strickland Kneass (1821–1884), was an engineer.

Kneass was remembered as "a warm gentleman of the old-school, who had the rare quality of engaging and winning the esteem and affection of children and youth"

William Kneass Related Items on eBay

eBay Certified Application

Click on any of the boxes to see much larger images.

All William Kneass related items on ebay

1866 TWO CENT PIECE FINE PLUS NICE COIN DESIGNED BY JAMES B LONGACRE
1866 TWO CENT PIECE FINE PLUS NICE COIN DESIGNED BY JAMES B LONGACRE
INDIAN HEAD PENNY DESIGNED BY JAMES LONGACRE ARTMASTER CACHET FDC 1978 UNADDR
INDIAN HEAD PENNY DESIGNED BY JAMES LONGACRE ARTMASTER CACHET FDC 1978 UNADDR
PHOTO:RICHARD HENRY LEE PETER MAVERICK JAMES B LONGACRE C1820
PHOTO:RICHARD HENRY LEE PETER MAVERICK JAMES B LONGACRE C1820
PHOTO:GEORGE CLYMER / JAMES BARTON LONGACRE ENGRAVER 1820'S
PHOTO:GEORGE CLYMER / JAMES BARTON LONGACRE ENGRAVER 1820'S
INDIAN HEAD PENNY STERLING SILVER TURQUOISE CORAL HEART WATCH JAMES LONGACRE
INDIAN HEAD PENNY STERLING SILVER TURQUOISE CORAL HEART WATCH JAMES LONGACRE
INDIAN HEAD PENNY STERLING SILVER TURQUOISE CORAL HEART WATCH JAMES LONGACRE
INDIAN HEAD PENNY STERLING SILVER TURQUOISE CORAL HEART WATCH JAMES LONGACRE
PHOTO:GEORGE CLYMER / JAMES BARTON LONGACRE ENGRAVER 1820'S 3397
PHOTO:GEORGE CLYMER / JAMES BARTON LONGACRE ENGRAVER 1820'S 3397
PHOTO:RICHARD HENRY LEE PETER MAVERICK JAMES B LONGACRE C1820 4639
PHOTO:RICHARD HENRY LEE PETER MAVERICK JAMES B LONGACRE C1820 4639
7.10 OZ SILVER MEDALLION 92 JAMES LONGACRE/GEORGE MORGAN 10318
7.10 OZ SILVER MEDALLION 92   JAMES LONGACRE/GEORGE MORGAN 10318
INDIAN HEAD PENNY DESIGNED BY JAMES LONGACRE PCS CACHET FDC 1978 UNADDR
INDIAN HEAD PENNY DESIGNED BY JAMES LONGACRE PCS CACHET FDC 1978 UNADDR
LADIES WRISTWATCH INDIAN HEAD JAMES B. LONGACRE HONK KONG RUNS ON TIME BAND SHOT
LADIES WRISTWATCH INDIAN HEAD JAMES B. LONGACRE HONK KONG RUNS ON TIME BAND SHOT
JAMES B LONGACRE "PROPOSED MOTTO" DOUBLE EAGLE NGC GEM PROOF 1 OZ GOLD .999 FINE
JAMES B LONGACRE
7TH PRESIDENT ANDREW JACKSON ENGRAVING OLD HICKORY JAMES LONGACRE SCULPTOR
7TH PRESIDENT ANDREW JACKSON ENGRAVING OLD HICKORY JAMES LONGACRE SCULPTOR
DANIEL WEBSTER 1800S ANTIQUE.DRAWN FROM LIFE AND ENGRAVED BY JAMES. B.LONGACRE
DANIEL WEBSTER 1800S ANTIQUE.DRAWN FROM LIFE AND ENGRAVED BY JAMES. B.LONGACRE
PHOTO:GEORGE CLYMER / JAMES BARTON LONGACRE ENGRAVER 1820'S 7645
PHOTO:GEORGE CLYMER / JAMES BARTON LONGACRE ENGRAVER 1820'S 7645
PHOTO:RICHARD HENRY LEE PETER MAVERICK JAMES B LONGACRE C1820 6854
PHOTO:RICHARD HENRY LEE PETER MAVERICK JAMES B LONGACRE C1820 6854
 

Disclaimer: While a tremendous amount of effort goes into ensuring the accuracy of the information contained in this site, Coin Community assumes no liability for errors. Copyright 2005 - 2020 Coin Community Family- all rights reserved worldwide. Use of any images or content on this website without prior written permission of Coin Community or the original lender is strictly prohibited.
Contact Us  |  Advertise Here  |  Privacy Policy / Terms of Use