Smithson Bequest Transferred to Richard Rush

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The James Smithson bequest, having been awarded to the United States by the English Court of Chancery, is transferred to the U.S. agent Richard Rush. Rush sells the bonds and securities from Smithson's estate, converts them into gold sovereigns, and, on July 17, departs for the United States.


  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Great Britain Court of Chancery
  • National Museum of American History (U.S.) (NMAH)
  • National Numismatic Collection
  • United States Mint


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • At the United States Mint in Philadelphia, the gold is recoined into American money, amounting to $508,318.46. Two English sovereigns of this era are now held by the National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History.
  • Goode, George Brown, ed. The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, The History of Its First Half Century. Washington, D.C.: De Vinne Press, 1897, pp. 30, 833.
  • Rhees, William Jones. The Smithsonian Institution: Documents Relative to Its Origin and History: 1835-1899, Vol. 1, 1835-1887. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1901, pp. 59-61.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1879, p. 172.
  • Oehser, Paul H. The Smithsonian Institution. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, p. 17.
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7000, Box 3, Folder 3.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


June 5, 1838


  • Smithson Bequest
  • Finance
  • Actions and defenses
  • Bequest
  • National Collections

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