The Rushing Through Panama Project
A Numismatic and Philatelic Study of the American Gold Rush

Dear Readers,

I am very excited to announce the “Rushing Through Panama” Project (known as the “RTP Project”), which is a new study of the events shortly before, during, and after the American Gold Rush, from JET Numismatics and JET Philatelics. Every angle of this fascinating migration of people to California in the mid 19th century will be discussed. Through the study of coins, currency, stamps and postal history used by travelers, settlers and others, the goal of this project is to learn more about this period of history in a way that is informative, thorough, and profoundly interesting.

William Jones Topping, Gold Rush traveler

This new project is inspired by two prior works: My September 2018 JET Numismatics article and my August 2020 presentation with the American Numismatic Association, both of which share “Rushing Through Panama” in their respective titles. The name, “Rushing Through Panama” has two creative meanings: The word “Rushing” is representative of the American Gold Rush, while also emphasizing the need for travelers to move quickly (“Rushing”) through the terrain of Panama to get to their destination: the Panamanian coast on the Pacific side.

The project will be split between my two websites based on topic: coins, currency and the use of money will be discussed in written articles and podcast episodes on, while philately and postal history will be discussed in three distinct formats on, which includes written articles, podcast episodes, and videos on the YouTube channel. The span of the project will be from the years 1840 to 1855.

Besides the 2018 article and 2020 presentation, new content will begin on both websites starting Sunday January 24, 2021. The first JET Numismatics post for this project will discuss the Seated Liberty series coins in further detail, as they were briefly mentioned in my 2018 article. For JET Philatelics, the first post will be a closer look at letters sent from Gold Rush traveler William Jones Topping during his journey from Sag Harbor, NY through Panama.

Letter sent from W.J. Topping, 15 December 1849 in Panama

This project will become a strong focus in terms of upcoming content for JET Numismatics, although other content such as JET Reviews, opinion pieces and podcast episodes will continue. For JET Philatelics, this will not replace the regularly planned content for the launch of the YouTube channel.

I look forward to learning more about the American Gold Rush with all of you, and how it relates to the equally fascinating worlds of numismatics and philately.


Jack Topping

Editor, JET Numismatics & JET Philatelics