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The Noe Plate (1652) III-C NE Shilling

(1652) SHILNG New England Shilling AU50 PCGS. Noe III-C, R.6. 72.07 gn. Six different combinations of the NE shillings are recorded in the literature, produced from three obverse punches and four reverse punches. Approximately 60 NE shillings are known in all grades, and from all die combinations. The original production quantity is unknown. In the Ford Collection catalog (part XII), the Stack's cataloger notes: "One family but a tight group, three obverse and four reverse punches in six marriages. The close relationship among the marriages and the lack of an extended family (out runners, singleton marriages, etc.) argues for a short-lived coinage but one of some considerable output."

The General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony gave authorization to John Hull and Robert Saunderson to produce coinage for use in the colonies. This first coinage consisted of silver pieces in denominations of threepence (III), sixpence (VI), and shillings (XII). The designs were very simple, NE on the front for New England, and the denomination on the back, each set in a cartouche. The counterstamped symbols were punched in the front and back at opposite ends to avoid flattening the marking on the other side. These undated coins were apparently produced during a brief period from June to October 1652. The very simple design promoted clipping and counterfeiting, with many pieces having considerable silver removed, often altering the shape.

Over many years, in fact about three decades, Massachusetts silver coins were minted. With a single exception (the 1662 Oak Tree twopence), every piece bore the date 1652. A number of different explanations have been presented for the beginning of this coinage, including that presented by John Hull, who was there at the time. He wrote in his diary that the Mint was established and coinage produced to combat the influx of counterfeit European coinage. Sidney P. Noe created a story that intertwined these coins with English politics, as reported in the Ford catalog. The cessation of Massachusetts silver coinage occurred in the early 1680's. Again, referring to "An Historical Introduction to the Coins of the Massachusetts Bay," published in the Ford catalog, we learn: "In June, 1683, the English king took advantage of an old royal power and he ordered the governor and company of Massachusetts Bay to prove they had the right to govern the colony. Six months later, in January 1684, a royal commission studying Massachusetts' silver coins found them to be of good silver but light weight. Finally on June 21, 1684, the royal Court of Chancery annulled the Massachusetts Bay Colony's charter and Massachusetts became a royal colony with governors appointed by the king."

This NE shilling is an exceptional piece that has a pedigree to the John Ford Collection, and the collections of George J. Bauer, T. James Clarke, and F.C.C. Boyd before that. It is a smooth, deep gray example with an exceptional, round planchet. The surfaces are smooth and pristine. Only about 20 example of the Noe III-C NE shilling are known in all grades, yet it is the single most common variety of the series. The opportunity to bid on such a piece is normally reserved for the appearance of a great collection formed over several decades.
Ex: George J. Bauer; T. James Clarke; F.C.C. Boyd; John J. Ford, Jr. (Stack's, 10/2005), lot 3.
From The Madison Collection.
(NGC ID# 2AR9, PCGS# 13)

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Auction Dates
January, 2008
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 12
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