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(1652) New England (NE) Shilling, AU55
Possibly the Finest Known

(1652) SHILNG New England Shilling AU55 NGC. Noe 1-A, W-40, Salmon 1-B, R.7. 72.0 grains. On this remarkable shilling, alignment is just shy of 180 degrees. Similar to the sixpence, it shows russet patina on lovely light-gray surfaces. Minor radial cracking of the flan is evident on both sides, with trivial surface roughness. Very slight wear appears on the high-points of the NE and XII punches, with the second I weaker than the X, or the first I.

Like the sixpence, the NE shillings had the origin and denomination stamps punched by hand on imperfectly round blanks. Three NE punches and four XII punches were combined to form six different varieties that are listed in Salmon's reference. He rates five of the varieties R.7, and one R.8. In the Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins, Bowers gives estimates ranging from URS-3 to URS-6, indicating between 44 and 76 known survivors.

Historical Observations
The silver used for the coin production was obtained locally, with a portion of the Mint Act of May 27, 1652 requesting that bullion be brought by "all persons whatsoever have liberty to bring into the mint house at Boston all bullion plate or Spanish coin." The pieces would be melted, assayed, refined, and then cast into strips by mint master John Hull in order to produce coins for the owner of the silver. The initial NE coinage was produced for only a short period, although a substantial number of coins were likely minted. The NE coins were replaced with the more elaborately designed pieces known as the Willow Tree series after the General Court issued orders to include a tree on one side of the new coins along with the word "Massachusetts," with the date and "New England" to appear on the reverse. The minimal style of the NE series, with simple designs, made them easily susceptible to clipping. Although the dates on the coins do not reflect it, except for the Oak Tree twopence, dated 1662, the Massachusetts Silver coinage was minted for approximately thirty years. Mint operations likely ceased a year or so prior to King Charles II annulling the Massachusetts Bay Colony's charter in 1694, establishing it as a royal colony.

Numismatic Commentary
An exceptional piece, the obverse of this Choice AU survivor exhibits the diagonal of N being thick, becoming thicker past the point where the right stand of the N intersects it. A die scratch extends from the middle bar of the E. The XII punch on the reverse is high, with the X being the highest and the second I being the lowest. The October 2005 Ford sale contained a single example of the Noe 1-A variety, with that piece described as "Choice Very Fine." Another outstanding collection of 180 Massachusetts silver coins, the Hain Family Collection, sold in January 2002, lacked the Noe 1-A combination. Numerous other well-known collections were absent a Noe 1-A specimen, including Roper and Norweb. This appearance provides an exceedingly rare opportunity to not only acquire a Noe 1-A example, but an extraordinary and noteworthy specimen as well.

Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. (NGC ID# 2AR9, PCGS# 13)

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Auction Dates
May, 2014
16th-17th Friday-Saturday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 1,270

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