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1652 Oak Tree Sixpence, Noe-22, MS63
Extremely Rare in Mint Condition

1652 6PENCE Oak Tree Sixpence MS63 PCGS. Noe-22, R.5. Oak Tree sixpence are scarce in any grade, but they are virtually impossible to find in Uncirculated condition. This Mint State 63 example is the finest specimen certified by PCGS (7/10). Heritage has auctioned only about two dozen Oak Tree sixpence, most of which fall in the Fine to Extremely Fine grade range, and we have never before offered a Mint State piece. The present coin was described by Michael Hodder as "on par with Hain's best and nicer than almost every other one seen." Few Oak Tree sixpences even approach the quality of this piece, and it may be years before even a dedicated collector will have the chance to purchase such an outstanding specimen.
There are six known die marriages for the Oak Tree sixpence. Noe-22 is identified by the corrected S on the obverse and the wide W, large L, and ANO on the reverse. The obverse die was first used to strike Noe-20, then recut and used to strike Noe-21. The first S in MASATHVSETS, however, was re-engraved backward, and after the die was corrected it was subsequently used to strike Noe-22. The reverse was used for Noe-20 through 22 and was later married with a Pine Tree sixpence obverse to strike Noe-32. It is likely that Noe-22 was the final variety struck in the Oak Tree sixpence series.
Massachusetts shillings appear to have been struck in far greater quantities than the lower denomination pieces based on the number of survivors and known die varieties. The Oak Tree sixpence were probably struck on an as-needed basis. Depositors would have preferred to receive shillings out of convenience. If necessary, a shilling could be cut in half to make a sixpence. Cutting coins to make change was a common practice in the Colonial period and lessened the need for small denominations. It is therefore no surprise that so few sixpence, threepence, and twopence were minted.
The Noe-22 is particularly interesting because it marks the transition from the Oak Tree type to the Pine Tree type. It is unclear what caused the Mint to change the design, but many researchers believe that the transition was gradual. However, unlike the Noe-14 Oak Tree shilling that strongly resembles a Pine Tree, the Noe-22 Oak Tree sixpence is significantly dissimilar from any Pine Tree sixpence.
This piece is a stunning Oak Tree sixpence. Medium gray patina covers both sides with charcoal accents around the devices. This coin is generally well centered on an oval-shaped planchet. It is just a bit off center from 8 to 9 o'clock on the obverse and the corresponding area of the reverse. Bright mint luster radiates from the surfaces of this carefully preserved specimen. Two small planchet depressions to the right of the VI are barely worthy of mention. The strike is exceptionally sharp. An obvious horizontal bend through the center is simply a result of the rocker press used to strike the coins.
Noe-22 is an important transitional variety and this coin is a fantastic representative. Few collectors can claim ownership of a Mint State Oak Tree sixpence, and this piece is among the choicest representatives. In our sale of many spectacular Colonial coins this specimen is one of the highlights and represents a rare opportunity for a serious collector. Listed on page 37 of the 2011 Guide Book. (NGC ID# 2ARJ, PCGS# 19)

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Auction Dates
August, 2010
11th-15th Wednesday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 1,922

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