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Lot
3550

1776 $1 Continental Dollar, CURENCY, Pewter MS63 PCGS. CAC....

2009 January Orlando, FL FUN Auction #1121

 
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Auction Ended On: Jan 8, 2009
Item Activity: 8 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location:

Orange County Convention Center
North/South Building
9400 Universal Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819

Description:
Lovely 1776 Newman 1-C Continental Dollar, MS63
1776 $1 Continental Dollar, CURENCY, Pewter MS63 PCGS. CAC. Newman 1-C, Breen-1089, R.3. Although there has been some debate about the actual denomination that was originally intended, the existence of a small number of pieces in silver seem to confirm that they are indeed dollar coins, rather than cents or any other denomination. Dave Bowers considers the pewter pieces to be a type of fiat (non-intrinsic) currency, much like the paper money of that era, and he believes that they probably did circulate in place of the dollar Continental notes. Few or no contemporary accounts of the Continental coinage have been located for additional clues.
One variety is known with EG FECIT on the obverse, and EG is thought to be a reference to Elisha Gallaudet. Eric Newman was the first to identify Gallaudet as the likely engraver in 1967, when he noted that a similar design on Continental Currency notes of February 17, 1776, that were engraved by Gallaudet.
The following commentary appears on the American History website of the Smithsonian Institution (americanhistory.si.edu): "Elisha Gallaudet, a New York engraver, was the person responsible for translating Franklin's concepts into metal. It is thought that he struck the coins at a makeshift private mint in Freehold, New Jersey. Earlier issues of Continental currency had included a bill worth a dollar. This practice was suspended in the spring of 1776, apparently because the Congress intended for a new, one-dollar coin to take its place." Others suggest that the first pieces were made in New York, with later examples coined in Philadelphia after the New York workshop was threatened by British takeover.
More about Gallaudet appeared in the Catalogue of an Exhibition of Early American Engraving Upon Copper, published in 1908 by the Grolier Club. "Born and died in New York State. He was born of Huguenot parents in New Rochelle, N.Y., and was in business as an engraver in New York in 1759. His chief work was book-plate engraving."
This intermediate die state has an internal die break joining the tops of GI in FUGIO. A few additional obverse die cracks are evident, but less advanced than those of the latest die state. An outstanding Mint State piece, this example has attractive slate-gray surfaces that retain substantial bright gray luster on both sides. The surfaces exhibit the usual quota of trivial surface marks that are so common to these old coins. Even the most careful handling over the last 233 years will fail to prevent a few blemishes. We have handled nearly two dozen Mint State Continental dollars over the past 15 years, suggesting that pieces are available on a frequent basis, yet examples with the excellent eye appeal of this piece seldom appear in the numismatic marketplace. Listed on page 81 of the 2009 Guide Book.
From The James Mossman Collection.

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