1776 Continental Currency 'Dollar,' MS63
1776 $1 Continental Dollar, CURENCY, Pewter MS63 PCGS. CAC.
Newman 1-B, Hodder 1-A.2, W-8435, R.8. The present remarkable
specimen is the finest of just three known examples. The others
that we can document are the AU Picker specimen and a Fine 12 PCGS
coin in the Stack's September 2006 sale, lot 113. Several
additional examples from this die combination are known in brass
composition. This is only the second time that we have offered a
Continental dollar from these dies. Our 1999 ANA sale included a
Newman 1-B, Hodder 1-A.2, Hodder Plate Coin
Finest of Three Known, Lacking in the Ford Collection
This remarkable Mint State piece has exceptional light gray luster, intermingled with darker toning. Both sides have a few expected surface marks that are entirely trivial. The strike is excellent, with remnants of the original beaded links visible on every ring. Careful examination with a glass reveals extensive recutting of reverse elements, with many letters showing doubling or even tripling. The die alignment is rotated about 20 degrees from medal turn. Michael Hodder discovered this specimen among coins consigned to Bowers and Merena for auction, just before his 1991 article on the series was prepared. It is this coin that Hodder used to illustrate that article. As the finest of just three known, its importance to colonial specialists is obvious. Perhaps most telling is that the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection lacked this variety in pewter.
Ex: Bowers and Merena (11/1990), lot 5566.
Continental Currency Coinage Dies and Varieties
More than half a century ago, Eric Newman authored the first comprehensive study of these issues and their varieties. "The 1776 Continental Currency Coinage" was published as part of Wayte Raymond's The Coin Collector's Journal series, July-August 1952. Newman originally described five obverse dies and four reverse dies, with three pewter varieties generally available to collectors, the others all extremely rare. Much has been learned since then, and new examples have become available for study, prompting professional numismatist Michael Hodder to reexamine the series in "The Continental Currency Coinage of 1776," published in 1991 as part of The American Numismatic Association Centennial Anthology. That work, combined with the same author's study of the series in the first catalog of the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection (Stack's, October 2003), provide the numismatic student with the most complete and up-to-date reference to the series available today.
Today we understand that there are actually just four obverse dies and two reverse dies; however, significant and highly collectible die states exist for the fourth obverse die and the first reverse die. Those significant die states involve reengraving or modifying the dies after they were first used, and are rightfully collected today as separate varieties, following the original Newman attribution scheme. There are also minor stages of the first obverse die, while combined with the third modification of the first reverse die, that will further enhance the appreciation and enjoyment of the series.
The basic design for all Continental Currency coinage is the same. The obverse has CONTINENTAL CURRENCY along the border, clockwise from 7 o'clock, with the date below, two rings inside the legend, the word FUGIO and the sun between those rings, and a sun dial as the central motif with MIND YOUR BUSINESS below the instrument. The reverse has 13 interlocking rings, one for each of the 13 states, with AMERICAN CONGRESS between two central rings, and WE ARE ONE inside the smaller ring. Each interlocking ring contains a state name, some abbreviated.
The obverse die designated as Obverse 1 has CURENCY misspelled; Obverse die 2 has CURRENCY spelled correctly; Obverse die 3 also has CURRENCY spelled correctly, and has the addition of EG FECIT between the central rings at 12 o'clock; Obverse die 4 has CURRENCEY misspelled; and the modified Obverse die 4 (Newman's Obverse 5) has a Y cut over the errant E to correct the spelling, and an ornament in place of the final Y. Only two reverse dies exist, and the placement of the state abbreviations on the interlocking rings will distinguish those dies. Reverse die A has the 13 states in approximate geographical order from north to south, beginning at 10:30: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Reverse die B also follows a geographical placement of the state rings beginning at 12 o'clock: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
In 1991 Hodder explained his belief, following that of Newman, that his Reverse A predated Reverse B, despite any punch links between the two. We believe that the repositioning of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire rings is proof that Newman and Hodder are correct. If a true geographical order was intended, Reverse A was actually a blundered die, and the purpose of a new reverse was to correct the previous engraving error.
Hodder identified the obverse dies as 1, 2, 3, 4, and 4.1, and the reverse dies as A.1, A.2, A.3, and B. The known die combinations exist in brass, silver, and pewter, and are recorded in a table at the end of this commentary. All observed examples of Reverse B have a heavy die crack through most or all of the interlocking rings.
Reverse A was modified twice, the modifications known to Newman as Reverse B and Reverse C. Initially the interlocking rings consisted of tiny beads. After a few were struck, a decision was made to reengrave the die, essentially connecting the dots to form solid rings. The first modification was only partially successful (Newman Reverse B), leaving evidence of the original beads in each link. The number of survivors again suggests that few were struck. Finally, the reverse was further modified (Newman Reverse C), the remnants of the beads lapped away, and the rings strengthened.
The CURENCY obverse is found in several stages during its use with the last modification of Reverse A, the combination formerly known as Newman 1-C. Early stages have a perfect obverse die, as it appeared during its earlier uses with the beaded reverse and first reverse modification. Intermediate stages have an internal cud or die break at the tops of GI in FUGIO, later intermediate states have cracks extending from both ends of the die break, left to ON of CONTINENTAL and right to NT of the same word, and the latest die states have an additional break at the base of NT.
Hodder Newman Composition Rarity Comments
1-A.1 1-A Brass Three known Bowers reversed the rarity of this and the next
1-A.2 1-B Brass Low R.7 Hodder estimates 10 to 12 known
1-A.2 1-B Pewter Three known Unknown to Newman
1-A.3 1-C Pewter Common Perhaps 400 to 500 exist
1-A.3 1-C Silver Two known Intermediate die stage
2-A.3 2-C Pewter Common Perhaps 300 to 400 exist
3-B 3-D Pewter Common Perhaps 300 to 400 exist
3-B 3-D Silver Two known
4-B 4-D Pewter Four known
4.1-B 5-D Pewter Three known
From The Collection of a Patriotic American. (NGC ID# 2AYN, PCGS# 791)
View all of [The Collection of a Patriotic American ]
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