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Choice AU55 EG FECIT Continental Currency "Dollar"

1776 $1 Continental "Dollar," CURRENCY, Pewter, EG FECIT, AU55 PCGS. Breen-1095, Crosby Pl. VIII, Newman 3-D. The obverse has a sundial motif with MIND YOUR / BUSINESS below, encircled by a ring inscribed FUGIO and EG FECIT, with CONTINENTAL CURRENCY and 1776 outside. At the center of the reverse are the words WE / ARE / ONE surrounded by a small diameter ring containing the inscription AMERICAN CONGRESS and with 13 interlocking rings around, each inscribed with a state name or abbreviation, some quite different than we might see today. The 13 states were represented as: N. HAMP,S; MASSACHS; CONNECT.T; R. ISLAND; N. YORK; N. JERSEY; PENNSILV; DELAWARE; MARYLAND; VIRGINIA; N. CAROLIN; S. CAROLIN; and GEORGIA.
The engraver of these dies was Elisha Gallaudet, a New Jersey engraver who also engraved the plates for the 1774-1776 New York Water Works notes. Of course, Gallaudet signed the obverse of this variety with EG FECIT, essentially translated to "Elisha Gallaudet made it." These coins have traditionally been called "dollars" by past numismatists, however, there is no indication or documentation (that we know of) to substantiate a one dollar denomination. Therefore, the general consensus today is simply to call these Continental Currency coins or pieces. In his Complete Encyclopedia, Walter Breen called them Continental Currency Patterns. The current Guide Book has these listed as "The Continental Currency" without further specifying a denomination. These were, in fact, the first silver dollar size coins issued in America, and it is certainly possible that the silver or pewter strikings were intended to be dollars, however, this is still unproven. Given the low intrinsic value of pewter at the time, some have suggested that the pewter strikings were actually intended to circulate as a one cent coin, however, this seems rather doubtful.
This is a lovely specimen with light gray pewter surfaces and slightly deeper toning splashes around certain devices. Very light wear is present with quite a bit of luster remaining. The surfaces display a few very minor imperfections, however, no major surface marks are to be found. Formerly as lot 995 in the Stack's catalog of The Estate of Herbert M. Oechsner, sold on September 9, 1988, and cataloged in that sale as "1776 Continental Dollar. Newman 3-D. 271.5 grains. CURRENCY. E.G. FECIT below the sundial. Pewter. A nicely struck and well preserved example of this rare and popular Colonial. The coin is basically free from "tin pest" which usually plagues the series. Underlying prooflike surface, delicate gray toning. Extremely Fine. Ex: Stack's February 26, 1955 sale, lot 368."
From The Willamette Collection. (#795) (NGC ID# 2AYU, PCGS# 795)

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Auction Dates
July, 2004
20th-21st Tuesday-Wednesday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 12
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