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1785 Nova Constellatio Copper, MS63 Brown
Small Date, Crosby 2-A
Only Example Certified as Mint State

1785 C Nova Nova Constellatio Copper, Pointed Rays, Small Date MS63 Brown PCGS. CAC. Crosby 2-A, W-1885, High R.4. Crosby 2-A is the sole Small Date 1785 Nova Constellatio die variety, and as such merits its own Guide Book entry. The variety is very scarce, particularly relative to Crosby 3-B, and is typically encountered in VF condition. PCGS has certified just four examples in grades above XF40, and only the present piece has been graded as Mint State by that service. The three AU pieces are graded AU53, AU55, and AU58, and each has appeared in Heritage auctions the past ten years. The AU55 sold for $8,050 as lot 1975 in our May 2008 Long Beach Signature, and the AU58 realized $10,350 as lot 3008 in our January 2006 FUN Signature. The present lot, the lone certified Mint State example, is certain to bring a much higher price. NGC has certified just four examples, none graded finer than XF40. This favorably compares with the 84 1785 Large Date, Pointed Rays and 15 1785 Large Date, Blunt Rays pieces certified by that firm.

The origins of the Nova Constellatio series remains mysterious. The design closely resembles the extremely rare 1783 bit, quint, and mark patterns ordered by Pennsylvanian financier Robert Morris. Per Whitman's Colonial Encyclopedia, "the Nova Constellatio copper issues were struck by a private mint in Birmingham, England," yet there is no definitive proof of that. The absence of high grade examples from the holdings of Condor token collectors is also curious. In any event, Nova Constellatios were plentiful in America by the time of pre-Constitution state coinage, since the pieces were used as hosts by Connecticut, New Jersey, and Vermont coppers.

This is an exceptional medium brown example that has satin luster and mark-free surfaces. The strike is incomplete near the all-seeing eye and opposite at the top of US, but the impression is otherwise crisp. One small spot on the upper left loop of the U in US provides an identifier. Listed on page 54 of the 2014 Guide Book. Population: 1 in 63 Brown, none finer (10/13). (NGC ID# 2AZ4, PCGS# 823)

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Auction Dates
December, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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