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Extremely Rare Portugal 4000 Reis Regulated by Lewis Fueter

Portugal. Joao V 4000 Reis (moidore) 1714. Lisbon mint. LF mark for Lewis Fueter. KM184. VF. Edge clipped or filed. Plugged and marked LF in rectangular cartouche by Lewis Fueter, New York. Regulated to less than a quarter grain of the occupied New York standard for a moidore of 6 pennyweights, 22 grains, a remarkable degree of precision (165.8 grains). Original diagonal edge reeding persists in areas, missing in others. Edge more likely filed than clipped. Irregular flat plug built up on central obverse, remarkably and artfully flush at central reverse, LF oriented vertically. The area around the plug has been made convex by hammering on the opposite side, making the plug blend in especially well.

Appealing medium yellow gold with some minor encrustation in protected areas, trace of mint adjustment mark below denomination to bottom shield. A very pleasing piece.

The only regulated moidore in the present collection, regulated in British occupied New York by a famed Tory goldsmith. Gordon (page 35) notes that just two are known to him. The moidore was the most vital Portuguese denomination before the rise of the 6400 Reis in the 1730s. The long interval in circulation this coin endured, along with Howe's extremely high requirement for the weight of a moidore, required Fueter to build up a very significant plug. While Howe required a 6 dwt, 22 grain moidore in occupied New York, the Philadelphia merchants 1777 requirement was actually a full half dwt less.

Any solo Lewis Fueter regulation is a great rarity. The Half Joe sold in the 2005 Eliasberg sale saw active bidding before selling for $48,300. Only two other solo Lewis Fueter marks have been recorded: both are in this sale (the other is on a Half Joe in combination with an F&G regulation).

Edward Roehrs wrote an outstanding biography on Fueter in the December 2005 issue of The Numismatist, which illustrated this coin. Fueter's father, Daniel Christian, was one of New York's best known silversmiths. His father worked for the British military establishment in making the Montreal and Happy While United peace medals, so it is no surprise that his son Lewis seems to have worked so closely to General Howe's standards during the British occupation of New York. Father and son, according to the Roehrs article, worked together in 1769, but the son began running the business alone soon after. According to Roehrs's research, Lewis Fueter died in Jamaica in 1784 at the age of 38, just months after the end of the British occupation of his native New York. He apparently quit New York for Halifax, like most Loyalist evacuees, before ending up in Jamaica and meeting his early demise.

Fueter's significance as a Loyalist smith in occupied New York parallels his importance as a rare regulator. This rare denomination should see a record realization.

Provenance: Ex KV Eckardt via Rick Ponterio November 1987.
From the Edward Roehrs Collection of U.S. Regulated Gold.

Service and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)

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Auction Dates
August, 2010
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 1
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