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    Unusual IS (Joseph Smith?) Regulated Half Joe

    Brazil. Joao V 6400 Reis 1744-R. Rio mint. KM149. Fine. Coin perhaps a forgery. Clipped, crudely re-edged by hand. Plugged and marked IS, perhaps Joseph Smith of Boston (died 1789). Weight slightly a grain and a half under the post-Revolutionary standard of 9 dwt, 6.5 grains below the mid-18th century Boston standard of 9 dwt 5 grains to which this was likely regulated (214.6 grains). Closely clipped circumferentially down to the bases of the denticles, crudely hand re-edged with individually cut reeds. Boldly plugged in high relief, tall and rounded on the obverse, plane to the surface of the reverse but misshapen around its border. Marked on both sides with IS hallmark, dot in between, S leaning to right. Reverse mark upside down and doubled. Obverse mark weakly struck, correctly oriented as IS, I and dot after visible but most of S soft. Authenticity of the host coin difficult to determine, though the numeral forms in the date look suspicious. Slight bend at rim above ES of JOHANNES perhaps a test cut, short scratch on reverse plug below mark definitely one. Medium yellow gold, a bit more ruddy toning at peripheries, some minor hairlines but good eye appeal.

    An exciting piece, undoubtedly unique on this regulator, though the identity of the maker is far from certain. We feel secure that the mark is IS, and a distinctive one at that, with the pointed right top serif of I and the unusual leaning angle of the S. This would seem to be a pre-Revolutionary regulation: there are no diminutive clips that would have resulted in the coin being a grain and a half under the 9 dwt standard, but that difference seems to great for a skilled regulator to have simply missed the weight by that margin. Instead, we suspect this piece was given its large plug to bring it up to a pre-Revolutionary standard of 9 dwt 5 grains, then clipped back down and given its amateurish edge device.

    The mark was correctly identified as I.S in the Ford sale of 1989.

    Provenance: From Glendining's sale of the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection of West Indian Cut and Countermarked Coins, October 16, 1989, Lot 267.
    From the Edward Roehrs Collection of U.S. Regulated Gold.




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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2010
    12th-16th Thursday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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