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    Description

    Broad Axe Higley Copper, VF Details
    Coveted Early American Type

    Friedus 3.2-C

    (1737) COPPER Higley Copper, Broad Axe -- Damaged -- NGC Details. VF. Friedus 3.2-C, W-8260, Low R.7. Although Samuel Higley was a medical doctor with a degree from Yale University, his career involved the mining business in a number of capacities, including notable work with steel. He bought land containing copper mines in 1728 and began mining the ore, exporting much of it to England.

    Higley appears to have been a colorful personality, as legend states he frequented taverns, presenting copper tokens believed to have been produced by him, likely with his own ore, as a means of paying his bar tab. There apparently was controversy with his initial coppers denominated as threepence, since they contained less copper than British pieces bearing the same denomination. As a result, he redesigned the pieces and added the legend, VALUE ME AS YOU PLEASE to the obverse.

    He produced two new reverses as well, one stating I AM GOOD COPPER and the other reading J CUT MY WAY THROUGH. Those legends would later appear on pieces from other issuers, including several Civil War tokens. Higley died in 1737 while aboard a ship bearing his copper to England. His brother John produced the examples dated 1739. It is believed many of the Higley coppers were melted for use in gold production, since local goldsmiths were in need of copper as an alloy.

    The present deep brown and evenly granular Higley copper piece has surprising detail. Most of the deer and axe are evident, as are most of the peripheral letters, with the exception of PLEASE. The surfaces are slightly wavy and display a number of small to moderate digs on both sides. A Roman column is entered as graffiti, parallel to the axe handle. The condition is typical for the rare Higley series, since such pieces were given no numismatic consideration, even by their makers, prior to the 19th century. Listed on page 49 of the 2014 Guide Book.
    From The Old New England Collection. (NGC ID# AUAX, PCGS# 213)


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    April, 2014
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