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    (1737) Higley Copper, VF20
    Freidus 3.2-C

    (1737) COPPER Higley Copper, Broad Axe VF20 NGC. Breen-242, Friedus 3.2-C, W-8260, Low R.7. 129.3 gn. Dr. Samuel Higley's father, John Higley, was among the first settlers in Simsbury, Connecticut, then known as Massacoh. The Simsbury countryside included large pine forests and many of the settlers came to the area as a result, as the need for pine byproducts was strong. Before emigrating from England to America, John served as an apprentice to a glove maker. An entrepreneur, once in America he began importing West Indies rum as well as manufacturing tar, turpentine, and pitch. He used the proceeds to purchase substantial parcels of land, becoming the largest landowner in the area. Among his ten children was Samuel Higley. Samuel also acquired land in the Simsbury area, buying 143 acres containing copper mines in 1728. That same year, the Connecticut General Court granted him exclusive rights for ten years to make steel in the colony.

    Just about the time his exclusive steel rights were about to expire, Higley apparently began to produce copper tokens. Several different designs were struck, with this being an example of the variety with the legend, "VALUE ME AS YOU PLEASE" on the obverse and a broad axe with "J CUT MY WAY THROUGH" on the reverse. Chocolate-brown and red surfaces provide this well-centered specimen with a lovely appearance. Though the central obverse, in particular, displays pits, they are not overly distracting on this rare piece. A few minor planchet flaws are present.

    Higley's land, located in what became East Granbury, later was the home for New Gate Prison, which operated from 1773 to 1827 and was the first State Prison in America. Prisoners, including those loyal to Britain during the Revolutionary War, were housed within the caverns. The property, known today as Old Newgate Prison, became a National Historic Landmark in 1976. The town seal of Simsbury includes an image of a Higley copper. Listed on page 49 of the 2014 Guide Book.
    From The Old New England Collection. (NGC ID# AUAX, PCGS# 213)

    View all of [The Old New England Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    23rd-27th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
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