Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    (1739) Unique Higley Copper, VF30
    The Wheele Goes Round Copper
    From the Garrett and Roper Collections

    (1739) THREEPENCE Higley Copper, THE WHEELE GOES ROUND, VF30 NGC. Crosby Unknown, Freidus 4-C, W-8295, Unique. 152.2 grains. Ex: Garrett. Obverse Type 4. A wheel inscribed THE WHEELE GOES ROUND. Reverse Type C. A broad axe with the legend J CUT MY WAY THROUGH. Both sides feature the index hand (fist with outstretched index finger) and the W-punch with its connected top; the workmanship on the obverse is similar to that of the Higley broad axe reverse. Thus, there is no doubt Higley coppers dies accomplished the striking of this unique piece. Chestnut and steel-brown appear on the obverse, and mostly bluish steel-brown graces the reverse of this most important copper. A few handling marks are evident, as expected for the grade and age of this copper.

    Don Partrick's unique Freidus 4-C is the only known Higley copper of this distinctive type: the only such Higley copper and the pivotal coin for the ultimate Higley collection. (The Higley 2-B.b is part of the 2-B type.) The obverse design is quite a departure from the usual deer motif seen on all other Higley varieties. Freidus writes: "Given that all features of this [obverse] die are dramatically different than all other dies no diagnostic details are needed."

    The obverse depicts a wheel with 12 spokes, likely from a central hub, although the coin is indistinct at the center. An index hand marks the beginning of the legend, THE . WHEELE . GOES . ROUND. The C reverse is from the undated Broad Axe die inscribed J. CUT. MY. WAY. THROUGH. That reverse also appears with obverse dies 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3.

    Howland Wood discovered this variety in 1913 and reported his findings in the July issue of The Numismatist, with a photo of this identical example:

    "The above illustration represents an entirely new discovery in the Colonial series, being a variety of the well-known Higley series of coppers that has never been mentioned or known of until a short time ago, when it came into the possession of Mr. Howland Wood among a lot of old coppers. It was covered with dirt and verdigris to such an extent that its character was not suspected until it had been thoroughly cleaned.

    "The reverse of this interesting coin bears the same device as Crosby's Type No. 3, Reverse C., which is illustrated on Plate VIII of his work on "Early Coins of America," and bears the number 24. This is the broadaxe device with the motto "I CUT MY WAY THROUGH." This reverse goes with the undated variety of the Higley pieces, which has the deer obverse, in contrast to the varieties bearing dates, respectively 1737 and 1739.

    "This would seem to show that the new variety was struck about the same time as No. 24. The curious obverse of the new variety, however, is entirely different in design from that of the other pieces of the series, although its quaintness of inscription clearly indicates the same origin. "THE WHEELE GOES ROUND," with the wheel as the central device, is exactly of the same workmanship as the Higleys showing the deer, and the letters and index hand are undoubtedly from the same punches."

    The article continues to reprint an address of Joseph C. Mitchelson, delivered before the New York Numismatic Club in 1910. The three-page Numismatist article is reproduced on the following pages in the present catalog.

    More than three decades have passed since this historic and unique copper coin has appeared at auction, and it is reasonable to assume that the present appearance may be the last for many years.
    Ex: Howland Wood; Henry Chapman; Col. James W. Ellsworth; Wayte Raymond; John Work Garrett; Johns Hopkins University (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1980), lot 1306; John L. Roper 2nd Collection (Stack's, 12/1983), lot 154; Donald Groves Partrick.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# AUAY, PCGS# 216)

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Partrick Collection ]

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    7th-12th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 23
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,603

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Jan 12, 2015 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 3 days left to consign to the 2021 April 22 - 26 US Coins Signature Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    I'm very pleased with how you run the auctions and am certain to consign coins at future events.
    Jeff H.,
    Talking Rock, GA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search