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    Description

    (1790) Albany Church Penny, Fine Details
    No D Variety, Two Small Counterstamps

    (1790) PENNY -- Damage -- Albany Church Penny, No D, PCGS Genuine. Fine Details. Breen-1169, W-8495, R.7. The historic Church Penny was issued in early Albany, New York by the First Presbyterian Church of Albany, at a rate of twelve pieces per shilling to provide a means for its members to donate to the collection plate more easily following the copper panic of 1789. Little circulating coinage existed in those days, and most of the few coins that existed were either worn out or counterfeit. Two varieties of the uniface token exist -- one with a script "D" above the word CHURCH, and the other without the D. This example is the latter. It is struck from a prepared punch on an unknown host copper, possibly a circulating halfpence.

    The PCGS Details grade relates to two tiny counterstamps on the coin, but these interesting punches should hardly be considered damage. One is the numeral 15 in raised letters within a recessed rectangle; the other is a similar punch with the numeral 18. The meaning of these counterstamps is pure conjecture, although it is possible that together they form the date 1815, or they might reflect the number of tokens received in the collection plate. Any number of other reasons is possible, and it appears the counterstamps were applied after the token was well-worn.

    The Albany Church Penny is extremely rare in any condition. Reportedly, just 1,000 pieces were made, and fewer than one dozen exists of either variety. Many seasoned collectors of colonial coinage and tokens have never seen one.


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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 27
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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