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    Undated (1663-1672) St. Patrick 'Guinea,' AU Details
    The Unique Gold Impression, Martin 1a.2-Ba.14

    (C. 1663-1672) Small Size St. Patrick, Gold--Scratched--NGC Details. AU. W-11530, Martin 1a.2-Ba.14, Unique. 184.9 grains. This example with a provenance dating to the late 1700s is the only genuine gold St. Patrick coin known today. It is the piece that appeared in the June 1909 Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge sale of the Rashleigh Collection that passed from Philip Rashleigh of Menabilly in the late 18th century to his great nephew, Jonathan Rashleigh, and to his son, Evelyn William Rashleigh. Plated in the 1909 Rashleigh catalog with the scrape across the cathedral visible in that appearance.

    A second gold example was offered in the Norweb sale in 1988. That plain-edge piece was from the same dies as silver examples that Eric P. Newman identified as counterfeit in his article, "A Snake Breeds a St. Patrick Farthing," that appeared in The Numismatist of May 1962. The Norweb gold counterfeit failed to sell.

    The 63-volume British Dictionary of National Biography included information about Philip Rashleigh (1729-1811) who was described as an antiquary and the eldest son of Jonathan Rashleigh and his wife, Mary, the daughter of Sir William Clayton of Marden in Surrey. Philip Rashleigh was born in London on December 28, 1729, and completed his studies at New College in Oxford when he was just 19 years old. However, he left the school without taking a degree. Rashleigh married his first cousin, Jane Pole (1720-1795). They had no children, and after Rashleigh died on June 26, 1811, his estate passed to his nephew, Jonathan Rashleigh. While notable here for his numismatic interests and collections, Rashleigh also assembled a remarkable collection of minerals.

    Opinions about the St. Patrick pieces are varied. Some consider the series to be an important part of New Jersey colonial history, while others discount that possibility. However, the discovery of many small size pieces (examples were struck in two different sizes, historically called farthings and halfpennies) in excavations and as metal detecting finds in New Jersey suggest that these coins circulated there in the late 17th century up to the early 19th century, and are rightfully included among American colonial coins. They were also mentioned in New Jersey legislation passed in 1682, further solidifying their place among American colonial coinage. Others who suggest that these are not part of American coinage point to the inscriptions that have no relationship to New Jersey, the fact that they circulated at other locales, notably Dublin. Clearly the inscriptions and designs have an Irish theme.

    Mark Newby was an English Quaker and Dublin merchant who emigrated to West Jersey to escape religious persecution. Prior to his embarkation, Newby acquired a large quantity of the St. Patrick coins and brought them with him on his voyage. The life of Mark Newby as it is known today is based on fact, fiction, and numismatic tradition. He was the son of Ralph and Dorothy Newby, born at Northumberland, England, on February 25, 1638. Little is known of his early life although it is thought that he converted to Quakerism in the 1650s. Newby moved to Ireland in the early 1660s, and married Elizabeth Welsh in 1663. Just over a decade later, following the deaths of Elizabeth and their children, Newby remarried Hannah Holmes and they had a daughter named Rachel. The family eventually made their way to Western New Jersey, known as West Jersey at the time. Soon after they relocated, Mark Newby passed away in late 1682 or in 1683.

    This unique St. Patrick's gold piece exhibits brilliant yellow surfaces with subtle peripheral rose toning on each side. The surfaces are generally pleasing, despite the aforementioned scrape across the cathedral. Although some weakness is evident on the high points of the design, the overall appearance of this well-made example is excellent. It is likely a special presentation piece produced at about the same time as all of the copper and silver examples. This is an extraordinary opportunity for the advanced colonial collector or New Jersey history enthusiast. Listed on page 43 of the 2021 Guide Book.
    Ex: Rashleigh Collection (Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 6/1909), lot 1126; Virgil M. Brand; "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Wayte Raymond; F.C.C. Boyd; Boyd Estate; John J. Ford, Jr. (Stack's, 8/1976), unsold; John J. Ford, Jr. (Stack's, 1/2005), lot 2; Jon Hanson; Donald G. Partrick. Although the Ford catalog states that this piece passed from the Green Estate to F.C.C. Boyd via Wayte Raymond on June 20, 1933, Green was still living at that time.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2021
    17th-18th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 38
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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