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    1652 Noe-4 Oak Tree Shilling, MS65
    Extraordinary Gem Uncirculated Example

    1652 SHILNG Oak Tree Shilling, IN at Bottom, MS65 PCGS. Noe-4, W-460, Salmon 2-D, R.4. 71.60 grains. Die alignment: 345°. An exceptional Gem Uncirculated piece, almost certainly the finest of its type and die variety. The central tree dominates the obverse of this coin unlike any other example of Oak Tree silver we recall seeing. MASATHVSETS wraps pleasingly around the tree, nearly symmetrically and with only the first and final letter running slightly off the planchet. The reverse is nearly perfect: well-centered and firmly struck from the earliest state of the die. Close examination of each side provides the viewer with the rare opportunity to observe the most minute engraving work in the legends and devices, and even the fine lines in the die fields resulting from polishing the dies before use. These are details that would be lost with a slightly softer strike or even brief circulation. The coloration on both sides is profound and obviously the result of centuries of care. This is the quintessential Oak Tree shilling, combining stunning eye appeal with an extraordinary level of detail.

    The Noe-4 variety combines Crosby's Obverse 3 and Reverse D dies. The Crosby-3 obverse is characterized by a very full tree, which fills nearly all of the inner circle; the Crosby-D reverse is most immediately recognizable by the flaw within the O of DOM. This variety is routinely found with a well-centered reverse, but with an obverse that is noticeably off-center toward 6 o'clock, a feature shared by this example, though it emphatically does not share the weak strike also generally encountered toward 6 o'clock of the obverse. Christopher Salmon (Silver Coins of Massachusetts, 2010) notes that the action of the rocker press used to produce these pieces often caused the tops of NGL at 12 o'clock of the reverse to appear somewhat streaked, which can be observed on this example under magnification. While the cataloger of the Ford sale speculated that two different engravers worked on the reverse die, Salmon points to several features that suggest that both dies were the work of the same person. This variety witnesses the only use of this obverse die.

    The Weinberg Gem Uncirculated Noe-4 Oak Tree shilling offered here is almost certainly the finest known of its die variety, with perhaps only two other Uncirculated examples in existence. The Newman example, graded MS65 by NGC, is a well-produced Uncirculated example, but a comparison of the level of fine engraving detail visible clearly reveals the Weinberg shilling to be the superior coin. The Whitman plate coin, also from the Weinberg collection and sold by us in our 2019 ANA sale, is graded MS61 by PCGS. It is a beautifully toned Uncirculated example that is worthy of the finest collection, but is one that remains several grade increments below the present piece.

    Alan Weinberg, our consignor, describes this piece as:

    "An utterly magnificent, superbly toned and fully lustrous Oak Tree shilling, probably the finest Oak Tree shilling I've seen of any variety. Every engraving detail is superbly brought up. To see an American-produced colonial from the era before the Witch Trials in such condition is simply amazing. To acquire this Oak Tree shilling along with the Noe-4 Pine Tree shilling would be an incredible feat."

    This coin was part of the landmark exhibition of Massachusetts silver coinage at the American Numismatic Society in 1991 (Kleeberg catalog No. 34). Listed on page 41 of the 2020 Guide Book. Population for the type: 1 in 65, 0 finer (11/19).
    From The Alan V. Weinberg Collection, Part III. (NGC ID# 2ARL, Variety PCGS# 45362, Base PCGS# 20)

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

    View all of [The Alan V. Weinberg Collection, Part III ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2020
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,047

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