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    Description

    Boldly Struck 1652 Willow Tree Shilling
    Noe 3-E, VF35, Discovery Coin for the Type
    Noe Census #22, Plated in Noe

    1652 SHILNG Willow Tree Shilling VF35 PCGS. CAC. Noe 3-E, R.7. Ex: Ford-Manley. 69.45 grains. This variety is extremely rare, with only a handful of examples known to collectors. Michael Hodder (2005) writes that he has seen just eight Noe 3-E specimens. As a type, the Willow Tree shillings are rarer than their NE, Oak Tree, and Pine Tree counterparts.
    The obverse of Noe 3-E is identified by the absence of punctuation after the N, while the reverse has the diagnostic punctuation mark between AN and DOM. There are six varieties of Willow Tree shillings known--a surprising number given their rarity. Hodder suggests that the shillings were struck at two different times and groups the varieties into two families. Lou Jordan expounded on a theory first presented by Crosby when he writes, "The coins we designate as the Willow Tree series appear in many ways to be experimental. The scarcity of the coins suggests they were only minted for a brief period."
    This piece has a special significance to numismatists as the discovery coin for the Willow Tree type.
    Sydney P. Noe (1943) gives an account of this important find:

    "About 1865, Mr. Woodward began to notice peculiarities in what had been considered Oak Tree shillings until then, and we find in his Sixth Sale (item 2524) the following description: 'Oak Tree Shilling, 1652. The tree on this remarkable piece is quite unlike an oak, resembling more nearly a Palmetto tree. The legend on the obverse, is "Masathset inn;" on the rev. New Glad Au Do Dom; probably unique.' "


    Joseph J. Mickley called the tree a willow, and after his collection was sold two years later, the name stuck.
    On October 19, 1652 the Massachusetts General Court passed legislation that changed the design of the coins from the NE type to the more detailed Willow Tree type. A press and dies still had to be procured, so production of the Willow Tree coins might not have begun until 1654. Correspondence from that year between Joseph Jenks, who worked at the nearby Hammersmith Ironworks, and John Hull's brother, Edward, reveal efforts to bring a diesinker from England to Massachusetts. Some speculate that Jenks may have even engraved some of the dies for the Massachusetts Mint.
    The first coining press installed at the Massachusetts Mint was most likely a rocker press, which employed curved obverse and reverse dies. A strip of metal was fed between the two dies and the machine was cranked by hand. An impressed coin was then cut from the strip of metal. It is understandable that this rather crude method produced coins with weakly defined details and misshapen planchets.
    The present coin actually shows excellent detail for a Willow Tree shilling. The tree is only a trifle soft, and many of the letters are boldly impressed. The scrambled letters in the legends indicate that this piece was fed through the rocker press twice, hence the DODOM (instead of DOM) on the reverse and the date that reads 16522. The flan has a somewhat oval shape, a byproduct of the way the coin was cut from the metal strip after it was struck. The fields have attractive silver-gray patina, which contrasts nicely against the lighter toning on the high points. The surfaces are remarkably clean; the Ford cataloger notes that the light marks on the obverse and reverse were made during the minting process, not sometime later. Noe numbered this specimen 22 in his census, and it is on Plate VI.
    This piece is not only an attractive example of an extremely rare variety, but it is also the very coin that enlightened collectors to the existence of the Willow Tree series. Its provenance, which stretches back nearly 150 years, sets this specimen apart from all others. Listed on page 36 of the 2011 Guide Book.
    Ex: Bache Collection (William E. Woodward, 3/1865), lot 2524; George J. Bauer; T. James Clarke; F.C.C. Boyd; John J. Ford, Jr. (Stack's, 10/2005), lot 9.
    From Dwight Manley's NE Silver Collection.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 2ARC, PCGS# 16)


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

    View all of [Dwight Manley's NE Silver Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2010
    11th-15th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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