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    Description

    Extremely Rare 1776 Continental Dollar
    Newman 1-A, Brass, MS63
    The First Continental Dollar
    The Finest of Three Known

    1776 $1 Continental Dollar, CURENCY, Brass, Dotted Circles, Newman 1-A, Breen-1085, Hodder 1-A.1, W-8430, R.8. MS63 NGC. Die alignment: 45 degrees. 246.0 grains. 73% copper, 24% zinc, 3% lead. Ex: Brand. This early die state piece exhibits perfect obverse and reverse dies with no die cracks or other defects. A bold strike reveals a full face on the meridian sun on this nicely centered brass impression. Both sides exhibit rich olive surfaces with splashes of amber. Minor turquoise corrosion is evident on the reverse. The twin-leaf edge is sharp and complete. All design elements are bold, save for WE ARE ONE, which is weakly struck.

    How Many Varieties
    Each person who endeavors to complete a collection of Continental dollars will have to decide what constitutes a complete collection. Some will state that new varieties are only produced from new physical dies, regardless of the changes that took place to those dies. If only the most common composition is chosen, then a collection consists of four coins. Others will consider the changes to the first reverse and the last obverse as separate dies. Again, choosing the most available composition, a total of seven coins will complete a collection. Still others might decide that all of those changes are necessary, as well as each of the different compositions. Those collectors will seek a total of 10 different Continental dollars.

    Walter Breen recorded 14 variations in his Complete Encyclopedia, including some minor compositional changes that likely do not exist. The Whitman Colonial Encyclopedia assigns 11 numbers, with one variety now believed unknown. The present offering includes all 10 known variations, with two additional pieces that will be discussed further in the following listings.

    Obverse and Reverse Dies
    Obverse 1 shows a sundial, MIND YOUR BUSINESS, and sunrays inside the central ring. Roman numerals I through XII are clearly visible on the sundial, with a gap at the right between VI and VII. The numerals IX, XI, and XII are inverted when read alongside VII and VIII. Along the upper part of the sundial are seen I, II, III, IIII, V, and VI. Rotating the coin to follow the numerals below reveals VII, VIII, XI, X, IX, and IIX. Several of the Is are split, such as those in IIX (or XII), that actually appear to have four vertical strokes adjacent to the X. Michael Hodder compiled a brief article about the Roman numerals on the different obverse dies in the June 1988 issue of The Colonial Newsletter.

    FUGIO and the meridian sun are located within the central band, and CONTINENTAL CURENCY and 1776 appear in the outer margin. The letters in CONTINENTAL become progressively closer, and the O has a crescent-shaped hook at its upper right curve. In CURENCY, RE are close and EN are distant. The serif of the G in FUGIO is boldly doubled. A short horizontal die line appears inside the U of YOUR on earlier die states of Obverse 1.

    Reverse A has the legend WE ARE ONE at the center, inside a central band inscribed AMERICAN CONGRESS, with a comma below the small N in AMERICAN. The central band, in turn, is outlined by a glory of rays. Each of the 13 intertwined rings is made of dots and shading in the form of parallel lines, and each ring contains a state name, beginning with New Hampshire at 11:30. The abbreviated state names appear as: N HAMPS, CONNECT'T, R. ISLAND, N. YORKE, N. JERSEY, PENNSILV, DELAWARE, MARYLAND, VIRGINIA, N. CAROLIN, S. CAROLIN, GEORGIA, and MASSACHS. Many of the rays around the central band are solidly connected to individual dots in the various rings. A microscopic raised dot appears in the center of each ring, almost like a centering dot.

    The First Continental Dollar
    The brass Continental pieces with dotted rings are undoubtedly the first Continental dollar coins produced. Since there were technically only two different reverse dies, the striking order is easily ascertained. The dotted rings of this first variety were soon reengraved into partial lines, and then complete lines, and it would be physically impossible to reverse that change to the dies. With complete rings appearing on the second reverse die, the order of striking is easily ascertained. Michael Hodder discussed the emission order:

    "Given reverse A.x's subsequent re-cuttings, it [Hodder 1-A.1] was the earliest combination struck; the fact that the final appearance of this reverse, state A.3 (Newman-C), with dotted rings almost completely cut into lines, is identical in type (excepting only the repositioning of N.HAMPS and MASSACHS) to reverse B (Newman-D), it is likely that A.3 pre-dated B despite the lack of die links between the two. Newman was probably correct in supposing that his reverse A was the original design and was the first struck, since a progressive change from dotted to linear rings can be seen on the dies, and the former design was not utilized on reverse B."


    Census Details
    This example is the finest of just three known and the second we have offered in two months. When we cataloged the Eric P. Newman example for our November 2014 sale, we listed the present piece as AU (per its grade in the 1984 Brand catalog), with the comment that "this example would likely grade Mint State today." And indeed it did, now appropriately certified MS63 by NGC.

    Our Census of known examples is revised herein:

    1. MS63 NGC. Spink & Son, London (11/1910); Virgil M. Brand; Brand Estate (Bowers and Merena, 6/1984), lot 955; Donald Groves Partrick. 73% copper, 24% zinc, 3% lead. The present specimen.

    2. AU50 NGC. "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Eric P. Newman; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society (Heritage, 11/2014), lot 3036. 79% copper, 18% zinc, 1% lead.

    3. VF. Virgil M. Brand; Brand Estate (B. Max Mehl, 1/11/1937); Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 3/1988), lot 2450. Illustrated in Michael Hodder's 1991 ANA Centennial Anthology article, "The Continental Currency Coinage of 1776."


    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 2AYP, Variety PCGS# 792, Base PCGS# 791)


    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: 20
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