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    Description

    1785 Inimica Tyrannis Americana, AU50
    W-5635, Small Stars Confederatio Reverse

    1785 Inimica Tyrannis Americana, Small Stars Confederatio, Breen-1124, W-5635, Low R.7, AU50 NGC. 148.4 grains. A sharply struck and distinctive example of this rare issue, of which nine pieces are currently known. Golden-tan surfaces predominate on both sides, with darker areas within the obverse legends. An exceptionally bold strike distinguishes this example, leading it to be graded as numerically finer than the XF40 NGC CAC piece sold in our 2015 FUN offering of highlights from the Partrick Collection. That coin had remarkably choice surfaces. This piece's obverse bears planchet roughness that, while as-struck, affects its overall eye appeal. Despite that, the lettering on this example has a clarity that exceeds the flatter appearance of most other pieces, with the reverse peripheries in particular being distinctive and crisp.

    The Latin obverse legend derives from a line attributed to Algernon Sydney (1622-1683), "Manus haec, inimica tyrannis, ense petit placidam cum libertate quietem" ("This hand, an enemy to tyrants, by the sword seeks peace with quiet liberty"). A shortened and slightly altered version of this ("Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem") was taken in 1775 as the motto of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Sydney was a soldier and parliamentarian during the English Civil War and Interregnum, and was involved with the trial of King Charles I. Following the Restoration, he was convicted of treason and executed in 1683.

    Montroville Dickeson, writing in 1859, listed the coin in his American Numismatical Manual, but it is clear from both his description and the illustration accompanying it that he had never seen one. He cited the Bushnell example, which he described as "probably the only one in America," as the source for his listing. By 1875, when Crosby was completing his Early Coins of America, he could write that of all the Confederatio and related coinages, this die combination was the only one of which he had seen more than one example. The obverse of this particular piece is depicted on the rare plates prepared in 1886 by Harlan P. Smith for his sale of the Dr. Edward Maris Collection. At the time of the Maris sale, four examples of this variety were known. While Maris (who wrote the text of his own catalog) noted that his was superior to Bushnell's, which had sold in 1882 for $140, his own coin brought $130 to T. Harrison Garrett. It remained off the market for nearly a century until it was purchased by Donald G. Partrick at the penultimate Garrett sale. Listed on page 59 of the 2021 Guide Book.
    Ex: Dr. Edward Maris Collection (H.P. Smith, 6/1886), lot 321; Garrett Family Collection (Bowers & Ruddy, 10/1980), lot 1330; Donald G. Partrick.

    Coin Index Numbers: (PCGS# 846)


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2021
    22nd-25th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 22
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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