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    Description

    1787 Connecticut Copper, VF20
    The Unique Miller 37.4-RR.1

    1787 COPPER Connecticut, Draped Bust Left, M. 37.4-RR.1, W-4120, Unique, VF20 NGC. 129.3 grains. Obverse die 37.4 is known with reverse dies k.1 and RR.1. Reverse die RR.1 is known with obverse dies 37.4 and 37.10. From at least the 1960s through the mid-2000s, the existence of this die combination had been little more than speculation. Although Miller's example was listed in the 1920 sale of his collection, the coin disappeared for decades. In March 1964, Ned Barnsley wrote in The Colonial Newsletter that examples of all 312 Miller varieties had been located except two: the 1786 5.3-B.2 and 1787 37.4-RR. In the next issue, Barnsley explained: "Two different independent sources alleged to have uncovered examples of the ephemeral 37.4-RR of 1787 mentioned by Miller but not subsequently authenticated. Close examination of both pieces, however, revealed that they were in fact poorly preserved specimens of the rather similar looking 39.2-ee with the blundered B on the obverse obliterated and last fleuron on the reverse missing. Consequently, I recommend the existence of 37.4-RR be indicated by a question mark pending the rediscovery of Miller's reputed combination of these dies."

    Following up on Miller and Barnsley, Jeff Rock provided his own series update in the May 1991 issue of The Colonial Newsletter, where he echoed Barnsley's findings from 29 years earlier: "No example has ever been seen. All examples reported to date have proven to be worn specimens of the rather similar 39.2-ee (as were the pieces originally in the Barnsley and Taylor Collections). ... We have elected to drop it from the listing."

    Then, in May 2005, Miller's now legendary coin showed up as part of the John Ford holdings, where cataloger Michael Hodder invited collectors to "satisfy themselves about its existence." That they did, with the bidding closing at $97,750. This unique and storied Connecticut copper features deep brown, steel, and olive tones over evenly worn but still well-detailed surfaces. Scattered marks appear on the obverse, and a bit of streakiness occurs left of Liberty's head down to the thigh area. The date is complete, and the rest of the design is well -centered with clashing on the reverse. This is only the second time this rarity has been offered publicly in a century. It could be decades for it turns up again. Collectors are encouraged not to let this opportunity slip away. Listed on page 66 of the 2021 Guide Book.
    Ex: Henry C. Miller (Thomas L. Elder, 5/1920), lot 2016; later, John J. Ford, Jr. (Stack's, 5/2005), lot 439; Jon Hanson (5/10/2005); Donald G. Partrick.


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    November, 2020
    1st Sunday
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