Rare 1787 New York Excelsior Copper, VF25
1787 COPPER New York Excelsior Copper, Eagle Right VF25 NGC.
W-5780, Breen-979, High R.6. On February 11, 1787, metalsmiths
John Bailey and Ephraim Brasher petitioned the New York State
legislature for franchises to manufacture copper coins. It has been
speculated that the two petitions were submitted together, speaking
to a partnership between the two makers (who were neighbors),
though this theory has not been proven. However, Breen suggests the
similarity of Bailey and Brasher's 1787 New York pattern pieces
(likely submitted with the franchise petitions), all punch-linked
to Bailey's "running horse" Jersey coppers of the following year,
suggesting the two makers were closely associated. These patterns
are broken up into two classes: Brasher's Doubloons and Bailey's
Excelsior coppers (the Nova Eborac coppers were produced in
quantity and are not considered patterns).
Whitman 5780, Eagle Right
The Excelsior coppers depict the New York arms on the obverse, with the state motto EXCELSIOR, "More excellent, more noble," below, while a modified rendering of the United States arms is represented on the reverse, surrounded by the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. A similar rendering of the New York arms is seen on the reverse of James Atlee's standing-Indian copper pattern of the same year, though the two designers are not believed to have been in collaboration. Rather, Breen suggests this coincidence is possibly the result of both Bailey and Atlee copying Peter Maverick's engraving of the New York arms on the then-current New York paper currency.
Bowers lists six varieties of the Excelsior copper, all of which are rare, though Breen attributes only three of them to Bailey (and possibly Brasher). This piece represents the right-facing eagle variant, of which Breen estimates only 10 to 12 pieces are extant (though a few more have likely surfaced since that writing). Light wear is seen over both sides, though the main design elements are bold. The surfaces display attractive two-toned patina, with deep burgundy-brown in the fields and warm reddish-brown on the high points. A loupe reveals some faint granularity in the recesses, though it is not apparent to the unaided eye, and the overall preservation is exceptional for the issue. This is the only example certified by NGC, and PCGS has graded only an additional seven in all grades (4/14).
Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. (NGC ID# B8E3, PCGS# 424)
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A powerful and intimidating dealer of the 1960s, backed by important colleagues, was accused of selling fraudulent gold coins and ingots to unsuspecting numismatists. Who would go up against a man like that and, over the course of decades, prove the fraud? Who would expose a widely respected scholar as a thief, then doggedly pursue recovery of coins that the scholar had stolen from an embarrassed numismatic organization, all over the objections of influential collectors who had bought coins with clouded titles? Eric P. Newman would - and did. Reserve your copy today.
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