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    Description

    1787 New York Excelsior Copper
    W-5795, MS64 Brown
    Indian and Arms Muling

    1787 N YORK New York Excelsior Copper, Indian and New York Arms, W-5795, High R.6, MS64 Brown NGC. The legend LIBER NATUS LIBERTATUM DEFENDO surrounds a standing Indian on the obverse. The legend translates to "Born to defend Liberty" or "Being born free, I defend Liberty." The New York arms appears on the reverse with the date, 1787, and the state motto, EXCELSIOR, meaning "Ever Upward."

    Two different EXCELSIOR reverse designs exist, with or without a date. Varieties from the dated reverse die include this combination with the standing Indian obverse, and the George Clinton copper also offered in the present sale. Will Nipper, in his book In Yankee Doodle's Pocket, attributes these pieces to James F. Atlee and Captain Thomas Machin. Nipper attributes the other reverse, without the date, to John Bailey. That reverse is combined with the Heraldic Eagle design.

    Walter Breen attributes this variety to James F. Atlee, working at Machin's Mills, on the strength of punch-linkage, a tentative attribution at best. Nipper writes: "James Falconer Atlee's name is linked with many varieties of state, pattern and other coppers, maybe too many for the scant body of hard evidence that exists."

    This lovely example is easily the finest that we have handled, and almost certainly the finest known example from these dies. Our offering of the AU50 example in the Newman Collection included a Condition Census of 14 examples. The present piece from the Donald G. Partrick Collection appeared in the top spot with the MS65 grade from the Eliasberg catalog. The next three pieces in the census each carried an AU grade, those examples including the Newman, Garrett, and British Museum coins. One other piece has been offered since we compiled our census, bringing the total number known to 15 examples.

    Strike weakness is noted on the highest design points. Prooflike fields display delicate iridescent toning on the lovely medium brown surfaces. A trivial, hidden rim bruise is noted at the right reverse border. A well-centered impression, this near-Gem has substantial border detail with complete obverse and reverse legends. A showpiece among the present offering of important colonial coinage.
    Ex: Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection; Eliasberg Estate (Bowers and Merena, 5/1996), lot 58; Donald G. Partrick.

    Coin Index Numbers: (PCGS# 436)


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2021
    20th-24th Wednesday-Sunday
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