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    1788 New Jersey Copper, MS63 Brown
    Finest Known Maris 50-f
    The Only Mint State, Head Left Copper

    1788 New Jersey Copper, Head Left, M. 50-f, W-5475, R.3, MS63 Brown NGC. 152.2 grains. One of the highlights of the Partrick collection. This is the only Mint State Head Left copper known and it is remarkably well-preserved. The planchet exhibits obverse fissures, while there are virtually no post-strike marks. So immaculate are the fields that the Garrett cataloger described the piece as "Prooflike Uncirculated," a bold statement for any Confederation-era copper. The coloration is pleasing, with ample mint red in the less exposed areas of the coin. Given how unusual, popular, and well-known the Head Left type is, the present coin is arguably one of the most important New Jersey coppers known.

    The Head Left coppers have intrigued numismatists for generations. Montroville Dickeson listed them as a distinct type in his groundbreaking 1859 American Numismatical Manual and provided a lithographic illustration that resembles a Maris 49 obverse. Dickeson tended to see differences too readily, stating that there were five Head Left varieties. Sylvester Crosby corrected this in his 1875 Early Coins of America, reducing the number of obverses to three. In his classic 1881 A Historic Sketch of the Coins of New Jersey, Dr. Edward Maris agreed with Crosby, adding that the "plow is more complicated than any heretofore described, having two cross bars connecting the handles and a ring in the beam. The coulter after widening, is joined to the share, which is made out of a sword beaten into proper shape." Maris was apparently the first to notice that the hilt of a sword extends out from the top of the plow, indicating that the Biblical prophecy "they shall beat their swords into plowshares" had come to fruition.

    The Maris f reverse, a "biennial die," is coupled with obverse dies of different years. The f reverse was first used on the Maris 49-f and 50-f Head Left types before being called into service for the Maris 48-f and finally the 37-f. Once again, the New Jersey series cautions us against believing everything we see: for while the 49-f and 50-f coins are dated 1788, die state evidence indicates that they were struck before the 1787-dated 48-f and 37-f. Crosby himself remarked upon this, writing: "a curious fact concerning this reverse is, that while it is found on coins of 1787, with a heavy break across the shield, we have seen none of 1788, on which that break is visible."

    The present coin, owned by Albany numismatist John G. Mills, was sold by the Chapman brothers with the rest of his collection in 1904. While the provenance chain published in the Garrett sale of 1980 states that John Work Garrett obtained it from the Col. James W. Ellsworth collection, that appears to be incorrect. The Mills sale was the first auction in which Robert Garrett, son of T. Harrison Garrett and brother of John Work Garrett, participated. While this coin is recorded as having been bought at the auction by the Chapmans themselves for $38, a handwritten note in their bidbook states, "Sold Garrett $45," indicating that it was sold directly to Robert Garrett after the sale and not to James Ellsworth. From Robert, the collection passed to his brother John Work Garrett, and thence to Johns Hopkins University, where it remained until the 1980 Bowers & Ruddy sale, where it was described as "one of the highlights of the Garrett Collection." It has since been a highlight of every collection it has graced, as it will continue to be moving forward. Listed on page 75 of the 2021 Guide Book.
    Ex: John G. Mills (S.H. & H. Chapman, 4/1904), lot 447; Garrett Family (Bowers & Ruddy, 10/1980), lot 1448; Anthony Terranova; Henry G. Garrett (Bowers & Merena, 3/1992), lot 1401; Donald G. Partrick.

    Coin Index Numbers: (Variety PCGS# 766268, Base PCGS# 527)

    View all of [The Donald G. Partrick Collection ]

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2021
    20th-24th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 23
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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