Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    1790 Standish Barry Threepence, VF20
    A Classic Rarity, W-8510

    1790 3PENCE Standish Barry Threepence VF20 PCGS. Breen-1019, W-8510, R.6. Die alignment: 360°. Boldly struck peripheries encompass more softly struck centers, as is generally the case on these rare post-Colonial issues, of which perhaps two dozen pieces are known. The uniquely expressed date -- JULY 4 90 -- is boldly distinct on this threepence, while BALTIMORE is faint at LTI. The central portrait is a bit soft on the face, but retains clear features. The reverse is representative of known examples at this grade level and even above. The central THREE PENCE is quite weak, a characteristic seen on even the finest known pieces. Most of Barry's name is clear, though the initial ST of his first name and final Y of BARRY are faint. The planchet is slightly out of round, and the strike is a touch off-center toward 12 o'clock. This piece shows no sign of the prominent die cracks visible on both sides of the magnificent MS64 example -- the finest known in private hands -- sold by us in January 2015 as part of the Donald G. Partrick Collection.

    Standish Barry of Baltimore was one of two Maryland silversmiths to take it upon themselves to strike silver coins in the years between the end of the Revolutionary War and the establishment of the Mint at Philadelphia, John Chalmers having struck several types of silver coins in Annapolis in 1783. Both coinages saw extensive circulation, judging from the condition of surviving examples. Beyond the simple need to provide a circulating medium, however, the exact motivations behind the coining of the Barry threepence are uncertain. The unusually precise date -- beautifully preserved on this example -- has led to speculation that it may have been issued to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, though Independence Day as such was inconsistently and mostly unofficially observed at the time.

    The identity of the obverse figure has also been the subject of much speculation, with Barry himself and George Washington being the most commonly proposed identifications. In the Spring 2009 issue of the C4 Newsletter, however, Max B. Spiegel discussed his discovery of an 1843 article from the Baltimore Sun stating that the figure depicted was James Calhoun, who was serving in a position analogous to Mayor in Baltimore on July 4, 1790. Comparison of contemporary portraits of Calhoun and the threepence's obverse figure strongly suggest that this attribution is accurate. An exciting opportunity to acquire this classic early American rarity. Listed on page 77 of the 2018 Guide Book.
    From The Julian Kaufman Collection. (NGC ID# 2B5N, PCGS# 609)

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Julian Kaufman Collection ]

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  | PCGS Guarantee of Grade and Authenticity  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2018
    3rd-8th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 460

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 18 days left to consign to the 2018 September 5 - 11 Long Beach Expo World Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach!

    Learn about consigning with us

    The results exceeded our expectations by approximately 50%, and we are so happy that we went with Heritage Auction for the sale of the coins.
    H. Walter K.,
    Barnstable, MA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 June 14 - 17 LB Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    2018 June 14 - 17 LB Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    REALIZED SO FAR $18,095,714
    2018 April 20 - 23 CCE World Coins Signature Auction - Chicago
    2018 April 20 - 23 CCE World Coins Signature Auction - Chicago
    REALIZED $8,458,987
    2018 April 26 - 30 CSNS World Currency Signature Auction - Chicago
    2018 April 26 - 30 CSNS World Currency Signature Auction - Chicago
    REALIZED $937,134