Extremely Rare New England Shilling, VF20 PCGSUndated (1652) SHILNG New England Shilling VF20 PCGS. Breen-8, Noe-III-C. 70.8 grains. By the 1630s, the British mercantilist system had virtually stripped the Massachusetts Bay Colony of circulating specie. Furthermore, royal edicts forbade the colony from producing its own coinage to fill the void. During the late 1640s, however, King Charles I was executed, royalist forces were defeated at the Battle of Worcester, and the royal edicts lost the enforcement power that they possessed before the English Revolution. In May 1652, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony authorized John Hull and Robert Saunderson to produce silver disks of proper weight for Shilling, Sixpence, and Threepence denominations. These were the first coins produced in what is now the United States.
All examples were delivered between June 11 and October 19, 1652. The ease with which these simple-design coins could be clipped and passed at full value led to their replacement by the Willow Tree issues in 1653. Hence their extreme rarity today.
The NE inscription for New England appears on the obverse of the Shilling, Sixpence, and Threepence. The denomination XII, for Twelvepence, or one Shilling, is prominent on the reverse of the largest denomination. Six varieties of NE Shillings are known, and the number of survivors for all of these die marriages totals only 50 coins, or thereabouts.
The present example displays original, medium gray color with a relatively smooth planchet for its grade level. The NE inscription on the obverse is quite weakly struck, while the denomination XII on the reverse is much more distinct, although a little worn. There are some planchet flaws (as struck) near the upper obverse border, and these features explain why the NE inscription is not well defined.
Despite having bought, sold, and auctioned more than $2 billion in rare coins, this is the first NE Shilling that we have handled in the 18 years since Heritage co-owner Jim Halperin moved from Boston to Dallas--a clear indicator of this Colonial issue's extreme rarity. Listed on page 16 of the 2001 Guide Book.
Ex: Bowers & Ruddy Rare Coin Review (No. 16, 1972), where it sold for $5,950; Springfield Collection (Bowers & Ruddy, 9/81), lot 1703, where it realized $8,000.
From the Collection of Dr. Joseph M. Seventko. (NGC ID# 2AR9, PCGS# 13)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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