1776 Continental Dollar, Pewter, “Currency” NGC MS61 – Struck in the year when the United States were founded and was in a war with its former mother country, Great-Britain, these issues have been immensely popular. Directly related to the founding of the United States, with mottos like “Mind Your Business”, “We are one” and names of the original thirteen states on it, they are also artistic works of art. With the inclusion of the famed 1776 date, any example of this issue is considered to be a true prize in a collection of early American coinage.
This die pair is pictured in the 1875 book on colonial coinage written by Sylvester S. Crosby, a reference work which is still in use among numismatic researchers to this day. It also is identified as Newman 2-C, and in his Encyclopedia as Breen-1092. He had noticed that “UNC specimens are mostly dull”, and in fact, from our experience this appears to be the case. Most resources list these pieces as rarity 3, but they appear to be much scarcer, especially in high grade. Struck in pewter, apparently as a pattern of the dollar denomination, although both those details have been disputed for a long time.
The devices on both the obverse and reverse had appeared on colonial currency during the early 1770s. The chain of thirteen states was to give the states a common identity as a new country, strong and tight together. While their status has been disputed by many researchers, they are now believed to be patterns meant to replace the many different varieties of lower value colonial paper money. Examples are also found in silver, of which Crosby only knew of one. Because of their similarity to the later silver dollars, they have also been claimed to be of that denomination, although that is usually considered to be part of numismatic tradition.
Always in demand for their history, pieces are usually quickly traded. Certified by NGC in a new holder, this particular coin is a true uncirculated specimen. Struck in pewter, a metal not used for regular American coinage, consisting of mostly tin. Pieces of this metal are usually extremely vulnerable, especially after 200 years and many show heavy rust and/or oxidation in some sort. This piece has some of it, but has excellent eye-appeal when viewed in hand. For the collector of early American coinage, or anyone seeking part of American history at its very beginning, this is a wonderful coin which is destined to move fast.
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