Rare New Jersey Copper Variety Surfaces
Second Maris 18-L coin brings $105,655 on eBay By Mike Sussman
Rare New Jersey Copper Variety Surfaces on eBay: On June
1, 1786 New Jersey authorized state coinage. Its authority
to do so was granted in the Articles of Confederation that
granted both the federal government and individual states
the right to coin money. Early copper coins of New Jersey
are collected by die variety. On February 6, 2011, a new
record was set as an extremely rare variety that sold for
$105,655.55. This was the highest price realized for any
coin ever sold on eBay. No colonial coin has sold for an
amount even close to $100,000 in prior eBay sales.
The die combination, known as Maris 18-L, was previously
believed to be unique. The eBay piece is the second known.
The Professional Coin Grading Service gave the newly discovered
piece a grade of VF35, which is significantly better than
the earlier known example which grades VG and last appeared
in a 1984 auction.
Dr. Edward Maris wrote his A Historical Sketch of the Coins
of New Jersey in 1881. It describes the common and rare
die matches in the New Jersey coin series. Prior to the
eBay auction, the record for a copper of New Jersey was
$322,000. This price was realized for a 1786 Maris 7-E in
the 2003 Stack’s auction of John J. Ford’s New
Jersey coppers. The Maris 7-E is the Date Under Plowbeam
The opening eBay bid was $999. It advanced to $20,000 in
two days. Until the last six seconds of the auction, the
high bid was $55,500 with an underbid of $71,000. However,
the winner took the piece with a bid of $105,655.55.
The record setting Maris 18-L seems to be an ordinary copper
of New Jersey because shares an obverse die with the Maris
18-M and is a “Bridle” variety. However, the
reverse die, the L, is usually found paired with the Maris
16 obverse, the “Protruding Tongue.” It is this
pairing of the 18 obverse and the L reverse that makes the
coin so rare. The coin, according to specialist Michael
Wierzba, is “…one or the few New Jerseys that
collectors today have not had the opportunity to acquire.”
The coin is also important because it was considered unique
when described by Maris in his original work and was thought
to be unique until the eBay sale.
The Maris 18-L had been submitted to the American Numismatic
Association Certification Service around 1986 and received
a grade from them of VF. The certificate from ANACS was
also sold with the coin, which had the following description
on eBay: “…an exceptionally nice specimen with
light brown surfaces showing light even wear for the grade
without the usual imperfections of a colonial coin.”
The really rare New Jersey coppers are Rarity 7 and Rarity
8 pieces. Rarity 7 means that 4 to 12 are known to exist
in all conditions, and Rarity 8 means that 1 to 3 are known.
Usually these coins are found in lower grades that also
show problems such as corrosion or harsh cleaning.
The coin’s new owner is someone who has collected
Colonial coins for a long period of time and wishes to be
anonymous. He was extremely pleased and said of his purchase,
“…there are very few in this kind of choice