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1776 Continental Dollar, Pewter, “Currency”. Struck in the year when the United States were founded and was in a war with its former mother country, Great-Brittan, 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.

1776 Continental Dollar Pewter Curency NGC MS61

1776 Continental Dollar Pewter Curency NGC MS61


Washington hoists American Flag
January 1, 1776

On January 1, 1776, the Continental Army was reorganized in accordance with a Congressional resolution which placed American forces under George Washington's control. On that New Year's Day the Continental Army was laying siege to Boston which had been taken over by the British Army. Washington ordered the Grand Union flag hoisted above his base at Prospect Hill "in compliment of the United Colonies."
Authorized by the Continental Congress, the flag was called the “Congress Colors,” and because of the inclusion of crosses, General Washington has noted that the British are mistaking the intentions of the colonists.

Gadsden Flag“Common sense” flames rebellion
January 10, 1776

Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, during the American Revolution. Common Sense, signed "Written by an Englishman", became an immediate success. In relation to the population of the Colonies at that time, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book in American history. Common Sense presented the American colonists with a powerful argument for independence from British rule at a time when the question of independence was still undecided. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood; forgoing the philosophy and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, Paine structured Common Sense like a sermon and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.

Jefferson presents document for independence
June 28, 1776

A momentous step towards the separation of the Colonies from the British was made as the Second Continental Congress, led by Thomas Jefferson, presented a document that would sever ties with London. The document was crafted by Jefferson and can be described as “majestic.” It is written “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” While many are impressed by the document, not all favor independence. Jefferson was joined on the committee by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Robert Livingston.


Dying Captain motivated men
May 19, 1776

American Captain, James Mugford, became hated by the British after sailing a captured vessel, the Hope, right under the noses of the British in broad daylight and got away with it. The Hope, which was loaded with military supplies, ran aground and became attacked by the British. During the British attack, Mugford received “a fatal ball” but he managed to rally his men; “Don’t give up the ship, you will beat them off.” The American soldiers were successful in repelling the attack.

United States secures independence
July 4, 1776

The Declaration of Independence, approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, is a statement of the principles that 2 days earlier had led Congress to vote for the independence of the American colonies from Great Britain. It was designed to influence public opinion, both at home and abroad, especially in France, to which the United States looked for military support.

The drafting of the document was entrusted to a committee consisting of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston. Because of Jefferson's reputation as a literary craftsman, the committee assigned the task to him, and with minor exceptions it is his work. Jefferson drew upon a long oppositionist tradition in Britain, as well as the English and French Enlightenments, as sources for his ideas; his language and the structure of his argument, however, most closely parallel the natural-rights theories of John Locke. In justifying England's Glorious Revolution of 1688, Locke had advanced the contract theory of government, arguing that all "just" governments are founded on consent and are designed solely to protect people in their inherent rights to life, liberty, and property. Radical proponents of this theory had used it to justify civil disobedience whenever government encroached on any of the specified rights; the more conservative Jefferson held that resistance is justified only when a consistent course of policy shows an unmistakable design to establish tyranny. The document was otherwise adopted without significant change, and formal signing by 56 members of Congress began on Aug. 2, 1776.

New Yorkers destroy statue of king
July 10, 1776

A throng of Continental soldiers and New York patriots pulled down a statue of King George III riding on a horse as they celebrated the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. After the Declaration was read to the assembled troops, the Continental soldiers roared three cheers and joined the New Yorkers in a round of rejoicing. The statue had been the laughing stock of New York, as the sculptor of the statue, Wilton of London, failed to put stirrups on the horse that the King is depicted on. This gave rise to a saying among the soldiers: “The tyrant ought to ride a hard-trotting horse without stirrups.”

New Hampshire to mint copper coins
March 13, 1776

The New Hampshire legislature has appointed William Moulton to make copper coins at the current British standard weight, just over 153 grains. The Act states that the copper coin will feature the motto “American Liberty” and a pine tree on the obverse and a harp design with the date “1776” on the reverse. The copper coin will be distributed by the Treasury in £1000 quantities to the colony at a rate of three copper coins for two pence paper currency.

Paul revere to engrave Massachusetts currency
September 17, 1776

Engraver Paul Revere has been commissioned to print £50,004 in legal tender bills of credit. The legislation was approved on September 16, 1776 and the noted feature an American soldier on the back. Because of the image of the soldier, these notes have been nicknamed the “Sword in Hand” issues. The note features an oval vignette with a shipped docked at a harbor on the front, while the back depicts an American “minuteman” soldier with a copy of the Declaration of Independence in one hand and a sword in the other. Above is the motto "Issued in defence of American Liberty" and below is the motto of Massachusetts "Ense petit placidam sub Libertate Quietem." (By the sword one seeks peace under tranquil liberty). The copper plates that were used to print the notes were originally used for earlier issues of this series and some significant changes were made. Being as the new note was the first printed since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the word “colony” on the front was rubbed out and replaced with “State.”

Continental coin to be produced
April 17, 1776

On April 19, 1776 the Congress appointed a committee to determine the value of several foreign coins in relation to the Spanish dollar and on February 20, 1777 a congressional treasury committee recommended a mint be established, but nothing further was done on this matter. To date there is no evidence the Continental Currency coins were authorized or issued by the Continental Congress. The design of the Continental Currency coin is based on the designs found on Continental Congress fractional One-Sixth of a Dollar note which was designed by Benjamin Franklin.


1776 Continental Dollar - Continental Dollar - Continental Dollars - 1776 History

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