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Colonial Coinage

1737 Higley Copper 3P
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1737 I am Higley 3P, Value Me As You Please
NGC VF25 BN
Coin ID: RC32495
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$87,200.00 - SOLD - 2/08/2011

1737 I am Higley 3P, Value Me As You Please, NGC VF25 BN. 1737 3 Pence Higley Copper, “I Am Good Copper” Value Me As You Please NGC VF25 BN. This early colonial copper token shows its major devices clearly, hence its VF25 designation. The deer, which has a lamination crack on its forequarters, is well struck for the issue. About 50% of the letters of the obverse legend are observable. The reverse is somewhat darker than the obverse but still shows the three crowned hammers and about 25% the legend I AM GOOD COPPER. The Higley Coppers were designed by Dr. Samuel Higley. The obverse shows a deer standing on a baseline, facing left. It is surrounded with the inscription VALUE ME AS YOU PLEASE. Below is the Roman numeral III in the exergue. The reverse has three hammers each of which is crowned with the inscription I AM GOOD COPPER. Researchers believe that the deer represented freedom and the hammer malleability and the manufacturing of coins. It has been calculated that three pence was about ten times the intrinsic value of the copper in the token. This valuation brought more than 450% profit to the manufacturer.

Since most Higley Coppers are double struck, researchers believe that the hammer method rather than a screw press was used to make them.

Many Higley tokens are forgeries. They have been made from casts, electrotypes, and worn imitations. Authentication is highly recommended. (All USRCI coins are authenticated and graded by one of the major grading services.)

Samuel Higley (1687-1737) was born in what is now East Granby, Connecticut. He attended Yale and eventually became a medical doctor. He also learned metallurgy and mining. In 1728 the colony of Connecticut granted him the right to make steel for ten years. That year Higley purchased land which was near a copper mining area. He discovered copper on his land and began to mine it.

Higley has been associated with Connecticut coppers since colonial times when they were first produced in 1737. Researchers believe that Higley had the skill to make steel dies needed for minting. As his exclusive right to make steel expired, he decided to go into the copper token minting business.

Although it is known that Samuel Higley was the owner, we do not know who else worked with him. Others had to have been involved. Some feel that Samuel’s brother, John Jr., may have been responsible for the coins dated 1739 and also some of the 1737’s as well. In addition the Reverend Timothy Woodbridge and William Cradock, friends of Samuel Higley, were part of a petition to get a franchise to manufacture copper coins in Connecticut. It is assumed that Woodbridge and Cradock had some role in helping or working with Higley.

Higley coppers were a reliable source of pure copper. They were used to make gold alloys by goldsmiths of the time. The legend I AM GOOD COPPER may have helped with their acceptance.

In 1864 John Bolen of Massachusetts made dies from the 1737 VALUE OF THREE PENCE coppers. He restruck 40 pieces in copper and two in silver. He sold the dies he made to F.S. Edwards, who made more examples in nickel and brass. Alfred Robinson, a banker and coin collector, used the obverse of VALUE ME AS YOU PLEASE as a storecard to advertise his business. Robinson made 20 in silver and 150 in copper, brass, tin, and plated nickel.

In their population reports both grading services have certified 5 I AM GOOD COPPER in all grades. The present coin, a VF25 is the highest. The other four are F12 or less.

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* Prices subject to change with no advance notice due to market or other reasons.

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