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COLONIAL COINAGE

1776 Pewter 'Currency' S$1 Continental
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1776 Pewter 'Currency' S$1 Continental
NGC AU 58
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1776 $1 Continental Dollar, CURENCY, Pewter NGC AU-58 Bold PQ No denomination is specified on either side of the Continental dollar, but the diameter is similar to that of the Spanish Pillar dollar, upon which the U.S. dollar was eventually based. The designs are clearly based upon the February 17, 1776 issues of Continental Congress currency, which uses the same sundial and linked chains motifs, and the same legends FUGIO (Latin for "time flies"), MIND YOUR BUSINESS, AMERICAN CONGRESS, and WE ARE ONE. The names of the 13 colonies are inscribed, sometimes in abbreviated form, within individual rings. Perhaps, the Continental dollars are prototypes for a silver dollar currency, which if produced, would redeem the unbacked Continental paper money issued in quantity to fund the Revolutionary War. Most known examples are struck in white metal, which gives them the general appearance of silver, particularly when unworn. Many pieces are in VF and lower grades, which indicates they circulated. Probably, silver examples were intended to be coined in sufficient numbers to redeem the pewter pieces actually struck. A few silver pieces are known, but these are likely patterns for the circulating issue that never materialized. A lack of silver bullion condemned the Continental government to a fiat currency. Silver dollars were not struck by the United States until 1794, nearly twenty years later.
For the Continental dollars that do exist, five obverse dies and four reverse dies were used. None suggest a denomination, aside from the legend CONTINENTAL CURRENCY (or CURRENCEY, or CURENCY, as on the present piece.) Yet their historical significance is obvious, since the pieces were issued by the Revolutionary government, contemporary with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin is often credited with the designs. Elisha Gallaudet, whose initials are on Newman 3-D, was the engraver. Gallaudet also engraved the February 17, 1776 Continental Currency fractional notes.
The present specimen displays fields and devices which are in our opinion not only uncirculated but even a tad better. Certainly better than choice AU which is shown on the holder from NGC. Perhaps the compromise is that we can safely say this prize of American Numismatics is genuinely and ultimately graded by NGC quite conservatively. Near razor sharpness on some of the high points of the devices with near gem fields. Certainly a worthy candidate for the cabinets of exemplar condition and of true Americana.

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