Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 48

Lot 1213

1776 Continental Currency. "CURRENCY". Pewter. PCGS graded MS-63. A well struck beauty! On an excellent planchet and loaded with mint luster. A very choice Brilliant Uncirculated specimen, light pewter-grey mellowing here and there. We note one perfectly round toning spot in the vacant field above the sun dial as the only blemish worthy of mention.

Such a splendid example of the issue deserves more than passing mention since the coin is boldly lustrous. Attractive silver gray surfaces display pewter gray accents. Generous amounts of luster are contained on both sides, especially within the recessed areas of the design such as the shading lines on the inner rim of the links on the reverse. Sharply struck in all areas with clear facial details on the radiant sun on the obverse. All of the reverse lettering and design are equally sharp, similarly crisp. Problem free and evidently lovingly cared for in the more than two centuries since its striking. In the date, the 1 is marginally smaller than the C in CONTINENTAL immediately to the left of the numeral. It, along with the other three digits, is italicized while the remaining legend is in normal letters. The date numerals become larger through to the 6 which is the largest of all the numerals; "largest" being merely a concept as the italicized 6 is barely taller than the Y at the end of CURRENCY that comes immediately after the date.

The design on both sides is based on sketches by Benjamin Franklin, and first used on the paper Continental Currency notes of February 17, 1776 and on the Fugio Cents of 1787. A Stack's researcher, in describing the design a few years ago, put it nicely: "A radiant sun face illuminates a sundial at center, with the legend FUGIO (translated as 'I Fly,' referring to the flight of time) between two solid circles, and the legend MIND YOUR BUSINESS below sundial, goading the viewer to not waste time in one's daily affairs. The legend CONTINENTAL CURRENCY 1776 is at outer obverse circumference. The reverse is composed of motifs and legends that also radiate from the center. At dead center is the legend WE ARE ONE, surrounded by a circle, followed by AMERICAN CONGRESS surrounded by a radiate circle. Around the entire circumference are linked rings inscribed with the 13 colonies' names in full or in abbreviation." Pop 7, 4 in 64. Always in demand as the First Dollar of the United States (PCGS # 794) .

Historical note: The Continental Currency unit is the first large, dollar-size coin proposed for the United States. A private issue, whose types derive ultimately from designs popularized by Benjamin Franklin, its place of minting and ultimate coinage purpose remain obscure. Silver specimens, which are very rare, appear to have been struck to a close approximation of the value of a dollar on the New York standard ($1 = 8 shillings). Specimens struck in metal de cloche may have served some currency purpose, perhaps passing as pence (again, on the New York standard, at 12 pence to the shilling). The tin specimens, which are the most commonly encountered today, can have only a conjectural purpose. Possibly, they were intended as tokens. One suggestion holds that with the shortage of copper early in the Revolutionary War, the metal necessary for the casting of cannons, the issue originally intended in metal de cloche was replaced by an issue in tin. At present, none of these questions is absolutely answered. A metrological study of the Continental Currency tends to suggest New York as the place of minting.
Estimated Value $70,000 - 80,000.

Realized $86,250

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