Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 8

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Lot 3

Pine Tree Shilling, small planchet 1652. PCGS graded VF-30. This coin appears to be Noe-29, with the D in ENGLAND first rotated 180°, then corrected. A choice coin for the grade, the fields are a natural medium gray color, while the devices are uniformly lighter in color. Well centered and struck, with the M is obviously double cut on the obverse. Trouble-free wear and surfaces, without planchet problems. Die steel for coinage was very hard to come by in early America, hence dies were used and reused and then used some more to strike desperately needed coinage. When a die cracked or broke, it was repaired by either lapping down the surfaces or reingraving the devices (sometimes both). Many coins reflect the worn or broken condition of the dies, and it is evident that a great struggle was unfolding to keep the first authorized silver coinage in circulation. About as nice as these are found, PCGS has yet to grade any in mint state of this size and type.

One of the first colonies set up in what later became this country, was the Massachusetts Bay Colony. As the population grew, the need for coinage or some circulating medium grew also. In the 1630s a loose barter system prevailed, any "hard currency" (copper, silver or gold) was siphoned off back to Britain through both taxes and by selling the colonists goods at inflated prices. Purchases were made by trading goods for goods: furs, fish, grain, musket balls, wampum, shells etc…. The only coins in circulation in Massachusetts at the time were outdated English farthings and presumably Spanish silver, which would have been used by passing merchant ships and buccaneers stopping by Boston as a port of call. King Charles I of England was executed, and his forces were defeated by 1651, thus the royal regulations governing the Colony were no longer relevant. The General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony authorized John Hull and Robert Saunderson to strike much needed silver in the denominations of XII Pence or Shilling, VI Pence and III Pence in mid 1652. The first coinage was the NE issues, followed a year later by the Willow Tree issues, later Oak Tree Issues and finally the various Pine Tree issues. The date 1652 was continuously used for decades, as the Colony had no technical authority to strike its own coins. Later, when King Charles II restored order in England, he allowed the coinage to continue, after paying the King's taxes.
Many of the large size Oak Tree and Pine Tree pieces were bent as the 1692 Salem witch trials unfolded, as the local citizens believed that carrying a bent silver coin would offer protection from witches. For this reason, Hull made the planchets smaller, but thicker, to make the coins harder to bend, and harder to "clip" silver off of by shaving the edges, spending the lighter weight coin, and keeping the silver shavings for recoining.
Massachusetts silver coins are among the most important colonial issues, as they were the first silver coins struck in the continental United States, they circulated widely, including Canada and even caused one of the first American uprisings against Britain, when Hulls coinage came into question by Royal authorities.
Estimated Value $2,000 - 2,500.
Purchased from Ira S. Reed 6/13/44 for $25.00.

Realized $2,875

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