Some Interesting Pieces That Never Made The Website

Over the years, we at New England Rarities handle some pretty cool things. Many of the items that we get never make it to our website for resale. Some are specifically purchased for customers want lists. Some are items found at major shows that we can only get a quick cell phone picture of before making a few phone calls and placing the coin in a new home.   Others still are pieces that we purchase at a show and are sold before we even leave the convention.

We went through some of our photo files for the past year, and have selected some examples sold that have never been featured on the website before.   Enjoy!

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1766 Pitt Halfpenny Choice Uncirculated Ex. Robison Collection (Stacks 2/82 Lot 67)

This is a beautiful example of this popular colonial issue. This piece shows exceptional medium brown color with ample luster and some mint red remaining in the legends. Described in the Robison Sale as “No signs of wear, just the faintest friction on the high points. One of the nicest we have seen”.

This coin came from an old-time collection and the new owner is very pleased to have it amongst their cabinet today!

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1787 Vermont RR-15 VG8

This is a very respectable example of this extremely scarce and sought after Vermont variety. Distinctive for its large cud at the date, this is the only 1787 dated Vermont that features a Bust Left obverse design. The surfaces are evenly rough, as most examples are, but all the important design elements are visible.

This piece was purchased from a long time customer of ours and featured at the Baltimore Convention in March, where it was promptly added to a well-known colonial collection. Three people on the first day of the show were strongly interested in it, but only one could own it. In fact, it sold so quickly we only have this cellphone image of the coin in our files.

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1787 New Jersey Maris 6-C The Pattern Shield XF45

This is a beautiful example of one of the more popular NJ die varieties. This piece shows excellent medium brown color with choice and glossy surfaces. This coin would reside right at the bottom of the Condition Census for the variety.

This piece is an old friend, being sold by us years ago. We were delighted at the EAC Convention to have the opportunity to purchase the coin again. After one phone call, the coin quickly found a happy new home!

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1787 New Jersey Maris 34-J Overstruck on a George I Halfpenny F15 

This is a fairly common coin with an extremely rare undertype. The GEORGIVS REX can be fully seen on the reverse, strongest right above the shield and continuing around the right shield lines. This is only the third confirmed NJ with a George I Halfpenny undertype.

This coin came “out of the woodwork” and found a new home with a well-known NJ specialist after being featured at the colonial coin happening event at EAC.

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1772 Machins Mills Halfpenny Vlack 24-72C XF45

An incredible example of this very rare Machins die variety. This piece shows dark olive brown color with mostly smooth and attractive surfaces. The detail remaining is exceptional for the variety, with most known pieces showing little to nothing of the obverse design.

This piece is totally new to the census and is one of the finest known for the die variety. It now resides with a well-known Machins Mills specialist. 

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1774 Machins Mills Halfpenny Vlack 3-74A XF40

A very choice and appealing example of this scarce die variety. The Vlack 3-74A when found is often in very low grade with all sorts of post-strike issues. This piece was a very nice surprise, showing glossy light brown color and no damage of any kind.

This piece was found by a dealer friend of ours and offered to us in June. It was placed just a short week or so later with a well-known collector of choice and high grade colonial coins.

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(ca. 1785) Bar Cent PCGS AU58 

This is a beautiful original example of this ever-popular colonial issue. This piece shows choice light brown color with glossy and smooth surfaces. There are no marks or problems of any kind. Just a perfect coin for the grade, just missing the Uncirculated grade level.

This piece was found in the same old time collection the Pitt Token came from. After submitting the coin to PCGS, it found a happy home very quickly.

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Double (possibly Triple) Struck Blacksmith Token VF/XF

This is just something that is really cool! This is the first major error we are aware of in the Blacksmith token series. This coin is boldly double struck, showing major doubling of the head and denticles. Evidence of a triple strike can also be seen when lining up the denticles on the obverse. A true rarity and a very cool piece of history.

This coin came from a well-known dealer and we were very excited when it was shown to us. We knew it would not last long, and we were correct as it sold to the first collector we reached out to.

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1860 Smoker Token/Woodgate Reverse PCGS MS66BN

One of the nicest copper Smoker tokens we have personally ever seen. The color is exceptional and the sufaces are fully proof-like and glossy. Areas of original mint red are visible as well. An exceptional coin.

We found this piece earlier in the year at a major convention. After seeing it, we could not pass it up. A day after returning home from the show, the coin was already in the mail to the new owner.

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Smith and Hartmann Young America/E. Jacobs and Son NGC MS63

This is a very interesting coin with one of the finest obverse designs we have seen in all of tokens. This piece, struck in white metal, was previously from the Steve Tanenbaum collection of NY Merchant tokens. A very rare coin with only 3-5 examples accounted for today.

We feel this coin is incorrectly listed in the Rulau token book as being from the 1890s. This obverse design is also used with other Smith and Hartmann pieces from the late 1850s to early 1860s. Obviously this is a coin that needs more study, but we were happy to acquire it and it is the first Young America obverse that we have ever handled!

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(1860) A.C. Yates/Doremus Nixon Mule Miller NY-1033 NGC MS66RB 

A shockingly high grade example of this very rare NY mule. The color is a wonderful light brown/red mix and the surfaces show full cartwheel luster. Certainly the finest known of this variety and the first we have ever handled.

This piece came from a well-known dealer where it was previously in the Steve Tanenbaum collection. It did not last very long in our inventory, the only wait was getting it graded as it was purchased raw.

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1863 Good For A Scent/Salamander Reverse Fuld MA-115D-2b NGC AU55 

A very high grade and appealing example of this famous Store Card from Merriam. This piece is a nice yellow brown with glossy and smooth surfaces. This piece was also from the Tanenbaum collection of tokens. Finding an example in any grade is a true rarity in the market, so seeing this piece, which is certainly amongst the finest known, was a great surprise.

As soon as we saw this piece at the FUN show in Tampa, we knew that we would be quickly buying it. A short phone call later, the coin had a happy new home.

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1844 (ca.1860s) Hope Shield/Hunting Scene Token NGC MS65

A beautiful example of this extreme rarity in the Civil War Token series. The Hope Shield series is considered amongst the most beautiful designs in all of Civil War tokens. This piece, struck in brass is graded MS65 and is fully lusterous and proof-like.

This is only the second piece in the Hope Shield series we have ever offered. All are extremely rare with only 1-5 known of each design type. This is the first we have ever seen with this pairing. It sold shortly after acquiring it, and once again we only have this cellphone image of it in our files.

We are always on the lookout for top quality interesting pieces. Most of these items were sold to customers who have sent us want-lists of what they are after. We highly recommend if you are looking for specific items to send along a list to us. We see hundreds of coins every month, and of those, select the choice few that we feel our customers will be most interested in.

We hope you enjoyed seeing some of the items we placed this year. We certainly had a lot of fun and enjoyment acquiring them.

Happy Hunting!

The William Woart Token

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The William Woart token has been a mysterious early American token since it was first announced and pictured in the Colonial Newsletter in 1985 (CNL 10/85 Page 915). When first published thirty years ago, very little historical information was known about this rare item and of the man himself, William Woart. A colonial collector notices the similar design to the Massachusetts copper coinage engraved by Jacob Perkins of Newburyport or Joseph Callender of Boston.

More detailed background information on William Woart has been compiled since the 1985 CNL article, some of which is listed in the Standard Catalog of United States Tokens by Rulau. William Woart moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts sometime before the birth of his daughter, Mary, on March 9th 1801. William Woart is listed in many Almanac references as being a notary public as well as the Justice of the Peace (beginning circa 1805) in Newburyport until 1830 or later.

The token itself, listed as Rulau Mass 90, is an interesting piece. It is a uniface design with the obverse portraying a very similar Indian design to the Massachusetts coinage of the late 1780s. The legends read, W. Woart Jus Pacis. Jus Pacis is translated in Rulau as Justice and Peace, but research has shown that a better translation would be “Justice of the Peace”.

Clearly this was an item designed for William Woart, but the next logical questions are by whom, why and when? Jacob Perkins was an die engraver, inventor and businessman in Newburyport, MA until departing for England in 1818. Based on his engraving of Massachusetts coinage, one might attribute this work to Perkins. Of course, this is just speculation at this point.

The next question is why was this made? A uniface token with the legend William Woart, Justice of the Peace with part of the Massachusetts state seal might have been a business card. As an active Mason, both in Boston and Newburyport, he may have distributed these in his Masonic Lodge. It is possible that William Woart used his judicial wax seal to produce these tin tokens. A document showing his judicial seal might prove this theory, but they have been difficult to locate. A fire (circa 1811) in Newburyport destroyed many town records.

Finally, when was this rare item made? Could it be a modern counterfeit made to deceive the collector? This was an unknown item before 1985; however recent research has turned up a very interesting reference. In a famous 1863 Woodward Sale (April 28th, 29th, 30th and May 1st 1863), lot number 1800 is described as Woart, W. Jus Pacis. Indian standing, reverse plain, very rare. Clearly, it is not a modern fake. If Perkins was the engraver, one could date the Newburyport business card to the 1805 to 1818 period.

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Like many pieces of Exonumia, the William Woart token still has some mysteries to unravel, but it is a wonderful piece of early Massachusetts history. There are two (or possibly three including the Woodward auction) known, including the example shown above in the NER Collection.

In today’s internet age, so many historical books and documents are right at our fingertips. Without those resources, almost everything known about this token would come from visiting libraries and historical societies. Researching items like this is what makes collecting Exonumia so much fun and rewarding.

Happy Hunting
Mike Wierzba

Some Interesting Thoughts On Colonials and Exonumia

One of the best things about colonials and tokens is the overall rarity of so many of these pieces compared to US Type coins. Now, I admit living in Charlotte I do have a fondness for certain gold coins, but the relative cost to collectors can be so much higher! In addition, so many US Type coins are commoditized – why? Because there are so many of them! For colonials, we do have the Red Book, but even that is “just a guide” and in no way can allow for all the strike, surface and and color variations in collecting colonials. With an exceptionally small number of post-colonial, pre-US Mint coins, how many coins can be considered to look the same? Be commoditized? None, and that’s one key reason we all love this series.

Each coin has its own nuance, its own look and its own value.

Let’s take an example in US Type coins. Recently a cleaned, damaged 1878-S 50c in VG details was being offered privately for well over Red Book VG money. This coin had a mintage of 12,000 with an estimated 50 extant today. Red Book is $40,000 for a VG, Greysheets is $34,000. This is for one specific date and mintmark in a much larger series. 50 known examples equates to an R5 (or URS–7 in the Whitman Colonial book). Can you imagine paying $30-40,000 for a cleaned and damaged R5 NJ, CT or VT variety or even a top condition census token? Didn’t think so…

Tokens are even more underappreciated and high condition census pieces can be had for respectively bargain prices. Over the years New England Rarities has offered many exceptionally rare, exceptionally beautiful tokens with exceptional value. Which would you rather have? A high condition census, beautiful token with an interesting theme from the 1800s or a 2000P Lincoln Cent in PCGS MS69 Red for $2,500 with a business strike mintage of over 5.5 billion. Billion….. Telemarketing anyone?

We just enjoy working with and sharing choice colonial coins and tokens as much as you enjoy collecting them.

Happy Hunting!
Gregory Field

The C4 Convention held in conjunction with the Whitman November Baltimore Expo

Once again, it is time for one of our favorite events of the year, the C4 Convention, held in conjunction with the Whitman Baltimore Expo.  This year’s event promises to be one of the best ever, with amazing exhibits, wonderful educational events, a donated lots auction and of course the well known C4 reception on Thursday night.

We wouldn’t miss this show for anything, and we have a deluxe corner table located right in the center of the C4 section of the show.  Our table number is 715.  If you plan on attending this event, please stop by our table and say hello.  We will be featuring hundreds of choice coins, including some very nice high end colonial type, rare colonial die varieties, some choice original foreign coinage as well as some superb examples of Exonumia.

For more information on this wonderful event, we invite you to visit www.colonialcoins.org for all scheduling information.  We hope to see you there in Baltimore this week!