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1787 New York Excelsior Copper, Eagle Left, BN

Image Information

Type Coin
Title 1787 New York Excelsior Copper, Eagle Left, BN
Date 1787
Grade EF45
Service NGC
Service Catalog # 427
Denomination N YORK

1787 COPPER New York Excelsior Copper, Eagle Left, Breen-980, W-5785, R.6, XF45 NGC. Die alignment: 180?. The figures of Liberty and Justice flank the Arms of the State of New York on this classic coin from the Confederation era. This is a well-preserved example, with strong details to the major design elements. The center is softly struck, mostly affecting the sunrise over the mountains on the obverse and the shield of the reverse. The color is a pleasing tan to medium brown, slightly darker around the obverse figures. A few minor nicks here and there are commensurate with the grade assigned and do not detract from the eye appeal of the piece. A couple of spots of the reverse eagle's wings are noted, as is a small scratch above its head. The 1787 Excelsior coppers are generally regarded as having been made by Ephraim Brasher and John Bailey as a proposed coinage design for New York. The relationship between Brasher and Bailey is uncertain, however. While it is known that the two petitioned the State Assembly for permission to coin coppers, Breen (Complete Encyclopedia, page 92) suggests that it is not clear whether they did so together or separately. The Journal of the Assembly for February 12, 1787, quoted by Crosby, is more direct and states that: "The several petitions of John Bailey and Ephraim Brasher, relative to the Coinage of Copper within this State, were read, and referred to Mr. Brooks, Mr. Galatian, and Mr. Duboys" (page 290). The word "several" used here unambiguously means "separate." That said, evidence derived from the coins themselves suggests at the very least a close level of cooperation between the two if not a formal partnership. There are strong stylistic resemblances between the Excelsior coppers and the Brasher doubloon, as well as to the Nova Eborac issues and Non Vi Virtute Vici pieces associated with the pair. While the full story of their production may never be known, the Excelsior coppers remain among the most desirable issues of the Confederation period. This is the better of only two examples of this variety graded by NGC. Listed on page 66 of the 2018 Guide Book. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.

Heritage Newman IX, November 2017, lot 15022, realized $28800. Images and description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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Image Collection Eric P. Newman Collection, Part IX
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