||1766 1/2P William Pitt Halfpenny MS65 Brown NGC. CAC. Betts-519, Breen-251, W-8350, R.3. 86.0 grains. This impressive Gem Pitt halfpenny is the finest that we have offered, exceeding a single MS64 Brown example that we sold in January 2007, and offered again in May 2008. The surfaces of this lustrous olive-brown example host delicate blue overtones, with traces of original orange mint color hidden in the design elements. The well-centered strike is bold, save for slight weakness over Pitt's ear. William Pitt (1708-1778) served two terms as British Prime Minister, from 1757 to 1761, and from 176 to 1768. He is known as William Pitt, the Elder, to distinguish him from his son, William Pitt, the Younger, who also twice served as Prime Minister, from 1783 to 1801 and from 1804 to 1806. The elder William Pitt was known as the "Great Commoner" who is remembered for his criticism of British policy against the American colonies. Pitt was also a skillful wartime leader during the Seven Years' War. A friend of Liberty and Trade, William Pitt upheld Parliament's right to legislate the colonies, but he also agreed with the colonists that the right of Parliament did not extend to taxation. Pitt spoke out against his brother-in-law, Prime Minister George Grenville, who continued to defend the Stamp Act. The American colonists admired Pitt, and named their ships, towns, and babies after him. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
Realized $20562.50. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.