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Lot 3004


Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 3004
Date 1783
Side reverse
Grade 50
Service NGC
Service Catalog # 592
Denomination 3PENCE
Description 1783 3PENCE Chalmers Threepence AU50 NGC. CAC. Breen-1018, W-1760, R.5. 10.8 grains, 94% silver, 5% copper, per NGC metallurgical tests. John Chalmers of Annapolis issued silver threepence, sixpence, and shillings dated 1783, likely to alleviate a shortage of coinage, and as a response to the refusal of the local population to accept lightweight Spanish bits that were literally cut from Spanish milled dollars. Who could blame the citizens when unscrupulous individuals would cut five "fourths" or nine "eighths" out of a single dollar? Judging from the condition of most survivors, the Chalmers silver coins were well-received and circulated extensively, despite the estimated 8% profit that Chalmers earned on the venture, according to numismatic researcher and writer Philip Mossman. Perhaps his reputation as a community leader and former Continental Army captain aided the circulation of the Chalmers silver coins. Annapolis, Maryland, planned in 1694, was an upper-class town of brick mansions and polished society, according to an 18th century British official. The town was also a political center that served briefly as home to the U.S. Congress in late 1783 and the first half of 1784. John Chalmers operated his silversmith business in that setting, having an interest in politics and economics. That was the environment of his silver coinage. Will Nipper writes in his book In Yankee Doodle's Pocket: "They may have been advertising pieces, political statements or simply a means of satisfying his customers' need for coinage. The exact reason for their existence is unknown." The threepence are clearly rarer than the shillings, but they are seen more frequently than the sixpence. This example has splendid pewter-gray surfaces with light silver devices and traces of peripheral champagne toning. The strike is imperfectly centered, although most of the obverse border details are visible. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $25850.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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