||1786 COPPER New York Copper, NON VI VIRTUTE VICI, Small Head VF25 NGC. CAC. Baker-13, W-5730, R.6. 115.7 grains, 99% copper per NGC metallurgical tests. Considered a part of the New York copper series on the strength of the reverse legend, the NON VI VIRTUTE VICI coppers are rare and popular with collectors. The obverse legend translates to: I have conquered not by violence but by virtue. The obverse bust is said to be that of George Washington, and certainly resembles him. For that reason, these are listed in the Baker reference on Washingtonia, and pursued by specialists of that material, as well as by New York colonial collectors. The Eric P. Newman example represents the most plentiful of three varieties, with about two dozen examples known. The other two varieties are the 1786 Large Head (two known), and the unique marriage combining a crude obverse with a New Jersey Shield reverse. Each of the three is a unique die pairing, with no links to the other varieties. Where these pieces were made, and by whom, is unknown. Breen suggested James F. Atlee at a private mint in New York City, but there is no basis other than unreliable punch linkage. This conservatively graded example has smooth and pleasing olive-brown surfaces with splashes of gray-steel patina on both sides. The surfaces are glossy, and the strike is nicely centered with bold borders. The apparent lack of detail reflects as much the die engraving as it does actual wear. The Ford example, graded Choice AU, shows only slightly more detail than this example from the Newman Collection. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
Realized $38187.50. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.