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Lot 30013

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 30013
/Catalog #
Grade 65
Service NGC
Description 1773 1/2P Virginia Halfpenny, Uniface Reverse Die Sample Strike MS65 NGC. Newman Reverse RM. 337.6 grains. Lead. Nine Harp Strings. During an investigation of existing dies at the Royal Mint by Graham Dyer and Peter Gaspar, a nine stringed reverse harp Virginia "tool" was discovered. Their investigation led them to speculate that the "tool" was either an unhardened and unused Virginia reverse die or a master matrix. What the "tool" actually represents is still a matter of controversy. All known Virginia halfpence have six, seven, or eight harp strings on the reverse, while this die has nine harp strings. Other differences are also observed. The fourth quarter of the Hanoverian shield at the lower right depicts a sem´┐Że of hearts composed of six elements. Only five elements appear on all known production dies of the series. The individual letters and numbers are all well-formed and similar to the so-called Virginia 'penny' but unlike most other production dies. Eric P. Newman plated this exact piece in his 1956 reference, Coinage for Colonial Virginia, with a notation on page 39 of that reference that 'The illustration on Plate VI is from a struck impression made from the die.' This piece was struck by the Royal Mint specifically on the request of Newman, who describes it as "pot metal." Newman provided a brief description of the die in his reference. There is no mention of the die in Breen's Complete Encyclopedia, nor in the Whitman Colonial Encyclopedia. We have neither seen nor heard of another, and hold the opinion that it is unique. In a 2004 email to Roger Moore, Newman noted in part that this piece is thick, and its weight is meaningless. The reverse impression is crisp, with medium gray surfaces showing muted luster. The planchet is rather thick with a squared edge. The blank reverse has a raised rim. The Virginia colonial aficionado should not discount the importance of this piece. Ex: Royal Mint; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $7,637.50. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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