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Lot 30065

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 30065
Date 1786
/Catalog #
Grade 30
Service NGC
Denomination CONNCT
Description 1786 COPPER Connecticut Copper, Mailed Bust Right, Large Ornate Head VF30 NGC. M. 2.5-V, W-2495, R.8. 154.3 grains. Die alignment: 135 degrees. This variety has variously been described as Miller 2.3-T and Miller 2.5-V, and appears both ways on accompanying envelopes with the coin. For purposes of the present catalog, we are retaining the 2.5-V attribution, although that nomenclature will likely change in the future as the series is studied in more detail. What will likely not change is the extreme rarity and numismatic importance of this variety that we believe is unique. The term Bungtown references the so-called Bungtown Mint of North Swansea, Massachusetts. However, that term should not be interpreted as referring to a single facility. These pieces were also known by the British term Evasion coppers, suggesting that they had a storied or legendary history. There is nothing dramatic about the label, as the term Evasion simply means that some feature of the coin was deliberately falsified to evade counterfeiting laws. On this particular variety, reverse T has the D in INDE punched backward, and that was seemingly enough for the maker to avoid arrest. Many of the Evasion coppers are confused with Machin's Mills pieces, although they were produced elsewhere. The field of Bungtown coppers consists of numerous coins with differing die characteristics. Several pieces carry the Connecticut legend, AUCTORI CONNEC. The earliest published work was Counterfeit Half Pence Current in the American colonies, and Their Issue from the Mints of Connecticut and Vermont, by Wyllys Betts, and published by the American Numismatic & Archaeological Society (ANS) in 1886. This publication is available online at Google Books. In that work, Betts described this basic variety: {blockquote}"The rude half penny of 1786, ..., has a somewhat striking resemblance to a Connecticut cent in my possession (No. 7) having a small head of Negro type facing the right, with the legend . AUCTORI. .CONNEC. The reverse shows a mere skeleton for the goddess, and bears a British shield, but with the legend INDE: :ET - the D being reversed."{/blockquote} The die designation of these pieces continues to evolve, and has generated considerable discussion over the last 50 years, beginning with Edward Barnsley's March 1964 Colonial Newsletter article, "Miller's Connecticut Listings Updated." Barnsley designates the variety as 2.3-T, writing: {blockquote}"W. Betts reported this combination in 1886 and illustrated both dies in his line engraving No. 7. He stated that the coin was then in his possession. ... Miller did not mention this piece, however, and it remained unclassified until 1963 when E.P. Newman suggested to the writer the designation 2.3-T."{/blockquote} Connecticut researcher Randy Clark published an article in the Fall 2010 issue of The C4 Newsletter that provides considerable updated information about these crudely beautiful coins. In "Taxonomy Changes for a Family of Crude Connecticut Coppers," Clark discusses three obverse dies and two reverse dies, along with a related GEORGIVS III obverse muled with the second reverse. Clark's article reviews past literature and proposes a new numbering scheme for these varieties. Research continues. The Newman coin compares quite favorably to all known Bungtown coppers. The smooth surfaces combine emerald and golden-tan on the obverse, with tan and steel-brown on the reverse. Faint verdigris is noted although of no concern, and other surface marks are non-existent. Prospective bidders are encouraged not to evade this evasion copper. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society; possibly ex: Dr. Thomas Hall; Virgil Brand; B.G. Johnson. Realized $99,875.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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