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Lot 30260

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 30260
Date 1652
/Catalog #
Grade 25
Service NGC
Denomination 6PENCE
Description 1652 6PENCE Willow Tree Sixpence VF25 NGC. Noe 1-A, W-130, Salmon 1-A, R.6. 32.0 grains. The plate coin from the famous 1943 Noe reference, The New England and Willow Tree Coinages of Massachusetts. The die alignment is nearly 360 degrees. A wonderful example, this specimen shows medium gray surfaces with subtle rose toning on the high points, including some design elements, and areas of smoothness on the lightly worn surfaces. A few old surface dents are inconsequential on this rare 17th century New England silver coin. Design A single die pair is known with a rudimentary engraving of a willow tree inside a central circle of dots. The legend IN MASACHVSETS encircles the margin within an outer circle of beads, usually incomplete. The reverse has the date 1652 above the VI denomination within a central beaded circle, the legend NEW ENGLAND ADOM around the margin, within an outer dotted circle, also usually incomplete. Historical Observations An order dated October 19, 1652 was issued, mandating a change in design from the original NE pieces stating (original spelling preserved): "ffor the prevention of washing or Clipping of all such peices of mony as shall be Cojned wthin this Jurisdiction. It is Ordered by this Courte and the Authoritje thereof, that henceforth all peices of mony Cojned as afore sajd shall have a double Ring on either side, with this Inscription- Massachuesetts, and a tree in the Center on the one side, and New England and the yeere of our lord on the other side, according to this draught here in the margent." Numismatic Commentary Noe's census contained ten sixpence examples, with one piece part of the Massachusetts Historical Society collection and another residing at Yale University from the Mabel B. Garvan collection. According to the 2014 Guide Book, there are fourteen known examples of the Willow Tree sixpence today. Our recent offering of The Old New England Collection included an amazing two examples, one displaying Fine Details and the other exhibiting Very Fine Details. In his monograph, Noe writes: {blockquote}"Contrary to what we should expect, the smaller flans for these denominations do not seem to have made their striking any freer from the defects of the shillings. Even when they are worn, however, there is little difficulty in distinguishing the Willow from the Oak Tree sixpences, since with the Oak Tree coins there is always a relationship between the branches and the trunk of the tree, while in the Willow Tree issues all semblance of branches is wanting. Up to the present, but one pair of dies for each denomination has come to our knowledge." {/blockquote} Careful numismatic study over the intervening seven decades confirms a single pair of dies for both the sixpence and threepence Willow Tree coins. Referring to the Willow Tree coinage in the Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins, Bowers states, "The tree is amorphous and consists of curls and squiggles rather than a depiction of any particular botanical species." The "identification" of the trees depicted in the various Massachusetts Silver series was not contemporary to the period and was not consistent afterward for two centuries. Noe's research did not locate a reference to the coins of that series as willow trees prior to the sale of the Joseph Mickley collection in 1867. An 1865 catalog description referred to the design as a palmetto tree. Provenance This is a Noe Plate Coin, labeled as coin number 6 on plate VII of The New England and Willow Tree Coinages of Massachusetts, by Sydney P. Noe and published as part of the Numismatic Notes and Monographs series by The American Numismatic Society. Noe identified the source of the illustration as a "Mid-West Coin Firm," sounding much like B.G. Johnson's St. Louis Stamp and Coin Company. Ex: Mid-West Coin Firm; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $64,625.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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