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Lot 30261

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 30261
Date 1652
/Catalog #
Grade 25
Service NGC
Denomination SHILNG
Description 1652 SHILNG Willow Tree Shilling VF25 NGC. Noe 3-C, W-180, Salmon 3-C, R.6. 72.4 grains. The Noe plate coin. The die alignment is slightly greater than 90 degrees. This is an exceptional example combining light champagne color and rich steel patina on the pewter-gray surfaces. Like all NE and Willow Tree coins, the planchet is imperfectly round, and the coin shows modest-quality workmanship, more an indication of the primitive conditions in 17th century New England than a sign of unskilled production. Design Unlike the threepence and sixpence denominations of Willow Tree coinage, which are each limited to a single die pair, six varieties have been identified for the shilling pieces, the Noe 3-C sharing the same obverse with the 3-D and 3-E varieties. The lack of punctuation after :ANDOM is among the diagnostics for the reverse, which shows the smallest inscription letters of the three reverse varieties. The change from the simple design of the NE series, executed with stamps punched by hand, to the more complex Willow Tree coinage, required the use of hardened steel dies. Historical Observations It is believed the dies were the work of Joseph Jenks, Sr., though that has not been definitively established. The History of Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts, Including Lynnfield, Saugus, Swampscott, and Nahant, 1629-(1893), published in 1890, reads: {blockquote} "Joseph Jenks- came from Hammersmith, in England. He was a machinist, at the Iron Foundry, and was a man of great genius, of which abundant evidence will be found in this history. He made the dies for coining the first money..." {/blockquote} Another passage, referring to the year 1652, reads: {blockquote}"This year a mint was established at Boston, for coining silver. The pieces had the word Massachusetts, with a pine tree on one side, and the letters N.E. Anno 1652, and III. VI. or XII. Denoting the number of pence, on the other. The dies for this coinage were made by Joseph Jenks, at the Iron Works." {/blockquote} Another reference, the History of the United States Patent Office, in referring to Jenks' numerous inventions, including a much improved scythe for which he was granted exclusive rights in 1646 by the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the invention of a fire engine for Boston in 1654, states: {blockquote}"In 1652, Massachusetts was short of coinage for use in its internal commerce. It decided to coin its own money, despite the fact that the English policy, at least unofficially, prohibited the colonies from coining their own money. Joseph Jenks Sr. was chosen to make the dies for striking the coins. He made dies for threepenny pieces, sixpenny pieces and shillings. They were to be of sterling silver, and by weight were to have five-sixths of the silver weight of the corresponding English coins. This lesser weight would tend to prevent their export from the colony for their silver value. Each was stamped with 'Massachusetts' and a pine tree on one side, and on the other side 'New England, Anno 1652,' together with the number of pence in Roman numerals."{/blockquote} Numismatic Commentary None of the four Willow Tree shillings offered in the October 2005 Ford sale were of the Noe 3-C variety, though two were included in the Hain Family Collection, both listed as Very Fine. Although the shilling is the more common of the three denominations, all Willow Tree specimens are rare, and deserving to be placed in the finest collectors' cabinets. Provenance This example is identified as coin number 15 on plate V in the Noe reference. Like the sixpence, the illustration that Noe used is attributed to a "Mid-West Coin Firm." He gave the additional provenance as "ex Crosby Coll., Haseltine 70th Sale (1883), No. 848. Cf. Ten Eyck Sale (1922), No. 731. Crosby 3dG1." Ex: Sylvester S. Crosby; John W. Haseltine (70th Sale, 1883), lot 848; Ten Eyck Collection (B. Max Mehl, 5/1922), lot 731; Mid-West Coin Firm; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $164,500.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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