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Lot 30367

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 30367
Date 1737
/Catalog #
Grade 20
Service NGC
Denomination HIGLEY
Description 1737 COPPER Higley Copper, VALUE ME AS YOU PLEASE - Scratches - NGC Details. VF. Crosby VIII-21, Freidus 3.1-B.a, W-8240, R.7. 142.7 grains. The legend VALUE ME AS YOU PLEASE holds a special place in numismatic legend. The story was related by Sylvester S. Crosby in Early Coins of America: {blockquote}"We have heard it related of Higley, that being a frequent visitant at the public house, where at that time liquors were a common and unprohibited article of traffic, he was accustomed to pay his 'scot' in his own coin, and the coffers of the dram-seller soon became overburdened with this kind of cash, (an experience not at all likely to cause trouble to collectors of the present day), of the type which proclaims its own value to be equal to what was then the price of 'potation,' - three pence. "When complaint was made to Higley, upon his next application for entertainment, which was after a somewhat longer absence than was usual with him, he presented coppers bearing the words, "Value me as you please" "I am good copper." "Whether this 'change of base' facilitated the financial designs of the ancient coiner, or not, we have never been informed: sure we are however, that should he be aware of the immense appreciation in the value of his coppers, since that day, it would amply reward him for the insulting conduct of the publican. "We cannot vouch for the truth of this 'legend,' but we believe those first issued bore the words, 'The value of three pence,' and, whatever the cause, subsequent issues more modestly requested the public to value them according to their own ideas of propriety, although they did not refrain from afterwards proclaiming their own merits."{/blockquote} As Samuel Higley continued to produce his copper coinage from locally mined ore, he obviously acquired a punch for the letter U, rather than adapting a V as he had on the previous type that reads VALVE instead of VALUE, as seen here. The 3.1-B.a is one of the more "plentiful" varieties, with an estimated eight pieces known. Variety 3 coins are difficult to attribute, even to differentiate from Variety 2 pieces, because most are found heavily worn. As Daniel Freidus points out: "If the word 'VALVE' is not sharp, Type 3 may be distinguished from Type 2 by other diagnostics. The star is rotated differently and there is a dot between 'PLEASE' and the star which follows it. In addition, on Type 2, the spaces between 'ME AS YOU' are greater than the spaces between these words on all three dies of Type 3. There is also a distinctive die cud in the field of die 2." This piece is identifiable as a Variety 3.1 by a single broad line relative to the line above the III. This example is also conveniently featured as the plate coin for Variety 3.1 in the 1994 ANS reference. Each side is deep brown with just slightly lighter reddish-tinged brown over the devices. The scratches listed by NGC are in the form of an X on each side. The devices are remarkably well-detailed on this piece. The only area of softness is in the area of the word YOU near the obverse rim. All three crowned hammers are sharply defined on the reverse. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $47,000.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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