Lot #18. Undated (1737) Higley or Granby Copper. Standing Deer, VALUE ME AS YOU PLEASE III. W-8280, Friedus 3.3-C, Crosby-25. URS-3. J CUT MY WAY THROUGH, Broad Axe. Fine-15 (PCGS).
The September 2009 Philadelphia Rarities Sale - 9/22/2009
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Dr. Samuel Higley owned and operated a copper mine near Granby, Connecticut until his death in 1737. An enterprising individual in the true Colonial spirit, Higley smelted his own ore, prepared dies and issued coins in pure copper extracted from his mint. Although the Higley coins (or tokens) constitute a private issue that was never officially authorized, the pieces may have enjoyed initial success in the coinage-starved American Colonies. Before Higley's death, however, he had issued enough coins to outstrip local demand, causing a debasement of their value. He continued to issue new pieces, nonetheless, these displaying the ingenious inscription VALUE ME AS YOU PLEASE. Of the numerous designs issued by Higley, most feature a standing deer on the obverse and either three crowned hammers or a broad axe on the reverse. Survivors of all types are very rare-to-unique, most with heavy wear attesting to the fact that these coppers did serve as a active medium of exchange long after Higley's death.
PCGS has mounted this coin with the reverse up in the holder. As typically seen for the type, this piece is heavily worn with isolated areas on both sides smooth and devoid of definition. Such areas are few, however, and we note that most major design elements are discernible, if not boldly outlined. The centering is quite good, as well, and we see no major post-production detractions. Sizeable planchet flaws are noted, however, especially at the lower-left obverse border. A reverse cut from the lower rim to the blade of the axe is also worthy of mention. An excellent pedigree marker, this mark might be a test cut to determine the purity of the copper. Light roughness to the texture is also evident in centers, but many areas are relatively smooth, and color is a pleasing shade of medium copper-brown patina. Extremely rare, the URS rating assigned by Q. David Bowers in the new book Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins suggests that there are only three of four examples of this variety known to exist.