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8/7/2010 9:00:00 AM
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1776 Continental Dollar. W-8445, Newman 1.1-C. URS-10. CURENCY. Pewter. MS-63 (PCGS). Secure Holder.
Historic 1776 Continental Dollar Rarity
A PCGS MS-63 Example of the Newman 1.1-C CURENCY, Pewter Variety
The Continental Currency pieces (or Dollars) are among the most historically significant and important coins ever struck within the borders of what is now the United States of America. Although no documentation has ever come to light that details the origin and intended purpose of these coins, traditional numismatic wisdom has it that the coins were meant to provide hard currency backing for the paper money authorized by the Continental Congress. As such, these coins
played an important role in funding the American struggle during the Revolutionary War. We stress "would have" because the entire Continental Dollar program faltered before it ever really got off the ground, the reason being a lack of precious metal required to sustain a large production of silver pieces.
While very few silver impressions are known, more numerous in numismatic circles are the pewter strikings and, to a lesser extent, the handful of examples struck in brass. The exact nature of the brass pieces is unknown, but the pewter pieces were probably created to substitute for $1 Continental Currency notes which, although authorized by earlier resolutions, were omitted by the Continental Congress with the resolutions of July 22 and November 2, 1776. Due to their association with the $1 notes, as well as their similarity in size to later Silver Dollars of the United States Mint, the pewter Continental Currency pieces are often referred to as "Dollars."
The present example is easily attributable as it was struck from the obverse die with the word CURENCY misspelled. A late die state example, the obverse of this particular piece also exhibits a prominent die break (as struck) from the border outside the letter O in CONTINENTAL to the tops of the letters TA in the same word. The surfaces exhibit a lovely satin texture with modest hints of semi-reflectivity in the fields that are best appreciated at more direct angles. An even silver-gray sheen is noted for both sides, the striking detail for which is uniformly bold from rim-to-rim. There are hardly any blemishes of note, and pedigree concerns alone compel us to mention a row of tiny abrasions in the obverse field below the letters AL in CONTINENTAL. The reverse is rotated nearly 45 degrees clockwise from medallic alignment. Exquisite Choice quality in an example of one of America's most important coins.
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