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Higley Coppers Higley Coppers

Higley Coppers

Designed by: Samuel Higley and John Higley, Jr.
Issue Date: 1737-1739
Composition: Copper
Diameter: 18.0 to 19.0 mm
Weight: 7.90 to 11.01 grams (122 to 170 grains)
Edge: Plain
Business Strike Mintage: 60 to 80
Proof Mintage: None

Among all early American copper issues, the pieces struck by Samuel Higley and his brother John, Jr. are some of the most interesting. Their enigmatic and idiosyncratic iconography has never been adequately explained.

On July 29, 1728 Samuel Higley purchased 143 acres of property lying next to his inherited family lands in Simsbury, Connecticut. Included in the parcel, which cost 500 pounds sterling in New England money, were 40 acres which included the site of a copper mine, from whence Samuel Higley drew the metal for his tokens. Some time around the year 1737 a copper token was struck, valued at threepence. In the same year, other tokens were produced bearing the legend VALUE ME AS YOU PLEASE. The same valuation appeared on tokens dated 1739. The change in value, from a stated threepence to a “value me as you please” is popularly explained by local merchants’ reluctance to accept at threepence value a coin no larger than an English halfpenny.

Higley coppers are found dated 1737, 1739, and without a date (possibly struck in 1737). Eight obverse dies have been recorded, linked with five reverse dies, the 13 known in 15 combinations. This suggests a fairly large output. Nevertheless, the number of coppers that survives today is very small, probably no more than between 60 and 80 specimens of all combinations known. In general, survivors are found on heavily worn planchets in grades of Good to Fine. Specimens above Fine are extremely rare, and Extremely Fine is almost unheard of.

Additional Reading on Higley Copper Coins

1899 san francisco mint morgan silver dollar value

An Excerpt From The August, 2022 Catalog of
The Sydney F. Martin Collection, Part I

Published August 27, 2022
 
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1899 s mint morgan dollar price guide value

An Excerpt From The May, 2004 Catalog of
The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, Part II

Published May 11, 2004
 
Read Article
1899 s morgan dollar value guide

An Excerpt From The October, 1987 Catalog of
The Norweb Collection

Published October 17, 1987
 
Read Article
1899 san francisco mint morgan silver dollar value

An Excerpt From The Catalog of
The John L. Roper 2nd Collection

Published December 8, 1983
 
Read Article
1899 s mint morgan dollar price guide value

An Excerpt From The Catalog of
The Garrett Collection Sales, Part III

Published October 1, 1980
 
Read Article
1899 s morgan dollar value guide

An Excerpt From The May 14, 1976 Catalog of
The C.W. Krugjohann Collection

Published May 14, 1976
 
Read Article
1899 san francisco mint morgan silver dollar value

An Excerpt From The 1896 Publication of
The Higleys and Their Ancestry

By Mary Coffin Johnson
 
Read Article
1737 Threepence Higley Copper
1737 Threepence Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 1.1-A
  • W-8190
Estimated Survivors: 2 Known
Obverse Text:

THE • VALVE • OF • THREE • PENCE •

Reverse Text:

CONNECTICVT • 1737

What to Look For: One example of the two known is impounded in the Eric P. Newman Collection, making this unique in private hands. This early example assigns the copper a value of 3 Pence, which was changed on later coins.
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1737 Threepence Higley Copper
1737 Threepence Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 1.2-A
  • W-8200
Estimated Survivors: 8 Known
Obverse Text:

THE • VALVE • OF • THREE • PENCE • III

Reverse Text:

CONNECTICVT • 1737

What to Look For: Three crowned hammers are shown on the reverse with the rather scarce CONNECTICVT phrasing as well. This die variety was well struck with a lot of preservation of the original detail. High grade examples are stunning.
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1737 Threepence Higley Copper
1737 Threepence Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 1.2-B.a
  • W-8205
Estimated Survivors: 2 Known
Obverse Text:

THE • VALVE • OF • THREE • PENCE •

Reverse Text:

I • AM • GOOD • COPPER • 1737

What to Look For: Only two examples of this rarity are known, of which Stack’s has sold both. The finer of the two sold in the Ford Collection and is graded VF-35. The reverse has three hammers and the date.
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1737 Threepence Higley Copper
1737 Threepence Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 1.3-A
  • W-8215
Estimated Survivors: 6 Known
Obverse Text:

THE • VALVE • OF • THREE • PENCE •

Reverse Text:

CONNECTICVT • 1737

What to Look For: Only 13 total examples exist with the CONNECTICVT reverse, and this type represents 6 of them. The reverse features 3 Hammers, but all of this type are found in lower grades, obscuring the reverse design slightly.
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1737 Higley Copper
1737 Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 2-B.a
  • W-8225
Estimated Survivors: 2 Known
Obverse Text:

VALVE • ME • AS • YOU • PLEASE • III

Reverse Text:

I • AM • GOOD • COPPER • 1737

What to Look For: This variety is very similar to Freidus 3.2-B.a with the sole exception that the obverse text spells VALVE as opposed to VALUE. You will also see evidence of a severe die break on the back of the Deer with these obverse dies.
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1737 Higley Copper
1737 Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 3.1-B.a
  • W-8240
Estimated Survivors: 8 Known
Obverse Text:

VALUE • ME • AS • YOU • PLEASE • III

Reverse Text:

I • AM • GOOD • COPPER • 1737

What to Look For: Although the estimated survivors is listed as 8 known, 4 are permenantly impounded and off the market to collectors. The remaining 4 are relativley low grade and display significant weakness on key details.
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1737 Higley Copper
1737 Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 3.1-C
  • W-8245
Estimated Survivors: 6 Known
Obverse Text:

VALUE • ME • AS • YOU • PLEASE • III

Reverse Text:

J • CUT • MY • WAY • THROUGH •

What to Look For: This Broad Axe reverse lacks the typical date at the bottom. We also note the die crack on the reverse running across the T of THROUGH. Only 4 are held in private hands.
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1737 Higley Copper
1737 Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 3.2-B.a
  • W-8255
Estimated Survivors: 8 Known
Obverse Text:

VALUE • ME • AS • YOU • PLEASE • III

Reverse Text:

I • AM • GOOD • COPPER • 1737

What to Look For: Look for the correct spelling of VALUE on the obverse of this coin. On the reverse, you will notice 3 evenly spaced Axes, as opposed to the single Broad Axe found on other types.
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Undated (1737) Higley Copper
Undated (1737) Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 3.2-C
  • W-8260
Estimated Survivors: 12 Known
Obverse Text:

VALUE • ME • AS • YOU • PLEASE • III

Reverse Text:

J • CUT • MY • WAY • THROUGH •

What to Look For: This 1737 coin features the Broad, or Large Axe on the reverse. We consider this one of the more common varieties with a dozen known to exist.
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Undated (1737) Higley Copper
Undated (1737) Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 3.3-C
  • W-8280
Estimated Survivors: 3 or 4 Known
Obverse Text:

VALUE • ME • AS • YOU • PLEASE • III

Reverse Text:

J • CUT • MY • WAY • THROUGH •

What to Look For: Strong die breaks form on the reverse of the coin near the T in THROUGH. On the obverse, there is a crescent shaped mark on the die above the back of the deer.
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1739 Higley Copper
1739 Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 3.1-D
  • W-Unlisted
Estimated Survivors: 1 Known
Obverse Text:

VALVE • ME • AS • YOU • PLEASE • III

Reverse Text:

J • CUT • MY • WAY • THROUGH • 1739

What to Look For: At the time of the John J. Ford Sales, this was a new variety discovery. We note that most 1739 Higleys display significant weakness at the date on the reverse.
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1739 Higley Copper
1739 Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 3.2-D
  • W-8265
Estimated Survivors: 7 Known
Obverse Text:

VALVE • ME • AS • YOU • PLEASE • III

Reverse Text:

J • CUT • MY • WAY • THROUGH • 1739

What to Look For: With the change of the date came the change of the reverse design. We now see a Broad Axe on the reverse instead of the three smallers Axes. Of the 1739 year, there are approximatly 20 examples known.
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1739 Higley Copper
1739 Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 3.3-D
  • W-8285
Estimated Survivors: 7 Known
Obverse Text:

VALVE • ME • AS • YOU • PLEASE • III

Reverse Text:

J • CUT • MY • WAY • THROUGH • 1739

What to Look For: All three varieties of the 1739 Higley Coppers share the same reverse, paired with three distinct obverses. The present pairing is the most common with 7 known examples.
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Undated Threepence Higley Copper
Undated Threepence Higley Copper
Variety:
  • Freidus 4-C
  • W-8295
Estimated Survivors: 1 Known
Obverse Text:

THE • WHEELE • GOES • ROUND •

Reverse Text:

J • CUT • MY • WAY • THROUGH

What to Look For: This piece is unique, meaning there is only a single coin known to experts. This coin sold in Bowers & Ruddy’s October, 1980 Auction of the Garrett Collection, and in Stack’s December, 1983 Auction of the John R. Roper, 2nd Collection.
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