“1786” New Jersey General Washington Copper
Estimated Survivors: 3 Known
Mint: Morristown Mint (?)
Edge: Plain Edge
Obverse Design: “GEN. WASHINGTON.” The obverse of the coin shows a portrait of General George Washington facing the right. President Washington is surrounded by text.
Reverse Design: ” * E * PLURIBUS * UNUM * “ The reverse of the coin shows a shield with 13 stripes, surrounded by text. Stars seperate each word.
The undated General George Washington New Jersey Copper piece can be designated with Maris 4-C or Baker-11, due to the fact that it features a portrait of President George Washington on the obverse. This coin is appealing to many collectors because it is one of the rarest coins in the New Jersey Copper series, and one of the rarest issues among Washington pieces.
This piece is of the utmost rarity, being that there are only three known. The example shown to the left is the only example that has been holed. It was displayed at the American Numismatic Society (ANS) Exhibition from January 17 to February 18, 1914. Later, this coin spent time in the Virgil Brand Collection, the Dr. George Fuld Collection, Stack’s sale of the Roper Collection (Lot 298, sold for $11,550), Stack’s sale of the Gilbert Steinberg Collection (Lot 72), Stack’s sale of May 1993 (Lot 49), the Lawrence R. Stack Collection, and most recently, Stack’s Bowers Galleries sale of the Sydney F. Martin Collection, Part I (Lot 8002, sold for $162,000).
Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold a second example in October 1980 as part of the Garrett Collection Sales for John Hopkins University. That piece was offered as Lot 1390 and sold for $50,000. The Garrett coin also is recognized as the discovery piece and William Baker wrote about it in the Medallic Portraits of Washington. He said that the coin was “found in a lot of old coppers about ten years ago, by Mr. John Haseltine, of Philadelphia [and] purchased at the Crosby sale, June, 1883, by Lorin G. Parmelee, of Boston, for six hundred and twenty dollars, the highest price as yet paid for any single Washington piece.”
These coins were struck from atypical dies that lacked denticles. We see the obverse design of the coin appear again on the 1785 Large Circle Confederatio, as well as various other pattern coinage. Please note that electrotype copies of this coin are common and found with frequency.
The example to the left is from Stack’s Bowers Galleries August 2022 Sale of The Sydney F. Martin Collection, Part I, where it sold for $162,000. Images courtesy of PCGS TrueView.