1786 New Jersey Immunis Columbia
Estimated Survivors: 17 Known
Mint: Morristown Mint
Edge: Plain Edge
Obverse Design: “IMMUNIS COLUMBIA. 1786” The obverse of the coin features a figure seated on a globe, with a staff in the right hand. The left hand holds a balanced scale and the figure is surrounded by text with the date below.
Reverse Design: ” * E * PLURIBUS * UNUM * “ The reverse of the coin shows a shield with 13 stripes, surrounded by text. Stars seperate each word.
The 1786 New Jersey Immunis Columbia is a coin that links the New Jersey copper series to the obscure but fascinating series of speculative patterns that seem to relate to potential contract coinage for the Confederation.
Most survivors of this unusual issue are in relatively high grade, suggesting special distribution that was followed by their preservation. Collected as part of the New Jersey copper series for its usage of Maris Reverse C, this coin may have been struck in New York City. The state of the art of research into this emission is summarized in the Siboni-Howes-Ish book: “What evidence there is seems to point toward a New York City origin for Maris 3-C, 5-C, and probably others, at the hands of [James] Atlee, in conjunction with [James] Jarvis and [Walter] Mould.”
We have placed this coin with the New Jersey coppers, as that is the collecting specialty that most activity seeks it out, but this could just as easily be sold near the Inimica Tyrannis Americana, the 1785 Immune Columbia, or even the Nova Constellatios. But the presence of that magical reverse, used in combination with this obverse, the GEN. WASHINGTON obverse of Maris 4-C, the Heraldic Eagle reverse that connects was used for a New York pattern, and a plain-jane New Jersey horsehead, guarantees that this issue will be forever associated with the coppers of New Jersey just as it was when Maris laid out his plate in 1881.
The population of this variety is varied enough in appearance that plate matching is fairly simple. It’s also rare and distinctive enough that examples have always been highly desirable – and thus they’ve been featured highlights every time they’ve sold. Of the 17 that have been traced, about a third have a known provenance that extends back to the 19th century. These all have august ownership histories, linked to personalities like Crosby, Garrett, and others.
The example to the left is from Stack’s Bowers Galleries October 2018 Sale of The Archangel Collection of Colonial Coins and 1792 Coinage, where it sold for $120,000. Images courtesy of PCGS TrueView.