Rare 1786 Non Vi Virtute Vici Copper to Be Sold in Stack’s Bowers Galleries March 2014 Baltimore Auction

Colonial and early American coins are specialties of ours at Stack’s Bowers Galleries and our upcoming Official Auction of the Whitman Coins and Collectibles Baltimore Expo in March will be no exception. Among other highlights, we are pleased to offer an example of the rare 1786 Non Vi Virtute Vici copper. The coin is attributed as Baker-13, Small Head, is graded EF-40 by PCGS and has been awarded a sticker of approval from CAC.

The colonial issues related to New York are all scarce to rare, and only the Nova Eborac pieces show up at auction with any regularity. Of the three varieties of Non Vi Virtute Vici coppers, only the variety offered here can be considered collectible. The Baker-12 variety with a Shield style reverse, sold by us as part of the Garrett Collection in 1980, is unique. The Baker-13C variety with Large Head has a known population of only two, one of which we sold as part of the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection in May 2004.

No official state authorization for the New York coinage has ever been located, and for the Non Vi Virtute Vici coppers, the minter and location of manufacture are also unknown. The pieces are often collected along with Washington pieces, as some assume that the portrait on the obverse is that of George Washington. The Latin “Non Vi Virtute Vici” found around the obverse can be translated as “I conquer not by force but by virtue,” a legend that many think refers to our first president. However the “Neo-Eboracensis” on the reverse referring to New York solidly places this copper among the coinage related to that state.

This is not our first encounter with this particular New York copper. In 1988 we offered it as lot 2005 in our April sale of the remarkable F. Dabney Caldwell, Jr. Collection. At that time it was described as:

"A very rare and exceptionally popular coin as it is desired by both the Colonial collector as well as the Washington enthusiast. Really a magnificent specimen with a bold portrait of Washington, and full denticulation. The reverse figure, usually weak, is very bold, including the scales. The surfaces are smooth and are even steel brown except for a small area of brightness at the bottom of Washington’s tunic. On the reverse there is a pit at the figure’s elbow and another at the top seriph of the second E in EBORACENSIS. Full date and denticulation."

We are thrilled to be able to offer this exceptional copper again. We invite you to take part in our upcoming auction to be held at the Baltimore Convention Center, March 26-29, 2014. For more information visit our website at

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