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The DeWitt Smith-Virgil Brand-Harold Newcomer-Carl Wurtzbach-F.C.C. Boyd-John J. Ford, Jr.-David M. Sundman New England Shilling

The history of American numismatics is relatively short, with coins struck in what is now the United States first made in 1652. It is in that year, during a tumultuous era in English history, that the Massachusetts Bay Colony was granted permission by Parliament in London to strike coinage for circulation. Out of that legislation came the Massachusetts silver coinage popular with collectors today. The first permutations of this coinage were the “NE” or New England coins: simple designs, with the letters “NE” on one side, and the denomination (threepence, sixpence, or shilling, represented as 12 pence) in Roman numerals on the other. A small number were minted, but due to their simplistic designs, counterfeiting became an issue, and they were soon replaced by the “Willow Tree” coins.

The coin that David M. Sundman chose to represent the New England type in his collection of Massachusetts silver was purchased from our (Stack’s) sale of the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, Part XII, in October 2005. In that catalog it was described by Michael Hodder (and earlier by Walter Breen) as being Choice Very Fine; it has been certified by PCGS as AU-55, and ranks among the finest known examples. The Noe I-A die marriage, with its Rarity-7+ classification, is represented by only five examples enumerated by Hodder in the Ford description of this coin. Equally impressive as the small number known is the number of important “name” collections that lacked an example.

Aside from its impressive pedigree chain and numeric grade assigned by PCGS, this coin is the plate coin for the Noe and Wurtzbach references, as well as the plate coin for the recent reference by Chris Salmon on Massachusetts silver coins, the Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial Coins, and the Guide Book of United States Coins, 2007-2012 editions.

All New England coinage is extremely rare, and usually examples only appear at auction when important colonial collections are offered. In recent times, we (Stack’s and Stack’s Bowers) have been privileged to offer multiple collections that contained important New England pieces, including a shilling in our January 2013 Americana Sale, which was a new discovery of another die variety, graded EF-40 by PCGS (which realized $352,500). In November 2012, as part of the Jack Royse Collection, we sold the famous “potato field” NE sixpence, VF Details (PCGS), that realized $431,250. Our upcoming offering of the Sundman coin is an important opportunity for the advanced colonial collector to acquire a classic rarity in American numismatics! Only a lucky few have been able to own an example, and only one lucky bidder in our November Baltimore sale (the official auction of the Whitman Coin Convention, as well as the Colonial Coin Collectors’ Club) will be able to add his or her name to the DeWitt Smith-Virgil Brand-Harold Newcomer-Carl Wurtzbach-F.C.C. Boyd-John J. Ford, Jr.-David M. Sundman pedigree. We anticipate that there will be very strong bidding participation when this (and the other coins from Sundman Collection) cross the auction block in a few weeks.

Catalogs for the November Baltimore sale are now in production. If you are not currently on our mailing list and would like to be included for this sale, be sure to get your information to one of our auction services associates as soon as possible. On behalf of the entire staff at Stack’s Bowers, I wish you the best of luck in bidding, and if you need any assistance during lot viewing or help formulating a bidding strategy, do not hesitate to contact any of our numismatic experts.

If you have a collection that you would like to place into one of our upcoming auction sales, contact one of our consignment directors, as we are accepting consignments for our upcoming New York Americana Sale and March Baltimore Sale. Whether buying or selling, our team of experts and specialists look forward to working with you!

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