One of four 1776 Continental Currency dollars struck in silver
realized $1.41 million May 16 in Heritage Auctions’ sale in New York
City of Part IV of the Eric P. Newman Collection.
The price realized for the coin includes the 17.5 percent buyer’s
fee added to the final closing hammer price.
The coin is graded Mint State 63 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., which
also reported that the $1.41 million price tag is nearly three times
larger than the previous auction record for a Continental dollar.
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Heritage's catalog describes the 1776 Continental Currency dollars
as one of the most "important and historically interesting"
coins in U.S. history.
"They have a distinctively American character, as our first
dollar coin, although not denominated as such," the auction
house's catalog reads. "They were struck at a crucial time in our
nation's history. The young country badly needed a medium of exchange
to continue to finance the American Revolution, and to promote
confidence in the paper currency as well. The silver pieces are among
the rarest and most valuable coins in the American Colonial
And the one that just sold?
"This coin is the finest-known silver example, with no serious
challenger," Heritage's catalog reads.
The coin was one of 687 lots in Heritage Auctions' Part IV sale of
selections from the Eric P. Newman Collection May 16 and 17 in New
York City. The sale brought total prices realized of just over $11 million.
'EG made it'
Two pieces have the word "currency" spelled as CURENCY.
The two other silver pieces, including the Newman coin just sold, have
the proper CURRENCY spelling. In addition, the two pieces in silver
bearing the CURRENCY spelling also bear the inscription EG FECIT on
the obverse below the central sundial device. The phrase translates
from Latin to English as “EG made it.” Newman’s research confirms
Elisha Gallaudet as the engraver of the dies. Gallaudet also designed
a series of paper Continental Currency.
Newman purchased the coin in the early 1940s from the estate of Col.
E.H.R. Green. The last time the coin appeared at auction was in Henry
Chapman’s June 1912 sale of the George Earle Collection.
Primarily struck in pewter, Continental Currency dollars are also
known in brass in addition to silver.
According to the Heritage auction lot description, researchers
conclude that “it is probable that the coins were intended to take the
place of the dollar-denominated paper currency issued by the
Continental Congress in the latter part of 1776.”
Complete details on the 1776 Continental CURENCY, EG FECIT dollar
can be found on the Heritage website.