US Coins

CURENCY dollar modern replica Readers Ask

The Readers Ask column from the June 13, 2016, issue of Coin World:

My name is Timothy Wallace and I’m looking for a good buyer for one of my coins. It’s a 1776 coin — a 1776 Continental Currency silver dollar.

Timothy Wallace  /  via email

Unfortunately, what the reader has is a common modern reproduction, cast in base metals, and not an example of a genuine 1776 Continental Currency dollar. 

You can frequently find examples of these replicas at flea markets and similar venues, and sometimes at historical sites where such pieces are sold as souvenirs and identified as replicas or reproductions.

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On your piece, the color is off from what silver would expect to be over time. The surfaces are rough and pebbly. 

The lettering and devices are crudely formed and not sharp in detail. The dentils are also different than on a genuine piece.

At the edge is evidence of a seam, where metal would have escaped between the two halves of the mold used to form the piece; it was then polished down to remove any sharp pieces.

Genuine 1776 Continental Currency dollars were struck with slightly different design variants in pewter, brass and silver.

Among those variants is the issue in silver with CURRENCY misspelled as CURENCY, from the die marriage attributed as Newman 1-C by Eric P. Newman in 1776 Continental Currency Coinage & Varieties of the Fugio Cent. Only two examples of this variant are known in silver. Other examples of the CURENCY variant are known in brass and pewter composition. All are attributed as 1-C regardless of composition.

The finest of the two known silver pieces, graded Extremely Fine 40 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., was sold for $1,527,500 in Heritage Auctions’ Jan. 7 to 12 sale held in conjunction with the Florida United Numismatists Convention. The coin was sold as part of the collection of Donald Groves Partrick.

The second known example, graded NGC Very Fine 35, is currently part of Partrick’s numismatic holdings and slated to be offered in a future public auction.  

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