US Coins

Holy grail of Washington buttons in June 23 sale

One of just seven purportedly known examples of the Holy Grail of George Washington presidential inaugural buttons is being offered by Early American History Auctions in its June 23 online sale.

The 333-lot auction comprises several collectibles categories: Historic Autographs, Colonial America, Colonial & Continental Currency, Revolutionary War, George Washington Related, Federal Period & War of 1812, Civil War Era, Encased Postage Stamps & Postage Stamp Envelopes, Abraham Lincoln Related, Slavery & Black History, Decorative Arts, Historic & Political Americana, and Coinage & Currency.

The button, in Fine condition, carries an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000. The Pater Patriae design type, DeWitt GW-1789-41 as attributed in Century of Campaign Buttons  1789–1889 by J. Doyle DeWitte, depicts Washington in full military uniform. The 25-millimeter copper shell is lead-filled as made and bears the original shank.

The central Washington portrait is heavily worn, as is the PATER PATRIAE inscription along the bottom of the button.


original design for the Washington MonumentInside Coin World: Note shows Washington Monument as it should have looked: A 19th century note shows the Washington Monument in its original though abandoned form. Also in the June 25 Coin World, a coin scandal begins in 1935.

Anti-slavery token, Massachusetts cent

The auction includes an About Uncirculated example of the 1838-dated anti-slavery Am I Not A Woman and A Sister token, Low 54 (Hard Times Tokens by Lyman H. Low). 

The tokens features a black woman kneeling on her right knee, her hands shackled and pleading for humanity. The reverse is inscribed LIBERTY / 1838 with a wreath and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around. The estimate is $400 to $500.

A 1788 Massachusetts cent in the sale is cataloged as Ryder 1-D (The Copper Coins of Massachusetts by Hillyer Ryder) and described as being in Extremely Fine to About Uncirculated condition.

The cent features a Native American brave on the obverse with a bow in his right hand and an arrow in his left. COMMON WEALTH is separated by the man and a five-point star. On the reverse is an eagle with shield on its breast, the date 1788 below, and MASSACHUSETTS around the top border followed by a period.

The cent carries an estimate of $1,200 to $1,600.

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