US Coins

Market Analysis: Fascinating Massachusetts Colonials series ripe for specialists

Many collectors are drawn to Colonial American coins because of their handmade nature, and the Robert M. Martin Collection of silver coins of the Massachusetts Bay Colony showed the rich diversity of this area. The first lot offered from this collection at the Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ Nov. 15, 2019, auction in Baltimore, was a 1652 Oak Tree shilling that had been cut to a sixpence weight. 

It was graded Extremely Fine 40 Details by the auctioneer, who noted saltwater surfaces, providing visual evidence of its recovery from the 1711 shipwreck of the HMS Feversham off the coast of Nova Scotia. These fractional cut pieces were used as small change by colonists in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. 

Massachusetts shillings all carry the same date, though production continued for decades. 

The coin also represents a rare die variety — Noe 2 as listed in The Silver Coinage of Massachusetts by Sydney Philip Noe, which is easy to discern because of its medal-turn alignment rather than the typical coin-turn alignment and punctuation between NEW on the reverse, though that identifying trait is not on this remaining portion. The historical coin sold for $4,080. 


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