By James McCartney – Senior Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
Fugio coppers have long captured the imagination of numismatists as one of the first federally sanctioned coinages of the United States. In April 1787, the Continental Congress authorized the coinage of copper cents equivalent in weight to British halfpence and bearing a design inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s sundial and 13 links motifs that appeared on the fractional Continental Currency notes of February 17, 1776. Petitions by numerous enterprising firms were submitted and in the end, the contract to strike 300 tons of the new coppers was given to James Jarvis and his Company for Coining Coppers. With dies engraved by Abell Buell, production took place at several locations, most notably at New Haven, Connecticut, and possibly even New York and Vermont.
Our March 2021 Showcase Auction will feature an exceptional MS-64 BN (PCGS) 1787 Fugio from the Newman 13-X dies. This is an easy die marriage to attribute; the obverse is heavily clashed in the right field and the reverse is the workhorse die X with a prominent crack from 6 o’clock on the rim. This lovely near-Gem example offers incredibly silky luster and steely-brown patina with hints of tangerine luster in the protected areas. The superior technical quality is matched by tremendous eye appeal.
Most Uncirculated Fugio coppers owe their preservation to a large cask of approximately 5,000 coins purchased by the Bank of New York in 1788 and forgotten in the basement until the bank moved to a different location in 1856. The bank handed out the coins to preferred clients for many years and in 1948 the American Numismatic Society was granted access to examine the remaining 1,641 specimens, of which 726 pieces were of the Newman 13-X die pair. The bank reportedly retained as many as 712 of the coins as late as 1998.
This MS-64 BN (PCGS) 1787 Fugio copper will be featured in our March 2021 Showcase Auction as part of the Dr. Jeffrey A. Rudolph Collection, an impressive selection of early type coins, small cents, pre-1933 gold coinage, and U.S. paper money.
In addition to the Rudolph Collection, the Stack’s Bowers March 2021 auction will present Small Eagle Draped Bust half dollars from the E. Horatio Morgan Collection; spectacular Peace dollars from the Pittstown Collection; and New Orleans Mint rarities from the Collection of Steve Studer. We are accepting consignments to this event through January 25 and a calendar of our entire schedule of upcoming auction events can be found on our website www.StacksBowers.com.
If you would like to consign or have questions about the consignment process, please contact us today at [email protected] or 800-566-2580.