By Christopher Maisano – Numismatist, Stack’s Bower Galleries ……
Graded AU-55 by PCGS and with CAC approval, both sides exhibit a handsome blend of bright brassy-gold and warmer olive-brass colors, the former associated with original luster. Smooth and satiny, this specimen exhibits no noteworthy marks or other blemishes. The strike is remarkably bold for the type, exhibiting some of the usual softness in the centers, but with the central definition sufficient to allow full appreciation of the overall design. Several of the letters in the various states’ names on the reverse are clearly repunched. This Newman 1-B in brass is among the most desirable variants of the iconic Continental dollar, and it is a piece that would serve as a centerpiece in any cabinet of early American numismatic rarities.
This is an enigmatic type for which no specific documentation detailing its origin has ever been found.
It was popularly theorized that the Continental Congress intended the pewter pieces to serve in lieu of the $1 note beginning in the latter half of 1776. Although the authors of early publications obviously believed that the Continental dollars were of American manufacture, no documentary evidence was provided to substantiate this claim. This should not diminish the place this issue holds in the hearts of American collectors. The Libertas Americana medal was coined in Paris but is consistently rated as among the most desirable American numismatic collectibles.
The pewter examples remain scarce, and all are historic, highly desirable, and valuable. The brass specimens are on another level entirely – even more enigmatic and far rarer than their pewter counterparts. Opinions about Continental dollars as a group differ, of course, and there is still considerable debate about the status of these pieces as coins or medals, and whether they were struck in America in 1776 or in London in 1783. In the absence of more definitive contemporary documentation, we may never know the truth.
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For more information about the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Winter 2022 Showcase Auction visit StacksBowers.com. To consign your coins or paper money to one of our Showcase auctions or to our Collectors Choice Online (CCO) auctions call 800-458-4646 or email [email protected].