HomeUS CoinsPedigrees & Hoards: The SS Republic Founder's Edition Set

Pedigrees & Hoards: The SS Republic Founder’s Edition Set


By Rick Bretz for Coinweek….
Back in May, I discussed coins from the SS Republic shipwreck and how they fit into the world of pedigree collecting.

I also mentioned different approaches to collecting examples from the shipwreck and how I preferred to collect recovered 1861-O Seated Liberty half dollar varieties. The two things I enjoy most about pedigree collecting are the stories associated with the pedigree and finding unique coin specimens from it.

From the previous article:

Bretz SS Republic excerpt

There’s a lot more to the Republic‘s story, and the Internet is full of articles covering the history and recovery. If you’re interested, have fun with your research.

But now back to the unique examples.

ssrepublicwoodboxThe 1861-O Seated Liberty half dollar has an amazing story. It was minted by three different governments and all of them are represented in the one shipwreck. I thought I would never find a more interesting and unique option for collecting pedigree examples from Republic, but then I stumbled upon something known as a “Founders’ Edition Set”. As I understand it, investors in the exploration and recovery of the shipwreck were given priority in acquiring some of the first coins recovered from the site. Each coin was sealed in an NGC slab with a special label that showed not only the cert number but also a unique number for the coin as well as the Founders’ Set population. And to top it off, the coins were packaged in a wooden presentation box with the name of the recipient and number of the coin on a small plaque.

The Founders’ Edition Set feels like it brings you one step closer to an ownership stake in the pedigree and the story. While one doesn’t find Founders’ Edition Sets in the secondary market that often, they do appear from time to time. I’ve seen them on both Heritage Auctions and eBay. You just have to work a little harder to find them.

So now the dilemma. Do you want the 1861-O Seated Liberty varieties or the Founders’ Edition Set for your pedigree example from the SS Republic? Here I will reference the movie Radio (2003), starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the title role. When the waitress asks him what cobbler he wants, peach or blackberry, Radio, without hesitation, replies “Both”.

Sounds like the strategy of a true pedigree collector.

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