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Press Release - December 10, 2014

Unique, unlisted pewter variety 1776 Continental Dollar discovered by Heritage Auctions

Groundbreaking colonial coin seen for the first time, to be offered in Heritage's Jan. 2015 FUN auction

1776 $1 Continental Dollar reverse
1776 $1 Continental Dollar
DALLAS — A unique and unlisted 1776 Continental Dollar in pewter, has been uncovered at Heritage Auctions. The Newman 1-A Dotted Rings Continental Dollar is known in brass, with a population of just three pieces. Heritage cataloger Brian Koller identified the present example in pewter, with Very Fine details, an entirely new discovery in a composition that was previously unknown to exist for the die variety.

"I was absolutely shocked when I saw it," said Mark Borckardt, Senior Cataloger and Numismatist at Heritage. "The coin is clearly the Newman 1-A Dotted Rings variety, but it is undoubtedly pewter. Until now, the three known examples were Brass."

The coin will be offered on Jan. 7, 2015, as part of Heritage's Platinum Night FUN auction.

"This piece represents an extremely important discovery in the field of colonial coinage," said Jim Halperin, Co-Chair of Heritage Auctions. "For the first time ever, a collector can acquire a complete die variety set of Continental dollars in the pewter composition at one time, given that the selections from The Partrick Collection selling that same night includes every other variety of Continental Dollar in all known compositions."

Continental dollars were the first coins struck on behalf of the United States government in the year of Independence. The designs follow the influence of Benjamin Franklin, feature the phrase "Mind Your Business," and are similar to those devices and inscriptions found on Continental paper money printed early in 1776.

The obverse of the coin is inscribed with the word "FUGIO" and depicts a sundial. The reverse has 13 interconnected rings, representing the 13 United States. While the origin of the Continental Dollars is unknown, they were produced in New York City. Notice of an official coinage appeared in the June 27, 1776 issue of the New York Journal, and the first illustration of a Continental Dollar appeared in a German book published in 1783.

Although a few rare Continental dollars are known in silver, and a few others in brass, the majority of those encountered are made of pewter. Silver was scarce in colonial America, while pewter was plentiful. Different varieties have the word Currency spelled three different ways: CURENCY, CURRENCY, and CURRENCEY. Approximately 1,000 Continental Dollars of all varieties are known to exist today.

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