1776 Continental Dollar in Pewter Newman 3-D Rarity-3. PCGS graded MS-64 PQ.
The "CURRENCY, EG FECIT" type. Choice frosty light silvery gray with satiny mint luster in the fields and protected areas. Sharply struck and nearly flawless offering exceptional eye appeal for the grade, very close to gem. This example is nearly void of the "tin pest" spots that normally are found on pewter examples, the only spots being confined to barely visible places on the rim. A speck of pest on the rim over the Y in CURRENCY is a good identifying mark for this piece. Struck from a relatively early state of the dies. The die crack that extends through many of the links on the reverse is light. This is a sharp, beautiful example of perhaps the most historically significant coin ever struck for the United States. It was the first coin authorized by the newly formed Continental Congress in 1776, and the examples struck in silver are rightly considered to be the first real "dollar" coin struck for America. Listed on page 85 in the "Redbook."
The design motifs on both sides are based on sketches by Benjamin Franklin, first used on the paper Continental Currency emission of February 17, 1776 and later also on the Fugio Cents of 1787. A radiant sunface illuminates a sundial at center, with the legend FUGIO (translated as ''I Fly'', referring to the flight of time) between two solid circles, and the legend MIND YOUR BUSINESS below sundial, goading the viewer to not waste time in one's daily affairs. The legend CONTINENTAL CURRENCY 1776 is at outer obverse circumference. The reverse is composed of motifs and legends that also radiate from the center. At dead center is the legend WE ARE ONE, surrounded by a circle, followed by AMERICAN CONGRESS surrounded by a radiate circle. Around the entire circumference are linked rings inscribed with the 13 colonies' names in full or in abbreviation. A "PQ" example in every respect. Truly an impressive coin, and an important piece of numismatic heritage that will surely elicit strong bids at auction. Pop 12; 4 finer, 3 in 65, 1 in 66
Historic background: The Continental Currency unit is, as noted above, the first large, dollar-size coin proposed for the United States. A private issue, whose types derive in due course from designs made famous by Benjamin Franklin, its place of minting and ultimate coinage purpose remain obscure. Silver specimens, which are very rare, appear to have been struck to a close approximation of the value of a Spanish milled dollar on the New York standard ($1 = 8 shillings). Specimens struck in metal de clochemay, as the "brass" specimens are called, have served some currency purpose, perhaps passing as pence (again, on the New York standard, at 12 pence to the shilling). The pewter specimens, which are the most often seen today, had a purpose that remains obscure to coin scholars. Possibly, they were intended as tokens; possibly they were test or pattern strikes, as has been proposed by some, but in this case, the number of patterns surviving surpasses the number of pieces struck with a currency intent. Another idea holds that with the dearth of copper early in the Revolutionary period, the metal necessary for making cannons, the issue originally intended in metal de cloche was replaced by an issue in pewter. At present, none of these questions is absolutely answered. Most studies suggest New York as the place of minting.
The Continental Currency coins were issued in 1776, the year the Colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. The war dragged on until 1783, with key battles in 1781 pretty much deciding the issue. The peace treaty with Britain, known as the Treaty of Paris, gave the U.S. all land east of the Mississippi River and south of the Great Lakes, though not including Florida. (On September 3, 1783, Britain entered into a separate accord with Spain under which Britain ceded Florida back to Spain.) The British abandoned the Indian allies living in this region; they were not a party to this treaty and did not grant authority to it until they were defeated militarily by the United States over the next 100 years. Since the blockade was lifted and the old imperial restrictions were gone, American merchants were free to trade with any nation anywhere in the world, and their businesses flourished. Curiously, or not so curiously, since there was no "united" States until 1789, King George III of Britain had to sign 13 separate peace treaties, one with each of the newly independent, former colonies.
Estimated Value $125,000-UP.