The past never changes, but our knowledge and understanding of it often does. In this press release, PCGS announces its reclassification of the Fugio Cent as a regular U.S. issue.
The Fugio Cent has long been one of the
most enjoyed early American collectibles, and now numismatists can count it as the earliest of all United States regular-issue coins.
Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) is announcing the
groundbreaking reclassification after an exhaustive study carried out by a team of leading numismatic experts including John Dannreuther, Gordon Wrubel, Craig Sholley, Brian Greer, Chuck Link, Tony Terranova, Chris Victor-McCawley, David McCarthy, and Erik Goldstein.
The Fugio Cent is one of the most popular coins from the early Federal period, so it's a
big deal when new research sheds enough light to completely reshape the hobby's
understanding of an iconic coin like this, says President of Professional Coin Grading
Service Stephanie Sabin.
By officially recognizing the Fugio Cent as a regular-issue
circulating coin based on the overwhelming evidence presented by our numismatic
experts, we help enhance the hobby's understanding of this important coin and its
foundational role in the early United States monetary system.
PCGS Director of Numismatic Education and Grading Team Leader Steve Feltner is
intrigued at how much information lay beneath the surface of such widely studied and
collected coins like the Fugio Cent.
Fugio Cents, long lumped into the same colonial
class as New Jersey Coppers, Nova Constellatio Coppers, and Massachusetts Cents,
are finally going to get the numismatic credit that they have deserved for nearly two and
a half centuries!
Feltner says the decision to reclassify the status of the Fugio Cent wasn't something to
be taken lightly.
When I was first approached about the idea of reclassifying Fugio
coppers as Fugio Cents, I will admit I was skeptical. So much has been studied and
written about them in the past that I couldn't imagine anything warranting a change.
I was wrong.
The research and historical backing that was presented to me and my
colleagues at PCGS was irrefutable. There were several times during the initial read-
through that I caught myself saying, ‘that makes sense.' It was an experience that I will
Among the evidence warranting the reclassification of the Fugio Cent as a regular-issue
coin is a measure passed by the Board of Treasury on April 21, 1787, noting that the
Fugio Cents were to be
of the federal standard per weight standards stipulated in the
1786 report for United States gold, silver, and copper coins. As part of these standards,
cents were to contain 157.5 grains of pure copper. So, when Congress authorized the
contract for Fugio Cents on this date, the intent was to produce coins that were needed
The reclassification of the Fugio Cent as a regular-issue coin isn't the first time PCGS
has led the way in properly recognizing coins that may have been numismatically
miscategorized in the past. Years ago, PCGS was the first grading service to classify
1792 Half Dismes, once listed among pattern coins, as regular issues. A Guide Book of
United States Coins (
The Red Book) and others soon followed suit.
The reclassification of the Fugio Cent means PCGS will list them among regular-issue
coinage, under the heading of
Federal Contract Coinage, and they will retain their
position among PCGS Colonial Registry Sets. Read the January/February issue of the
PCGS Rare Coin Market Report for the full story on why PCGS is reclassifying the
Fugio Cent as a regular-issue coin. For more information about the PCGS Set Registry,
Image: Fugio Cent
This specimen of the 1787 Fugio Cent, a variety known as United Above, States Below, is highly coveted among collectors and belongs to a popular series PCGS is reclassifying as a regular-issue coin. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView.
Image: April 1787 Journals of Congress
An extract from the Journals of the Continental Congress for April 21, 1787. Public domain image.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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