The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 1, January 1, 2023, Article 14


Here are a few items that caught my eye in Jeff Rock's Rosa Americana Colonial Coins fixed price list #23. To get your copy, contact Jeff at -Editor

  A Nice PCGS MS62 1740-B French Colonies Sous Marques with Vibrant Luster

  1740-B French Colonies Sous Marques

18. 1740-B [Rouen Mint] French Colonies Sous Marques, Vlack 51. Rarity-3. PCGS Graded MS62. A lovely representative example of this type, or the variety in particular. Well struck, the legends, date, mintmark and differents (the symbols for the engraver and mint master) are all bold around the peripheries. The central designs are full, a shade less sharp than the legends, and the whole coin is a lustrous silver that has whispers of light golden toning. There is a thin pair of striations running through the crown on the obverse, which were in the planchet prior to striking, and no marks or damage from actual circulation, and the piece has lovely eye appeal. To this cataloguer's mind – and he's formed two collections of the French Colonies coinages that each had over 800 pieces! – the billon Sous Marques offers so much collecting enjoyment. They are listed in the Redbook, meaning collector interest will always be there.

There is a huge range of dates and mintmarks – something lacking on colonial British and early American coinage. Bob Vlack's reference work, published through C4, is pretty thorough, yet there are still some unlisted varieties to be found – always a bonus for a collector – and extremely rare die varieties are available for little more than type coin money, something the collector on a budget should really appreciate. While struck in billon, a low grade silver, they are the only really affordable alternative to Massachusetts silver coins for those who want something other than copper in their colonial collection. Choice specimens can also be found for many date-and-mint combinations (though others exist only in well-circulated conditions), which strongly suggests that they were avidly collected at their time of issue, enough so that they remain quite affordable today.

The series would seem a natural fit for anyone who grew up collecting penny boards, filling in dates and mintmarks – but also offers the ability to have a deeper dive and go into legend and punctuation variations (which the Vlack book details), or crazier still, into the uncharted territory of individual die varieties. As choice examples of state coinages drift into the high-four and five-figure ranges (and even six-figures for rare varieties), we expect more collector attention on the French Colonies issues which can often be found choice, and still in the low three-figures (and under Redbook pricing too!.............................$450

  A GORGEOUS Miller 18-g.1, Choice About Uncirculated
Ex Steve Tannenbaum Collection

  1787 Connecticut Copper. Miller 18-g.1

25. 1787 Connecticut Copper. Miller 18-g.1. Rarity-6. Choice About Uncirculated. This is the STEVE TANNENBAUM specimen of the variety and appeared as Lot 7173 in the Stack's Bowers sale of his collection in January, 2012, where it was described as follows:

1787 Connecticut Copper. Miller 18-g.1, W-3045. Rarity-6. Draped Bust Facing Left. EF- 45. 130.1 grains. Deep golden brown with traces of red in the protected areas though no doubt from a long-ago cleaning. Sharpness easily equal to the task of the assigned grade and readily comparable to Perkins:290 and Ford:313. Usual swelling in left obverse field, some central ticks from the striking process at the center and a light natural fissure along the hair ribbon, reverse with numerous tiny central ticks as well. Nicely centered and highly attractive, and perhaps at the low end of the Condition Census for the variety.

We disagree slightly with the cataloguer of that sale in terms of grade – to our eyes the light red in the protected areas is completely natural, and the coin is a full AU in grade; bidders in the audience certainly agreed, as the piece realized $1,150 over a half dozen years ago, which was fair AU money at the time. Steve considered it to be the second finest known of the variety, and indeed we have not seen anything better than this at auction; the closest was the Partrick- Hessberg coin, an AU with a large planchet flaw. Ford's was a Choice VF but still called the second finest seen by its cataloguer – though this example is much nicer in every respect. This is one of a handful of Connecticut Copper varieties that proved to be much rarer than previously thought, and its rarity rating has gone up over the years while most others have drifted at least slightly downwards. This example has the typical late obverse die state, the swelling no doubt accounting for the rarity of the variety today. This obverse was paired only with this reverse, so it seems both dies must have failed around the same time. A gorgeous example of a legitimately rare variety, with an exceptional provenance. This will simply not be improved upon.......$2,250

Accompanied by Steve's original handwritten envelope and the lot ticket from the auction of his collection.

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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