Jeff Burke submitted this article on his careful research while acquiring a nice New Jersey copper for his collection. Thank you!
Researching My 1787 Maris 38-c New Jersey Colonial Copper Coin
It was my lucky night! New Jersey Numismatic Society members Bill Liatys and Michael
Brooks surprised me by bringing an assortment of 40 to 50 raw and slabbed colonials to our
April 2023 NJNS meeting for me to examine, ranging in grades from About Good to Mint State.
It was the first time I had held a number of these specimens in my own hands since reading about
them in the Red Book. They included colonials from VT, MA, CT, NY, NJ, and VA, as well as
Rosa Americana 2 Pence and Half Pence, Machin's Mills, Mott Store Cards, Hibernia-Voce
Populi coins, Talbot Allum & Lee examples, Nova Constellatio coppers, Woods Hibernia,
Kentucky tokens, a Franklin Press Token, Washington pieces, North American tokens, and Bill's
prized London Elephant token. It was fascinating to examine these specimens with my
I've gained a wealth of knowledge about colonial coins from talking with Ray Williams and
reading his column on colonial numismatics in The Numismatist, reading articles about New
Jersey coppers in The C4 Newsletter, and being part of a New Jersey Coppers Facebook group.
Holding those colonial coppers in my hands at our meeting and seeing Facebook posts of New
Jersey copper varieties helped me decide to purchase my first New Jersey copper.
To further educate myself, before I started looking into specimens for sale, I conducted research
on the Newman Numismatic Portal, examined Stack's Bowers and Heritage online auction
records, and studied PCGS CoinFacts. I also reread sections pertaining to New Jersey coppers in
the Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins, by Q. David Bowers.
Next, I examined 400 to 500 New Jersey coppers on various dealer websites, ranging in grade
from About Good to Mint State. I kept returning to a 1787 38-c NGC XF 40 piece listed on Chris
McCawley's Early Cents website (earlycents.com). After a phone conversation with Lucas
Baldridge at Early Cents, the copper was mine!
I chose this coin for its beautiful reddish-brown color and glossy surfaces. I also like that it is
struck slightly off center. I love this piece despite its planchet flaws and lack of a full date as
struck. It was described as a possible condition census level coin for the variety. I was also
attracted to the provenance, which includes Catherine Bullowa, Jon Hansen, and Donald Partrick
summarized on the Early Cents website as
Ex; Catherine Bullowa – Jon Hanson 3/1973 –
Donald G. Partrick Collection.
(As a side note: My wife Beth, and I had seen Catherine Bullowa's tables at the New York
International Convention in January 2017, and I was impressed by her extensive inventory. I
recognized Bullowa from photographs and articles I had read about her distinguished career as a
professional numismatist. She was busy with the show at the time, while Beth and I moved on to
see more bourse table offerings – but after her death later that year, I sincerely regretted not
having struck up a conversation with her to learn about her journey as a coin dealer.)
I was so excited when my new copper arrived in late August. It even came with the original 2x2
envelope from the Donald G. Partrick Collection. What a lovely piece! I couldn't be happier with
I am now researching auction records to learn more about the provenance of the piece. I also
looked it up on NGC Verification and then researched the variety in NGC Coin Explorer. Of
particular interest to me are articles about Catherine Bullowa and Donald Partrick that I found on
the Numismatic Bibliomania Society website. Two excellent articles, both by Pete Smith, are
Catherine Elias Bullowa-Moore (1919-2017), in The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 23, June 4,
Donald G. Partrick (1926-2020), in The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 29, July 17,
I was excited about Ray Williams loaning me his book on New Jersey State Coppers by Roger
Siboni, John Howes, and A. Buell Ish, to learn more about this coinage! It was a joy to spend
evenings reading this massive work. My favorite sections were
Total Issue, Circulation, and
Modern Survival Estimates (pp. 47-54),
The Collectors and Their Collections (pp. 57-81),
Collecting Methodologies (pp. 85-102). I plan to purchase Michael Demling's 2nd edition
of his New Jersey Coppers Attribution Guide if I decide to pursue more varieties of NJ coppers.
I am honored that my New Jersey copper was once in the coin cabinets of Donald Partridge and
Catherine Bullowa. I plan to keep learning more about these figures and the coins in their
collections. May their memories be cherished.
Note: Lucas Baldridge of Early Cents kindly gave me permission to use the obverse and reverse
images of my coin from the Early Cents website to accompany this article.
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
DONALD G. PARTRICK (1926-2020)
CATHERINE ELIAS BULLOWA-MOORE (1919-2017)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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