1783 P '100' Nova Plain PR (PCGS# 45409)

2014 May 16 - 17 Selections from the Eric P. Newman Collection IV Signature Auction - New York #1199

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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1783 '100' Unique Plain Edge Nova Constellatio 100 Units, Silver, AU55 NGC. W-1820. To quote Heritage Auctions' Co-Chairman Jim Halperin, "The 1783 Nova Constellatio patterns are, quite simply, national treasures. Not only are they the first pattern coins issued by the newly independent United States, they are also the forerunners of the decimal coinage's acceptance, first in America, then eventually by most monetary systems throughout the world. From a historical perspective, I believe that no more important coinage exists from any country on earth." These coins are of the utmost interest to students of history, economics, and art, as well as coin collectors of all disciplines. Heritage Auctions is privileged to offer the discovery example of the 1783 Nova Constellatio bit, the unique plain edge example from the fabulous collection of Eric P. Newman, in just its third auction appearance. This coin's last public offering was in 1903, over 100 years ago. The Need for a Unified Monetary System In 1781, the newly independent United States found itself in a nearly untenable financial situation. The country was operating as a loose affiliation of states under the weak central authority of the Articles of Confederation. Each of the original 13 colonies functioned as a separate economic entity and official rates of exchange varied widely from one state to another. To quote Gouverneur Morris: "The various coins, which have circulated in America, have undergone different changes in their value, so that there is hardly any which can be considered as a general standard, unless it be Spanish dollars. These pass in Georgia at five shillings, in North Carolina and New York at eight shillings, in Virginia and the four Eastern States at six shillings, and in all other states, excepting South Carolina, at seven shillings and sixpence, and in South Carolina at thirty two shillings and sixpence." To make the situation even worse, the money supply of the new country consisted of…
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