1787 Vermont BRITANNIA, BN MS (PCGS# 554)
The June 2012 Baltimore Auction
Lot Number: 1149
View the Original Auction
1787 Vermont Copper. RR-13, Bressett 17-V, W-2255. Rarity-1. BRITANNIA. AU-55 (PCGS). From obverse dies that feature a portrait akin to that of George III, and legends that read: VERMON AUCTORI. The reverse design elements are very weak, as typical of the variety, and some authorities suggest that this was deliberately done in order to make the pieces appear circulated and, therefore, acceptable to the contemporary public. A die lump rests in the central right obverse field, and extends between the letters TO. The deep reddish-brown surfaces are virtually abrasion free and only show minor wear. A lovely Choice AU example of this very popular type and variety.<br />
This particular coin is a poster example of a curious muling of non relevant dies made by the private coiners at Machin’s Mills, a secret minting facility at the outlet of Orange Pond near Newburgh, New York. The Whitman Encyclopedia gives details, with even more to be found in past issues of <em>The Colonial Newsletter</em> and <em>The C4 Newsletter,</em> not to overlook S.S. Crosby’s 1875 book, still useful today, <em>Early Coins of America.</em> In brief, Captain Thomas Machin, a Revolutionary War hero, gathered together some associates and formed a company to mint coins. Reuben Harmon, Jr., who had the franchise from Vermont to strike coins of that republic, was one of the partners. A building was erected and equipment set in place, and for several years through about 1789 the Mint set about producing its own versions (counterfeits) of contemporary British, Connecticut, New Jersey, and other coppers, all of which are avidly collected today. Indeed, as a class, the Machin’s Mills pieces tend to be more expensive than authorized issues! In addition, it is thought that the facility also made counterfeit silver coins, but very little is known regarding them.