1776 $1 CURRENCY, Pewter MS (PCGS# 794)

The June 2011 Baltimore Auction

  • Auctioneer:
    Stack's/Bowers
  • Lot Number:
    230
  • Grade:
    MS63
  • Price:
    $115,000.00
Lot Description
The origin of the Continental dollars of 1776 is shrouded in mystery, although&nbsp;it is almost certainly rooted in the desire of the Continental Congress to issue a circulating medium of exchange that would help the United Colonies fight the war for independence from Great Britain. What we do know for certain is that the Continental Congress passed four resolutions during 1776 for the issuance of <em>paper currency</em>. The first two resolutions,&nbsp;dated to the month of February and&nbsp;May 9, provided for various denominations of paper currency that included the $1 note. The resolutions of July 22 and November 2, however, failed&nbsp;did not include the $1 denomination. It seems likely, therefore, that the Continental Congress had plans to replace the paper $1 note with the metallic Continental dollars.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The greatest number of Continental dollars produced were struck in pewter, and these may have been the pieces that the Continental Congress intended for function in place of the $1 notes. It is likely, however, that the original plan also included&nbsp;an "upgrade" (if you will)&nbsp;to silver Continental dollars of full intrinsic worth at the time -- a much better alternative to the $1 notes that would presumably have met with widespread acceptance in commerce. Desperately short of funds, however, the Continental Congress was unable to provide enough bullion to make an extensive silver coinage possible and, in the end, only the pewter pieces were struck in significant numbers. A (very) few brass impressions are also known to exist, their original purpose unknown.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The first pewter Continental dollars were struck in New York City at the time when the Continental Congress was still located in that city. When New York fell to the British under General William Howe in September of 1776, the minting facility almost certainly followed the Continental Congress in its flight to Philadelphia. Additional Conti
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