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Massachusetts Silver Coins
Massachusetts "Willow Tree" Silver Coins
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U.S. Colonial Issues
Year, MintMark, & Major Variety
1652 3Pence Willow Tree (Regular Strike)
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$632,500 • VF • 10-1-2005 • Stack's
Auctions - PCGS Graded
Auctions - NGC Graded
Rarity and Survival Estimates (
1 / 3
6 / 12
60 or Better
1 / 3
1 / 12
65 or Better
1 / 3
1 / 12
P. Scott Rubin
: The 1652 Willow Tree Three Pence is one of the rarest of the Silver Coinage of Massachusetts with only three specimens ever seen. Crosby did not know of this coin when he wrote Coins Early of America, of the three coins known today, one is in the collection of ANS, the second was stolen from Yale University’s collection and is still unaccounted for, and the third is in a private collection.
Today only one of these three coins is available to collectors. The finest known of this variety appeared in Sotheby’s London 1926 Sale of the French Collection where it was bought by Mabel Garvan who donated it to Yale University; this coin was stolen from Yale and has never been recovered. The second specimen was in the 1882 Chapman brothers sale of the Bushnell Collection lot 144, it next appeared in the 1890 New York Coin and Stamp Company sale of the Parmelee Collection lot 309 where it was bought by Virgil Brand, after his death the coin went to his brother Armin Brand there to St. Louis coin dealer B.G. Johnston who sold it for $750 to The American Numismatic Society in whose collection it remains. The third specimen and the only one in private hands first appeared in the Spink London sale of 1935 of the Lincoln Collection as lot 149, it was bought by Wurtzbach who sold it to T.J. Clarke and then it went to the collection of F.C.C. Boyd and its last auction (as of December, 2013) was Stack’s 2005 auction of Part XII of the John J. Ford Jr. Collection, lot 12 where it sold for $632,500.
This makes the 1652 Willow Tree Three Pence one of the rarest American coins ever.
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