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SERIES: U.S. Colonial Issues
LEVEL: Year, MintMark, & Major Variety

1714 Shilng Gloucester (Regular Strike)

PCGS #:
88
Diameter:
Designer:
Weight:
Edge:
Mintage:
Metal Content:
Other
Auction Record:
$36,000 • G6 • 9-1-1980 • Bowers & Ruddy
 
12
150,000
12
Condition Census (Explain)
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 VG10 estimated grade  

Dr. Charles Clay - Woodward & Strobridge 12/1871 - George Seavey Collector - William H. Strobridge 1873 - Lorin G. Parmelee Collection - James Ten Eyck Collection - B. Max Mehl 5/1922 - Waldo C. Newcomer Collection (inventory #2877, showing a cost of $210) - Garrett Collection - Johns Hopkins University - Bowers & Ruddy 10/1980:1318, $36,000

2 VG8 estimated grade  

Discovered in 1981 - Bowers & Ruddy "Gerry Nelson" 4/1982:1 - Anthony Terranova

Condition Census (Explain) Show fewer rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 VG10 estimated grade  

Dr. Charles Clay - Woodward & Strobridge 12/1871 - George Seavey Collector - William H. Strobridge 1873 - Lorin G. Parmelee Collection - James Ten Eyck Collection - B. Max Mehl 5/1922 - Waldo C. Newcomer Collection (inventory #2877, showing a cost of $210) - Garrett Collection - Johns Hopkins University - Bowers & Ruddy 10/1980:1318, $36,000

2 VG8 estimated grade  

Discovered in 1981 - Bowers & Ruddy "Gerry Nelson" 4/1982:1 - Anthony Terranova

P. Scott Rubin: The 1714 Gloucester Court House Token or Shilling struck in brass is one of the most intriguing of all colonial issues. The history of this coin has been evolving for almost a century and a half.

The first appearance of one of the currently two known specimens is in E.L. Mason’s April, 1869 auction where a specimen reported in the catalogue to have been acquired in England for Joseph J. Mickley for the sum of 7 pounds 7 shillings, equal to over $50 at the time. This was a large sum of money for a well worn collectable, which nothing was then known about.

The second specimen reported appears in W. Elliot Woodward and William Strobridge’s Sale of the Dr. Charles Clay Collection in December, 1871 and in 1875 Sylvester Crosby in his book Early American Coins states that there are two known specimens, one owned by Lorin Parmelee and the other by George W. Cram. The problem with this statement would not be identified until after 1976 when the Clay-Cram coin was compared with the Mickley-Parmelee coin. I turns out that the Clay-Cram coin was a cast copy of the Mickley-Parmelee coin.

So for a short period of time only one real specimen of this very early token was known. However, in March, 1981 a collector in the area of Gloucester, Virginia discovered another example. This coin appeared in the Bowers and Ruddy Galleries’ auction of April 30, 1982. This specimen was about as worn as the Mickley-Parmelee coin but it showed different areas, so for the first time the entire inscription of the coin could be made out.

So what was thought to say Richard Dawson turned out to be Righavlt Dawson and this name was really Righault since a v was used in place of a u in all other cases on the coin. It is known that families with the names of Righault and Dawson lived in Gloucester, Virginia in 1714. Also what some thought may say County turned out to be Courthouse, this was guessed at as far back as 1890 when it was sold in the Parmelee collection, but it took the 1981 discovery piece to prove it.

If this was not enough of a mystery the question is the XII on the coin there to represent the value of a shilling and was it struck in 1714 or was that a date of the building of the courthouse or some other anniversary?

After the 1981 discovery someone metal detecting in the Gloucester area discovered a very well worn brass coin of about half the weight of the now two known Shillings. It is dated 1715 and appears to have a VI for a six pence value on it. This seems to prove that the coins were meant to have value and that the year is the year of issue of the coins. This coin has yet to appear in the numismatic market.

So in the history of U.S. coins and tokens this issue is the earliest privately issued coinage, being issued in 1714 and is one of the rarest with only two known.