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  • Regal British Coppers in the Colonies
  • Counterfeit British Coppers in America

    The Philadelphia Highway Find


    The listing below is an inventory of the British coppers discovered in Philadelphia in 1975 during the construction of Interstate 95. The first coins were discovered on February 14th by some treasure hunters in an excavation area just north of Dock Street. In the Eighteenth century this was where the Dock River joined the Delaware River. In 1671 the Blue Anchor Tavern was constructed on the site. In 1691 Thomas Budd rebuilt the tavern and also erected some houses in the area. On February 14, 1975 a group of 178 Wiliam III cast counterfeit halfpence was discovered in a 10x10 foot area of newly unearthed dirt. Within a few days the area was closed due to the rapid pace of the construction. The landfill was removed to three local dump sites (on Weccacoe Avenue, Third and Oregon, and Third and Callowhill). Coins continued to be found at the dump sites for several months including many additional William III cast counterfeits. In all 463 coins were uncovered including a 1785 Immune Columbia/Constellatio Nova pattern, a 1787 New Jersey copper, several Spanish and French coins and U.S. coins dating from a 1794 penny to a 1907 indian head cent. The listing below is limited to the British and Irish coppers found over the months. For a complete inventory see Newman and Gaspar.

    Regal British HalfpenceCounterfeit British HalfpenceIrish HalfpenceRegal British Farthings
    1694 (2)1699 cast copper (362)1681169- tin
    1700 (2)1734 cast lead1723 Woods (3)1774
    17191737 cast pewter1737
    17221738 cast pewter (2)1750
    1723 (3)1773 lead1752
    172417-- G II, young head, tin plated in copper1776
    1730 (2)17-- G II, young head, pewter1781
    173117-- G II old head, copper1804
    1735177- G III, lead
    1737 (2)
    1746
    1748*
    1750
    1755*
    1757 (2)*
    1771
    1772
    1775

    Reference

    See: Eric P. Newman and Peter P. Gaspar, "The Philadelphia Highway Coin Find," The Numismatist vol. 91 (March, 1978) 453-467, with a full listing on pp. 465-466. *The table in the article states that coins are genuine unless otherwise noted. No comment is noted for the 1748, 1755 and 1757 halfpennies but they cannot be genuine as no regal halfpennies were issued in those years. Robyn Beausoleil pointed out this problem from the Newman and Gaspar list in an e-mail of May 25, 2001.


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