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    Oak Tree Series: Noe Taxonomy

    Noe's classification system has led to confusion as it is limited to a single number for a coin and does not follow the more usual pattern of giving a number to each obverse die and a letter to each reverse die. Thus Noe 1 represents a specific obverse and reverse combination as does Noe 2, etc. The more usual classification system would be to used a combination number and letter. Thus the first coin in the series Noe 1,would be designated as 1-A showing it combines the first obverse die with the first reverse die. In this system Noe 2 would be 1-B, which explains it combines the first obverse die with the second reverse die. Clearly in the Noe single number system there is less flexibility for listing newly discovered obverses or reverses. The Noe system also causes much difficulty for anyone wishing to reorder the emission sequence. Picker and others has tried to refine Noe's sequence by giving decimal numbers to different states of Noe numbers; but in some cases this has led to more confusion - in that Picker's Noe 1.1 is actually earlier that Noe 1!

    Although Noe's numbers are sequential one must remember the minter may have changed the combination of obverse and reverse rocker dies on any specific day. In other words we must be open to the possibility that obverse rocker die 1 may have been paired with a newly made reverse rocker die B and then shortly thereafter have been paired once again with a still usable reverse die A. Thus the sequential Noe numbers does not necessarily reflect the emission chronology of a specific example of a coin (i.e. some of the first Noe 2 coins could have been minted before some of the later Noe 1 coins). For a revised emission chronology that needs further elucidation see: James E. Skalbe, "The Dating and Emission Sequence of the Oak and Pine Tree Coinage of Massachusetts Bay," The C4 Newsletter, A quarterly publication of the Colonial Coin Collectors Club, vol. 3, no. 1 (March, 1995) 19-23.

    Noe described each obverse and reverse coin variety but he did not give a die listing. I am listing obverse and reverse dies here simply to help clarify the Noe numbers for those unfamiliar with his work. Following the standard method obverse dies are numbered while reverse dies are lettered.

    The Oak Tree sixpence are found in 3 obverse dies and 3 reverse dies in 6 different combinations. Noe lists eight different varieties, two of which are recuts and three of which are now considered to be counterfeits. As with the shillings a list of Noe sixpence follows. Noe started his numbering with the shillings and continued it right through the Oak series.

    The Oak Tree threepence are found in 6 obverse dies and 3 reverse dies in 6 different combinations. One of these is a new variety discovered by Walter Breen, first described by Eric Newman and now listed in Picker as Noe 35 (Noe numbers stopped at 34). Again, Breen believes this Noe 35 to be the recut dies used on Noe 28 but no one else has agreed with this theory. The Noe numbers are listed below along with the newer discovery.

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    Section Contents Oak Tree Coins

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