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  • Vermont Coppers Introduction

    Vermont Coppers 1785-1788


    Landscape varieties - 1786



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    1786        Bressett 4-D / RR 6                                                         Coley - VT Copper

    Obverse:   VERMONTENSIUM . RES . PUBLICA . 1786 .
    Reverse:  STELLA . QUARTA . DECIMA .

    Weight:  134.3 g   (8.70 grams)             Diameter:  27.1 mm             Reverse die alignment: 360°

    Comments:  is the only 1786 issue to have both sides oriented toward 12:00 o'clock, as had been done on the three 1785 coppers. This obverse can be distinguished in several ways. Note that the U in PUBLICA was originally punched to low and then recut on the die. Also, the mountain range contains seven trees, five to the left of the sun and two to its right. Note that the second and third rays of the sun point towards the first stroke of the R and the space between the E and S in RES (other varieties point to the final stroke of the R and at the S). Late during the use of this obverse die a crack appeared from between the 17 and the 86 in the date progressing up to the plow. Our example predates this crack. A few small planchet voids are present as is usually the case on Vermont coppers.

    The reverse is the first die using the pointed rather than the club rays. This die is distinguished by a die break from under the Q in QUARTA progressing through the star under the letter A, then continuing as a thinner line through the ray and moving up crossing through the T and then moving back down under the letter A. There are smaller die breaks after the stop following QUARTA and at the star below that stop as well as in the bottom stroke of the E in DECIMA and between the C and I in that word. As on the obverse some small planchet voids are present.

    Provenance:  From the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Collection.



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    1786        Bressett 5-E / RR 7                                                Coley - VT Copper

    Obverse:   VE[RM]ONTENSIUM . RES . PUBLICA . 1786 .
    Reverse:  STELLA . QUARTA . DECIMA .

    Weight:  126.4 g   (8.19 grams)             Diameter:  27.2 mm             Reverse die alignment: 180°

    Comments:  This is the first issue to have the standard coin alignment of an obverse at 12:00 o'clock and a reverse aligned at 6:00 o'clock. This obverse has nine trees in the mountain range, seven to the left of the sun and two to the right; there is also a small shrub on the far left. This is one of two varieties in which the third ray of the sun points to the letter S in RES. It can be distinguished from the other variety in that the tip of the plow on this coin points to the number 1 in the date (on the other variety the plow tip is above the 7 of the date). Note that, as with the previos die, the letter U was not properly aligned when it was originally punched into the die and had to be recut. There is also a small die break just below the upper serif on the 1 in the date. There are some larger planchet voids of the upper left portion of the obverse.

    The reverse can be distinguished by a die break causing a small dot to the left of the stop between the words QUARTA and DECIMA. This reverse was later joined with obverse die 6. Note that the die was recut at the top of the letters of the E in STELLA and the top of the R in QUARTA.

    Provenance:  From the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Collection.



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    1786        Bressett 5-E / RR 7                                                 Coley - VT Copper

    Obverse:  . VERMONTENSIUM . RES . PUBLICA . 1786
    Reverse:  STELLA . QUARTA . DECIMA .

    Weight:  117.1 g   (7.59 grams)             Diameter:  27.0 mm             Reverse die alignment: 180°

    Comments:  See the above example for comments on this die. There are some larger plancher voids on the reverse.

    Provenance:  From the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Collection.


    Portrait varieties - 1786



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    1786        Bressett 7-F / RR 9           Bust right   "Baby Head"       Coley - VT Copper

    Obverse:  AUCTORI :   VERMON :
    Reverse:  INDE .   [five dots, one in each corner and a central one]     ET : LIB :    [date off planchet]

    Weight:  130.5 g   (8.45 grams)             Diameter:  27.7 mm             Reverse die alignment: 190°

    Comments:   When Harmon obtained an eight year extension of his minting privilege the coin design was changed from the landscape to the bust variety. See the introduction for details on this process. This coin is considered to be the first attempt at a Vermont bust copper. Fittingly, the distinguishing feature is the bust, know as the "Baby Head" because, like a small child, the head is large and round. It is attributed to William Coley, while he was still in New York, as it uses the same letter punches as the landscape varieties. It is generally thought Coley took a Connecticut copper from circulation to use as a model. It is suspected Coley used a 1786 bust left counterfeit Connecticut copper (Miller, 1786, 3-D). This counterfeit has often been attributed to James Atlee, while he was still in New York City. The "Baby Head" variety imitates the 1786 Miller 3-D in every way. They both have distinctive oversized heads facing to the right. Also, the legends are in the same position; this is the only Vermont copper to have an obverse legend with "AUCTORI" on the left side and the "VERMON" on the right (Auctori is always on the left on Connecticut coppers). In this example there is a planchet void running down the check below the eye.

    The reverse of this the first Vermont use of the seated Liberty figure. On this die variety there is a small liberty cap at the top of the pole. Also, on the shield there are four sheaves of grain. On this example there is a planchet void on the shield and only the top left sheaf is visible. This example is also struck off center so that the date (which should be below a double line) is completely off the planchet. The Baby Head obverse and reverse dies were not used in any other combinations, it is clear this coin is a 1786 Baby Head with the date area missing. The top of the planchet is unstamped and the denticles are quite pronounced around the upper half of the rim. The top of the initial I and the top of the final B in the reverse legend are missing due to the low strike. Because of the low strike the upper stop from the colon after LIB is missing as is the upper stop in the colon after AUCTORI directly opposite it on the obverse.

    Provenance:  Purchased through the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Endowment from EAHA Auction of December 13, 1997, lot 454.


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