A Project of the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Endowment
University of Notre Dame, Department of Special Collections
by Louis Jordan

Images Coordinated by
James C. Spilman and the Colonial Newsletter Foundation

Back to the FAQ Page

FAQ: The 1776 Massachusetts Pine Tree Copper

As you may have noticed the introduction page to this coin in our site has the history of the original coin at:


There is only one original example of this coin, a copper coin of 31.8 mm weighing 198 grains, which was discovered in the 1850's. It was acquired by William Sumner Appleton near the end of that century. He later donated it to the Massachusetts Historical Society where it now resides.

In all probability other examples individuals may hold are reproductions. Some dies were made in imitation of this famous coin and several copies were struck. Possibly your coin is one of these and would have a small numismatic value. The Copley issue (which we have on the website) was a special silver coin put out by a Massachusetts coin company and is a commemorative issue with little monetary value. Also, more recently, some companies have made copper copies of colonial coins for sale as souvenirs at historical sites.

The value of coins from an imitation die would not be very high, possibly around $25 to $50. Commemorative issues, as the Copley, are in that same price range. If your item is a modern souvenir copy it would not have a numismatic value (these items sell for about $1 each or a package of four for $3.00). See exampe below.

If you believe you may have an hitherto unknown second original example you may wish to have the coin authenticated The Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) provides an authentication service. Their services and prices are listed on the web at:


Actually, I have about four inquiries per month on this coin. One individual has suggested the item was reproduced for a centennial celebration in 1876 but I have not found reference to such a minting. Nevertheless, based on the number of inquiries I receive it is clear numerous copper copies were issued at some point.

Below is an example of a set offered for $3.00 at colonial tourist sites: