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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 30, July 29, 2007, Article 28

PHILADELPHIA MINT 1798 DOLLAR DIE TRIAL

According to firm publicity, "Stack’s August Milwaukee sale will
include two pieces recently discovered in the soil of Center City
Philadelphia, including a previously unknown copper die trial for
a 1798 dollar. Two metal detectorists, working with permission on
a construction site whose location abutted that of the First
Philadelphia Mint, discovered the 1798 dollar struck on copper
scrap along with a 1793 half cent in the spring of 2006. Now, a
year later, the coins have been authenticated by American Numismatic
Society curator Robert W. Hoge, among others, and will be offered
for public sale for the very first time. The pieces will be sold as
separate lots, slated for sale on August 5 at the Hotel Metro in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

"Hoge called the piece “one of the most exciting items to have been
brought to my attention” in his column in the Spring 2007 issue of
ANS Magazine. The cataloguers of the piece described it as “incredible”
and termed the condition of the piece “sharpness as struck, condition
as found,” while noting some of the sedimentary buildup the trial
acquired during 200 years in the Philadelphia soil."

The following is from the lot description:

"This remarkable and unique trial is a discovery of impressive
historical importance and dramatic interest. It was found with a
metal detector on a privately owned lot that adjoined the site of
the First United States Mint in Center City, Philadelphia, along
with a 1793 half cent, found on the same site on the same day,
that is offered elsewhere in the present catalogue.

"The reason this scrap of copper was struck is clearly subject
to speculation—as dollars exist from this marriage in an earlier
state, it is not a "trial" in the proper sense, but is perhaps
better referred to as an off-metal strike. Of course, these largest
productions of the First Mint were struck on the largest press
and apparently fed by hand, thus it is not an error either. Its
unusual nature and ability to provoke conversation, to our mind,
add to the attraction of this piece, which must be included among
the great rarities in both the Bust dollar and U.S. pattern
coin fields."

To view the complete lot description, see:
Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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