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RICH MANTIA ON THE FIRST UNITED STATES COIN
Inspired by The E-Sylum, Rich Mantia submitted these comments on the very first coin struck for the United States on behalf of the Congress of the Confederation. -EditorThe last issue of the E-Sylum from October 5th with your comment to, "buy the book before the coin." motivated me to send you this note. Nothing could be more true. I wanted to write this to you and all the readers of the E-Sylum because this is the place knowledgeable people go to be informed about numismatics. This open forum brings people together and enhances our hobby and passion through shared information.
I would like to share this with the readers. I believe that this bold statement is worth stating and all comments and criticism are welcome. I am able to show with clear evidence, facts, and deductions that the coin known as the 1783 Nova Constellatio 500 Unit (type 2) Quint is the very first coin struck for the United States on behalf of the Congress of the Confederation.
It became known with Robert Morris' diary annotation on April 2, 1783 where he stated "I sent for Mr. Dudley who delivered me a piece of silver coin being the first that has been struck as an American coin".
This coin is also misdescribed, because it is not the type 2, it is the prototype for the remaining 1783 Pattern pieces and it should properly be called the "Libertas Justitia" coins not "Nova Constellatio". Nova Constellatio was a revised version of this design that balanced the obverse and reverse by completing the thought for the "Eye of Providence", the "Glory", and the circular constellation of new stars. The coin has also been repeatedly shown with the "Eye of Providence" facing the left, which is incorrect giving the coin a medal turn appearance. The "Eye" should face right for the correct coin turn image.
Lastly, Walter Breen was wrong with his 1986 statement in his Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. Coins that it is pin scratched having a date of "2 Dec" in 18th century script. It is pin scratched and it is 18th century script, but it has 4 letters on it. They are as follows: F DeO. Many may think this is for the Latin phrase of "Fecit Deo", but that too is wrong. It is for the Latin phrase of "Favente Deo", meaning the Favor, Support, or Aid of God! This was a possible inscription for the finished coinage and/or it may have been a plea for God's help to have this coin be accepted by Congress.
This is the 225th Anniversary of its striking at what could be called the actual First U.S. Mint in Philadelphia assembled by Benjamin Dudley in 1783. I have been working on this research for some time and I hope to be able to present a paper to the Coinage of the America's Conference at the A.N.S. I have much more information to substantiate my statements here, but none of this would have been possible for me if were not for books and the knowledge that they contain. While this country is in a financial turmoil, it is still far better than when this coin was first created and the "Eye of Providence" was watching then as it is now.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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