A great colonial rarity is featured in a March 8, 2019 Stack's Bowers blog article. I was unfamiliar with this variety. -Editor
Fascinating Albany Church Penny Rarity
Without D Variety
Struck on Both Sides
Undated (1790) Albany Church Penny. W-8495. Rarity-7. Without D--Overstruck on an English George II Halfpenny--VF-30 (PCGS). This is a truly notable example of a legendary rarity among early American types. Unlike most Albany Church pennies that we have handled over the years -- and there have not been all that many -- this piece is struck on both sides. The side that PCGS has elected to mount up in the holder displays nearly 50% of the decorative cartouche. The word CHURCH is complete, although the letter C is extremely faint and the adjacent H is also weak, while the word PENNY is also complete despite softness at the base of the letter P.
On the other side we note, once again, nearly 50% of the decorative cartouche, but for the central words CHURCH is absent entirely and only the letters NY in PENNY are discernible. Traces of the undertype are faint, yet discernible with patience, the "obverse" (as mounted in the PCGS holder) displaying outlines to King George's portrait at the left and right borders as well as traces of the Roman numeral II at 4 o'clock. On the other side of the coin remnants of the exergual line and the final letter A in BRITANNIA are discernible along the border from 11 to 1 o'clock. Both sides are predominantly smooth in appearance with no marks or other post-striking blemishes of note. Warmly and evenly toned, as well, handsome medium brown patina further enhances this coin's already strong visual appeal.
The Albany Church pennies are attributed to the First Presbyterian Church of Albany, New York and were produced as a result of a resolution passed by the church elders on January 4, 1790. These pieces were intended to provide parishioners with coppers to place in the Sunday offering plates, this at a time when small change was extremely scarce in the area following the coppers panic of 1789. The resolution authorizing these coins is quoted in Q. David Bowers' 2009 Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins:
"Resolved: That one thousand coppers be stamped Church Penny, and placed with the treasurer to exchange with members of the congregation, at the rate of twelve for one shilling, in order to add respect to the weekly collections."
Two varieties were produced, one without a letter D added to the field above the word CHURCH, as here, and the other with a D added. This letter is thought to be an abbreviation for penny, or denarium, as it was known in the English monetary system. Both types are exceedingly rare with an extant population of fewer than a dozen coins each. This is one of the nicest examples of the Without D variety that we have ever handled, a fleeting opportunity for the astute collector of early American coinage.
"The exergual line" is a great phrase I don't recall seeing before. Excellent coin - a very nice example. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
Undated (1790) Albany Church Penny. W-8495. Rarity-7. Without D--Overstruck on an English George II Halfpenny--VF-30 (PCGS). (https://www.stacksbowers.com/pages/lotinfo.aspx?LotId=1286109)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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