The June 2019 issue of the Journal of Early American Numismatics (JEAN) includes an article by E-Sylum contributor Julia Casey about
the enigmatic 1776-dated "Pine tree copper" -Editor
Editor Christopher R. McDowell writes:
It is widely believed in colonial numismatic circles that the 1776 Mass. Coppers are mid-19th century fakes. This was my opinion for many years.
Julia's article challenges this groupthink. Julia's article is built around a recently discovered English newspaper article from 1776 that
may or may not mention the 1776 Massachusetts coinage. Julia does not just take the newspaper story at face value, but digs deep to discover where
the story originated, leading to the discovery that it came from a Tory passenger on a ship out of Boston. With this as a springboard, Julia studies
every aspect of the coinage to determine when and where it was actually minted. A reexamination of the 1776 Mass. Copper coinage is long past due.
For too long we have just accepted rumor and opinion for fact, Julia's article gives us a whole new way to look at the subject.
With permission, here is a short excerpt from the article. -Editor
The 1776 dated Pine Tree copper of Massachusetts has been a numismatic mystery since it was first discovered in the mid-nineteenth century. Study
of the Pine Tree copper along with the design-linked "Indian" and "Janus" coppers has suffered from a lack of contemporary documentation of
In recent years, there have been unpublished rumors and skepticism concerning the origins of these coins. The purpose of this paper is to
introduce a contemporary newspaper account supporting the existence of the Pine Tree copper in 1776. Furthermore, there will be a discussion and
investigation of the early provenance of the 1776 Pine Tree copper in order to restore it to its rightful place as a quintessential American
In this analysis, the focus will be on the 1776 Pine Tree copper coin. This coin, however, cannot be properly examined without also looking at the
Janus and the Indian coppers as the origin of all three coins is most likely the same Boston workshop in the summer of 1776.
The three coins of the Massachusetts copper series of 1776, each presently unique, have been linked by associated reverse designs of a "Goddess of
Liberty" figure. The coins also share a similar appearance in die preparation, placement of design and legends, as well as apparent minting
standards. Several scholars in the past have agreed that these coins were produced at the same minting establishment.
For more information on JEAN, or to order, see: http://numismatics.org/store/cnl/
Wayne Homren, Editor
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