The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is a census of Pitt Farthings. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. -Editor
Christopher McDowell Publishes Census of Pitt Farthings
The Pitt tokens are yet another enigmatic entry in the American colonial coin catalog. Nothing is known of their manufacture, which might have occurred in England or in
America, nor is the engraver known. What is certain is that they commemorative William Pitt’s involvement in the repeal of the Stamp Act (1766). The Act required a stamp on every
official document in the colonies, the proceeds of which were intended to support a standing British army in America, whose primary duty would be of course to enforce the
collection of even more taxes from the colonists. The Act was repealed in 1766 due to the influence of William Pitt and others, including Benjamin Franklin.
With little in the way of a documentary record, the pieces themselves tell the story. They were issued in two sizes, historically referred to as “farthings” or “halfpennies”
even though no coining authority has been identified. They did circulate in the colonies, and have been found by detectorists. The small format “farthing” pieces are substantially
more scarce than the large format “halfpenny,” with values in Fine-12 of $15,000 and $1,200, respectively. Under sponsorship of the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society,
Chris McDowell has prepared a census of all 24 known examples of the Pitt farthing. With such a low population, detailed investigation into each example is greatly facilitated,
and McDowell’s paper will be the last word on the subject absent the discovery of a hoard.
One of the more interesting pieces is the Anton brass specimen, said to include presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and Lyndon Johnson in its provenance. It was offered by Bill
Anton, Jr. in the February 2005 Numismatist and there described as gem uncirculated. Anton corresponded with Eric P. Newman regarding this piece in 1971, forwarding X-rays
that Newman used to verify the absence of a casting port. McDowell was able to track down images for this piece, and for all others, except in a single case. With the images, this
paper will serve as the “go to” guide for anyone wishing to acquire or catalog an example.
Image: Pitt farthing, ex. John J. Ford, Jr. VII (Stack’s 1/2019), lot 137, realized $43,125.
Link to Pitt Farthing census on Newman Portal:
THE BOOK BAZARRE
The new 2nd edition of Robert D. Leonard Jr.’s Curious Currency: The Story of Money From the Stone Age to the Internet Age
is now available, with
updated information on e-gold and PayPal, proximity payments, cryptocurrencies, and more. Winner of the Numismatic Literary Guild’s “Best Specialized Book, World Coins” award.
Order your copy for $16.95 at Whitman.com
, or call 1-800-546-2995.
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2012 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster