Greg Reynolds published the first part in a Greysheet series on the Nova Constellatio Coppers. Here's a short excerpt - see the complete article online.
1783 Nova Constellatio Copper, Blunt Rays.
In 1785, Nova Constellatio Coppers were minted in or near Birmingham, England. The history of minting and numismatic die preparation activity in the Birmingham area during the 1780s is very unclear in 2022, as few records survive. Demand, supply and circumstances relating to private copper coins changed dramatically circa 1789. There were business failures and changes in the industry of minting Coppers. I capitalize Copper to refer to circular copper items that were widely accepted as a medium of exchange, at least for a while, and were of a denomination understood by those who spent and received them in transactions.
For years, Robert Morris and Gouverneur Morris worked together on finance, currency and coinage matters, before they were both partners in the venture that produced Nova Constellatio Coppers. From 1781 to 1784, Robert Morris was the Superintendent of Finance for the United States government and Gouverneur Morris was the Assistant Superintendent.
Robert Morris arranged for assayer and coiner Benjamin Dudley to come to Philadelphia to evaluate coins then in circulation and to assist with a plan for U.S. coinage. By 1782, it was clear that Robert Morris and Gouverneur Morris were proposing a coinage system and a U.S. Mint.
There were a variety of Coppers in circulation in America. Until the late 1780s, any recognizable copper coin, pattern for copper coinage, pertinent token, imitation British halfpenny, and counterfeit or fantasy copper piece that weighed between 112.5 and 160 grains would probably have been accepted at par with a British halfpenny by most businesses in the U.S.
Nova Constellatio Coppers are not counterfeits, fantasies or tokens. They are privately issued coins that were intended to and actually did circulate widely in accordance with an accepted standard, probably in all states of the union during the 1780s. These are true coins with connections to major founding fathers. They feature an artistic design that reflects American concepts. Even coin collectors who never before thought much about them may enjoy owning at least one Nova Constellatio Copper.
To read the complete article, see:
Nova Constellatio Coppers, Part 1: Purpose & Meaning
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