The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 40, October 1, 2023, Article 13


Jeff Burke submitted this article on his careful research while acquiring a nice New Jersey copper for his collection. Thank you! -Editor

  Researching My 1787 Maris 38-c New Jersey Colonial Copper Coin
  Obverse 1787 38-c NGC XF 40 No Plow Sprig NJ Copper Reverse 1787 38-c NGC XF 40 No Plow Sprig NJ Copper

It was my lucky night! New Jersey Numismatic Society members Bill Liatys and Michael Brooks surprised me by bringing an assortment of 40 to 50 raw and slabbed colonials to our April 2023 NJNS meeting for me to examine, ranging in grades from About Good to Mint State. It was the first time I had held a number of these specimens in my own hands since reading about them in the Red Book. They included colonials from VT, MA, CT, NY, NJ, and VA, as well as Rosa Americana 2 Pence and Half Pence, Machin's Mills, Mott Store Cards, Hibernia-Voce Populi coins, Talbot Allum & Lee examples, Nova Constellatio coppers, Woods Hibernia, Kentucky tokens, a Franklin Press Token, Washington pieces, North American tokens, and Bill's prized London Elephant token. It was fascinating to examine these specimens with my magnifying glass!

I've gained a wealth of knowledge about colonial coins from talking with Ray Williams and reading his column on colonial numismatics in The Numismatist, reading articles about New Jersey coppers in The C4 Newsletter, and being part of a New Jersey Coppers Facebook group. Holding those colonial coppers in my hands at our meeting and seeing Facebook posts of New Jersey copper varieties helped me decide to purchase my first New Jersey copper.

To further educate myself, before I started looking into specimens for sale, I conducted research on the Newman Numismatic Portal, examined Stack's Bowers and Heritage online auction records, and studied PCGS CoinFacts. I also reread sections pertaining to New Jersey coppers in the Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins, by Q. David Bowers.

Next, I examined 400 to 500 New Jersey coppers on various dealer websites, ranging in grade from About Good to Mint State. I kept returning to a 1787 38-c NGC XF 40 piece listed on Chris McCawley's Early Cents website ( After a phone conversation with Lucas Baldridge at Early Cents, the copper was mine!

Slab Label 1787 38-c NGC XF 40 I chose this coin for its beautiful reddish-brown color and glossy surfaces. I also like that it is struck slightly off center. I love this piece despite its planchet flaws and lack of a full date as struck. It was described as a possible condition census level coin for the variety. I was also attracted to the provenance, which includes Catherine Bullowa, Jon Hansen, and Donald Partrick summarized on the Early Cents website as Ex; Catherine Bullowa – Jon Hanson 3/1973 – Donald G. Partrick Collection.

(As a side note: My wife Beth, and I had seen Catherine Bullowa's tables at the New York International Convention in January 2017, and I was impressed by her extensive inventory. I recognized Bullowa from photographs and articles I had read about her distinguished career as a professional numismatist. She was busy with the show at the time, while Beth and I moved on to see more bourse table offerings – but after her death later that year, I sincerely regretted not having struck up a conversation with her to learn about her journey as a coin dealer.)

2x2 Envelope for 1787 38-c NJ I was so excited when my new copper arrived in late August. It even came with the original 2x2 envelope from the Donald G. Partrick Collection. What a lovely piece! I couldn't be happier with it!

I am now researching auction records to learn more about the provenance of the piece. I also looked it up on NGC Verification and then researched the variety in NGC Coin Explorer. Of particular interest to me are articles about Catherine Bullowa and Donald Partrick that I found on the Numismatic Bibliomania Society website. Two excellent articles, both by Pete Smith, are Catherine Elias Bullowa-Moore (1919-2017), in The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 23, June 4, 2023; and Donald G. Partrick (1926-2020), in The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 29, July 17, 2022.

New Jersey State Coppers I was excited about Ray Williams loaning me his book on New Jersey State Coppers by Roger Siboni, John Howes, and A. Buell Ish, to learn more about this coinage! It was a joy to spend evenings reading this massive work. My favorite sections were Total Issue, Circulation, and Modern Survival Estimates (pp. 47-54), The Collectors and Their Collections (pp. 57-81), and Collecting Methodologies (pp. 85-102). I plan to purchase Michael Demling's 2nd edition of his New Jersey Coppers Attribution Guide if I decide to pursue more varieties of NJ coppers.

I am honored that my New Jersey copper was once in the coin cabinets of Donald Partridge and Catherine Bullowa. I plan to keep learning more about these figures and the coins in their collections. May their memories be cherished.

Note: Lucas Baldridge of Early Cents kindly gave me permission to use the obverse and reverse images of my coin from the Early Cents website to accompany this article.

To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
DONALD G. PARTRICK (1926-2020) (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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