Found in a candy jar: One of the first coins struck in colonial North America | Smart news

The simple coin design was quickly replaced, so that today only about 40 copies remain.
Courtesy Morton and Eden

A silver coin minted in colonial Boston in 1652 sold for $ 351,912. The one shilling coin is one of only 40 of its kind known to survive today, reports the Associated Press (AP).

“I’m not surprised at how much interest this extraordinary coin has drawn,” said James Morton, coin specialist at London auction house Morton and Eden, in a statement. “The price paid … reflects its extraordinary historical importance and the excellent original condition. The fact that it was previously completely unknown, along with its outstanding provenance, only added to its attractiveness. “

Morton and Eden sold the coin on behalf of Wentworth “Wenty” Beaumont, a descendant of the early New England settler William Wentworth. Beaumont’s father recently discovered the artifact in a candy jar containing hundreds of ancient coins on the family’s estate in Northumberland, England.

“I can only assume that the shilling was brought from America by one of my ancestors years ago,” says Beaumont in the statement.

After the long-forgotten can resurfaced, Beaumont took it to Morton, who found the container held specimens from around the world, from ancient times to the 1970s, reports Sophie Corcoran for PA Media.

“I could see right away that there were a lot of interesting pieces along with some common modern coins, but there was a simple silver disk that caught my eye immediately,” says Morton in a separate statement from Morton and Eden. “I could hardly believe my eyes when I realized that it was a fine example of a New England shilling, minted by John Hull in Boston in 1652 for use as currency by early settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony . “

Bought by an anonymous bidder from the United States, the coin features a simple design with the initials NE (for New England) on one side and the Roman numeral XII (value in pence) on the other. The newly discovered specimen is the only one of its kind to have been certified as a “Mint State” by a coin inspection service.

Found in a candy jar: One of the first coins struck in colonial North America

A descendant of an early New England settler found the shilling in a box filled with coins from different eras and locations.

Courtesy Morton and Eden

“The coin has tremendous appeal,” coin expert Jim Bailey said before the sale to Mark Pratt of the AP. “Since there are only about 40 such coins, this specimen can be described as the most beautiful known.”

Before 1652, New England settlers used coins from various European countries as well as wampum made from shells as currency. Although the English authorities had banned the manufacture of colonial coins, the Massachusetts General Court opposed this order by commissioning silversmith John Hull and his assistant Robert Sanderson to manufacture the first coins minted in North America in 1652.

Minted to address the shortage of coins and improve the consistency of the coinage, these initial undated coins were easy to forge, so the Boston-based mint soon moved to more complex designs involving willow, oak, and pine. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, silversmiths dated all coins minted in the mint over the next 30 years to 1652 in order to “hide the continued minting of the British authorities in London”. In 1682, however, the English King Charles II closed the mint as “treasonous”; two years later the colony’s charter was revoked in response to “repeated violations” [its] Conditions, ”including the establishment of the illegal mint as Rebecca Beatrice Brooks for the Massachusetts History Blog last year.

William Wentworth arrived in New England likely in 1636. He was a follower of the Puritan clergyman John Wheelwright, who was exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637, and a signatory to the 1639 Exeter Combination that established the congregation that would later become Exeter. New Hampshire. Due in part to the fact that Beaumont found other early New England coins in the Candy Tin collection, Morton and Eden suspect that Wentworth newly acquired the coin and kept it in the family. The colonist’s descendants held a number of prominent positions in New England, noted Nancy Riley for My ancestors in New England in 2016.


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