Betts-562, W-1730 variety, Without Wreath Below Ship. Struck in Brass.
A lovely, original, well struck, problem-free example of this popular colonial issue, and while that alone would make it CRO website-worthy, that isn’t the story here.
Then what is? Hold on, I’m getting there – but first some background:
These tokens are believed to have been struck in England for a Dutch audience with legends (in Dutch, of course) to commemorate the victory of British Admiral Richard Howe over the American troops in Rhode Island.
Howe’s flagship is shown on the obverse, with the American troops fleeing Conanicut Island (just off of Newport, RI) on the reverse.
Originally the engraver included the word “Vlugtende” (translated as ‘fleeing’) on the obverse beneath the ship in reference to the fleeing Americans. But the position of the word erroneously implied that it was Howe who was fleeing, a mistake that the makers needed to fix post haste.
And so the obverse die was subsequently re-engraved with a wreath beneath the ship, while the word “Vlugtende” was physically scraped off the already minted tokens, leaving us with three major design types:
Just a couple of ‘uncorrected’ examples survive with the original legend beneath the ship intact, including this specimen as imaged (not very clearly, unfortunately) in the Garrett Collection catalog:
2. No Wreath
About half the remaining pieces have had the offending word scraped off, as noted, and now look like this:
3. With Wreath
The other half of surviving pieces were struck from the revised dies with the Wreath added, as here:
Bringing us back to the current coin on which Vlugtende was partially removed, but the job was poorly done, leaving remnants of the letters, the first time I can ever recall seeing that on any specimen:
Which makes this a most unusual and desirable example of particular interest to the specialist.
Note that this coin has been verified by CAC.
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