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1786NovaOBV 1786NovaREV

Breen-1135 variety, considered to be Rarity-8 with just three examples known and, as such, one of the rarest and most desirable coins in the early American series.  Interestingly, Walter Breen and all past catalogers have incorrectly described this type as having just two known examples, but our research confirms three.

Believed to be a ‘Speculative Pattern’ for US coinage and so categorized in the Redbook alongside other related and legendary issues.

Unknown to Sylvester Crosby and therefore unlisted in his seminal reference ‘The Early Coins of America’ published in 1875.  This very coin was the actual discovery coin for this type, having been identified by Dr. Edward Maris (of New Jersey state coinage fame) in 1885, and later sold as part of the famed Maris collection in 1886.

Missing from the National Numismatic Collection and the Garrett and Norweb collections, the only other specimens known are as follows:

  1. Stack’s John Roper collection sale, December 1983, Lot #213
  2. Bowers and Merena’s Frederick Taylor collection sale, March 1987, Lot #2095

In both instances, the 1786 Immunis Columbia Large Eagle was among the most sought after and expensive items in the auction.

The $33,000 price realized in the Taylor sale was the single highest price of any early American item in that important offering, with a 1792 Half Disme described as Choice AU55 selling for just $17,600 and a Choice VF Sommer Islands Sixpence bringing a modest $7,150 in the same sale.

This specimen is a lovely, original golden tan with some natural darker areas, struck on a broad and smooth planchet.  There is a bit of flatness on the high points of the design, which is a result of the shallow relief of the original dies.  It is important to note that these coins were struck as patterns to assess the design ‘in the coin’ and as such some striking inconsistency is perhaps not unexpected.

In all, an undeniably rare and historic issue and quite possibly the only opportunity for a collector to acquire a specimen of this type.

Ex Stack’s May, 2004 sale of the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, Part II, lot #289; earlier F.C.C. Boyd; earlier Hillyer Ryder; earlier Elmer Sears; earlier Harlan Page Smith’s June, 1886 sale of the Dr. Edward Maris Collection, lot #501.

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