The continental dollar was minted in New York city. However, there were two groups of dies from different sinkers, suggesting that the dies did not come from the same location. This coin was designed to replace British coins after the American revolution. The continental dollar was the first US coin to bear the country’s name.
Originally, the coin’s denomination was unknown until Newman surmised it to be a dollar. It’s also not known who authorized the minting of the coin. The coin was meant to symbolize unity and independence from Great Britain. Today, it is said to be highly valuable and can fetch collectors a good amount of money if it is in good mint grade and condition.
History of the 1776 Continental Currency Coin
The US started issuing banknotes in 1776 when the American Revolutionary War began. The 1776 continental currency coin was designed by Benjamin Franklin and was the first coin for the US. It was minted in 1776 and made from brass, silver, pewter, and planchets. The 1776 continental currency coin’s front side features a Latin motto, a sun shining on a sundial, and a rebus. The back side features 13 chain links signifying their plea for the 13 colonies to stay united.
There arose controversy over the status of the 1776 continental currency coin when one article argued that the coin was a token from Great Britain as a souvenir. The article mentioned the lack of records proving the coins commissioned until after the revolution as the main defense to their claim.
Fun Facts about the 1776 Continental Currency Coin
- The coin’s original mintage was melted to meet the rising demand for the alloy. The several surviving coins are made of pewter. A few are from silver since the US did not have a reliable silver supply during the war.
- Like other continental coins, the 1776 continental currency coin dies were hand-punched to produce different dies. There are seven die combinations featuring four obverse and two reverse dies. Unfortunately, one variety had the word currency misspelt as currency while another called the ornamented date misspelt it as currency. To correct the latter’s mistake, they punched a Y over the E and engraved the last Y with an ornamental figure.
- Concerning later use of the 1776 continental currency coin, the founding father variety adapted the 1776 continental currency on its reverse.
- Minting the coin would have been seen as an attempt to counterfeit currency by the British. So, the US minted their 1776 continental currency coin in secrecy. However, despite this secrecy, it is known that Elisha Gallaudet engraved the plates of the coins. This is evident in the variety that was punched with the words ‘EG FECIT,’ meaning Elisha Gallaudet made this.
- The continental currency coin is a rare piece. It is estimated that at least four silver versions and 15 brass versions are still in existence today.
Since history is a treasure, the 1776 continental currency coin is among the most sought-after collectibles. US collectors continue to seek these rare coins, especially those made from brass and silver.