NGC-certified Finest Known ‘NE’ Massachusetts Shilling in Morton & Eden Auction

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The finest known ‘NE’ Massachusetts Shilling, which was recently certified by Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC), is part of a Morton & Eden sale this month. Incredibly, the shilling and other early American rarities — including two 1776 Continental Dollars — were recently discovered in a sweet tin in the United Kingdom. Bidding is already underway for Auction 113, which concludes November 26, 2021.

Massachusetts (1652) 'NE' Shilling graded NGC MS 61
Massachusetts (1652) ‘NE’ Shilling graded NGC MS 61

The Massachusetts (1652) ‘NE’ Shilling graded NGC MS 61 (lot 1034) has an estimate of £150,000 to £200,000 (about $201,000 to $268,000). It is the only one of its type to have earned a Mint State grade.

Massachusetts Bay Colony struck the first coins in British America, initially with a design that included ‘NE’ (for New England) on the obverse and a Roman numeral on the reverse. In this case, the Shilling bears the number ‘XII’ to note that it is worth 12 Pence, equal to one shilling. To discourage counterfeiting or clipping, the designs later became more elaborate, including trees as well as legends near the edge.

An art advisor in northern England, whose ancestors include William Wentworth, an early New England settler who established a prominent family, consigned the coin after it was discovered in an assortment of coins that were stored in a small metal container.

"There were several hundred coins in the old sweet tin," said Morton & Eden Coin Specialist James Morton. "The star of the collection is unquestionably this remarkable New England shilling, the plain appearance of which belies its extraordinary historic significance and outstanding original state of preservation."

The discoveries also include two examples of the 1776 Continental Dollar. These enigmatic coins were struck in various metals, and numismatists cherish them today for their connection to the newly independent United States. They show a sundial and the date 1776 on the obverse and the interlocking names of the American colonies on the reverse.

1776 Pewter 'EG FECIT' Continental Dollar graded NGC MS 63
1776 Pewter ‘EG FECIT’ Continental Dollar graded NGC MS 63

A 1776 Pewter ‘EG FECIT’ Continental Dollar graded NGC MS 63 (lot 1037) has an estimate of £30,000 to £40,000 (about $40,000 to $54,000). Another 1776 Pewter ‘EG FECIT’ Continental Dollar is graded NGC MS 62 (lot 1038) and also has an estimate of £30,000 to £40,000 (about $40,000 to $54,000).

"The field of numismatics never seems to run out of surprises," said Scott Schechter, NGC Chief Numismatist. "Following its certification by NGC’s expert grading team, I am certain that the only-known Mint State ‘NE’ Shilling will have an impressive debut."

The other NGC-certified rarities from the tin are:

  • a 1781-dated Bronze Libertas Americana Medal graded NGC MS 62 BN (lot 1039) with an estimate of £6,000 to £8,000 (about $8,100 to $10,700)
  • a 1652 Massachusetts ‘N’ Reversed Pine Tree Shilling graded NGC UNC Details (lot 1035) with an estimate of £3,000 to £4,000 (about $4,000 to $5,400)

All estimates provided by the auction house. All dollar amounts are US Dollars.

About Numismatic Guaranty Company™ (NGC®)

NGC is the world’s largest and most trusted third-party grading service for coins, tokens and medals, with more than 51 million collectibles certified. Founded in 1987, NGC provides an accurate, consistent and impartial assessment of authenticity and grade. Every coin that NGC certifies is backed by the comprehensive NGC Guarantee of authenticity and grade, which gives buyers greater confidence. This results in higher prices realized and greater liquidity for NGC-certified coins. To learn more, visit NGCcoin.com.

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Kaiser Wilhelm

Imagine the feeling one gets upon opening an old nondescript metal box and discovering dozens of extraordinary numismatic marvels inside, especially ones from colonial America!

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Last edited 8 days ago by Kaiser Wilhelm
Antonio

The New England coins were the first American coins, minted in 1652. 32 years after the Plymouth colony. What a great way to remember this year’s Thanksgiving.

Kaiser Wilhelm

That’s a great call there, Antonio, regarding the synchronicity of the earliest New England coins and the proximity of the great annual fall feast. Speaking of which, a very Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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Jake

You know the coin grading means nothing when a Massachusetts (1652) ‘NE’ Shilling gets graded a 61 looking like that, by NGC lol. Wishing coin collector’s, especially KW and Seth, a Happy Thanksgiving!

Rich

Jake, talk about coin grading meaning nothing, how about this lmao example:“PCGS-slabbed cricket brings nearly $6,000” – The remains of a cricket in a PCGS slab sold for nearly $6,000 on Oct. 31 in a GreatCollections auction.Described by GreatCollections as an “Undated PCGS Holder With Cricket Remains,” it sold for $5,906.25 at an Oct. 31 auction. The auctioneer warned bidders, “Please note: the cricket remains are very fragile and may break into additional parts in the future,” before grading it, “a solid MS-65 Full Head (Detached).” [Source: Coin World, Nov 23, 2021] So much for the old advice, “Buy the… Read more »

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Kaiser Wilhelm

First of all, Rich, a Happy Thanksgiving to you, although as I read your comment I began to wonder if we had somehow time-traveled to April 1, 2022, as I thought for sure this just had to be an April Fools joke! So it appears that buyers are now willing and eager to pay thousands of dollars for the slabs themselves completely independent of the value of the coins, if any, involved in these transactions. I thought I had heard everything but it appears there is indeed occasionally something new under the sun, and if this doesn’t qualify as such… Read more »

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Last edited 7 days ago by Kaiser Wilhelm
Rich

Thank you, Sir Kaiser! Wishing you all the best and a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Kaiser Wilhelm

You’re welcome, Rich. Your kind and thoughtful wishes are also very much appreciated!

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Kaiser Wilhelm

Thank you, Jake, for the Thanksgiving wishes. A Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

I’m going to try to give them the benefit of the doubt; is it at all possible that since there wasn’t much stamped on those coins to begin with that level of “clarity” counts for something, as in the “everything is relative” department. Just taking a wild stab.

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Last edited 7 days ago by Kaiser Wilhelm
Antonio

I have an “1781” North American Token.
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Kaiser Wilhelm

Antonio,

Apparently there are a couple of interesting stories that go with that token/medal. It is uncertain if it was minted in the United States or in Ireland, and it’s unclear if it was actually struck in 1817 or several years later. In any case, it’s a cool piece of numismatic history.

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Last edited 6 days ago by Kaiser Wilhelm
Antonio

KW, Yours is more authentic. The consensus is that it was minted in Ireland for use in Canada in the 1820s and antedated to circumvent British laws against tokens. It circulated near the U.S. Canadian border. There were a lot of unauthorized tokens introduced in the 1820s. In the 1830s the British decided to authorize bank tokens to meet the demand for small change and the last were produced in 1857. 1858 saw the introduction of the first Canadian Provincial coins minted for use in Canada. I bought several “colonial” tokens when I lived in Canada as a teenager. They… Read more »