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$100,000 guide price for one of USA's oldest coins at Spink New York coin auction

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One of the oldest coins in US history, the 1776 US pewter dollar, is expected to fetch between $100,000 and $150,000 when it's auctioned by Spink later this month. For more coin news, sign up for our regular e-newsletter.

The pewter dollar forms part of Spink's New York coin auction, which runs from 19 to 20 June 2017. Spink describes the coin as 'mysterious' and 'controversial', because little is known about the use of such Continental Currency pieces, as a Spink expert explains: 'The Continental Currency pieces are mysterious, controversial, and historically important.

'Mysterious, because little documentation has been found concerning their origin and use. Controversy has always surrounded them. Collectors, dealers, and historians have asked "Are they coins or patterns?" "Who made them and under what circumstances?" "What are they really made of?" "Are they Dollars or Cents?" "What do the symbols and mottos really mean, and who designed them?"'

The 1776 US pewter dollar - a coin or a pattern?

Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. Coins listed pewter pieces under the heading of "CONTINENTAL CONGRESS PATTERNS." Breen used quotes around the word "Dollar" when he described the pewter pieces, but called the one silver piece he was aware of a Dollar (without quotes), giving the impression that he thought the silver piece was a coin, and the pewter pieces patterns.

The full auction description reads: 1776 Continental Dollar, Pewter. Newman 3-D, Breen-1095, W-8460, Low R.4. PCGS MS63. "EG FECIT" on the obverse. "CURRENCY." Large "N" in "AMERICAN" on the reverse. Sundial / Thirteen states on linked chains. A circular die crack extends from the "GEORGIA" link to the "DELAWARE" link. "WE ARE ONE."

(Image copyright Spink Auctions)

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