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The E-Sylum (10/15/2017)

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Project Coordinator Len Augsburger offers observations related to content being searched for on the Newman Numismatic Portal. This week's search term is “James II Plantation Token”. -Editor

1688 American Plantation token
From Stack’s January 2008 Americana sale

An anonymous user entered the term “James II Plantation Token” into Newman Portal this week. These pewter coins were struck in England in 1688 and intended to circulate in the American colonies, at a value of 1/24 Real, alongside Spanish coinage which was more readily accepted. The reverse design is evocative of the (Spanish) Pillar dollar. The Plantation pieces are among the more collectible early colonial coins – a nice example in Stack’s Americana sale (January 2008, lot 5578) sold for $2,300.

Eric Newman wrote to John Ford, Jr. in January 1955 “I am working up the information on the plantation token which I now can date far I have found three reverse dies and two obverse dies.” Subsequent letters in the same file show that Newman relied on Leonard Forrer in England for research assistance, studied pieces in the ANS collection, and acquired a Plantation token restrike from Ford.

Newman similarly wrote to B. Max Mehl in February 1955 “I have been doing a great deal of historical research lately…and have found the authority for the James II Plantation token which will be published in The Numismatist soon.” Newman’s article, “First Documentary Evidence of the American Colonial Pewter 1/24th Real” appeared in the July 1955 Numismatist. The research demonstrated the coins were likely struck at the Royal Mint under a private commission in 1688. Newman detailed the known varieties (six obverse and six reverses), and credited Forrer for his assistance.

Link to John Ford, Jr. 1955 correspondence:

Link to B. Max Mehl 1955 correspondence:

Link to Stack’s January 2008 Americana sale:

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