A unique set of four 1783 Nova Constellatio patterns will be displayed by Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) and Beverly Hills dealer Kevin Lipton on behalf of the coins’ anonymous current owner at the Chicago American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money, held from August 13 – 17, 2013. The one copper and three silver coins, insured for $15 million, were recently certified by PCGS and the exhibit will be at the PCGS booth (#701).
“The Nova Constellatio coins arguably are the first patterns for a United States coinage system, and this set of four is one of the great treasures of United States numismatics,” said David Hall, a PCGS Co-Founder and President of Collectors Universe, Inc.
“I had not personally seen three of these coins since the famous 1979 Garrett sale, and I’d never before seen the copper piece. Holding the four coins was an amazing experience. I just couldn’t stop looking at them, and my mind kept imagining what it was like in America in 1783,” explained Hall. “The denomination indicated on them is simply ‘Units.’ They were the brainchild of Robert Morris, the Superintendent of Finance during the Confederation period.”
The 1783-dated Nova Constellatio patterns in the display will be the unique copper 5 Units, graded PCGS PR66BN; one of three known silver 100 Units (known as a “Mark”), PCGS PR66; the unique Type 1 silver 500 Units (“Quint’), PCGS PR65+; and the unique silver 1000 Units, PCGS PR65+.
“It was a great pleasure to examine these coins. We hope that this pleasure now can be shared by many others at the ANA. Not only are these coins important historically, but they have been carefully preserved and remain in pristine condition. PCGS is very pleased to have been chosen to authenticate and grade these magnificent pieces,” said PCGS President Don Willis.
“Three of the coins in the display — the 100 Units, the Mark and the Quint — trace their pedigrees back to Charles Thomson, the Secretary of the Continental Congress. All four in the display were once owned by John J. Ford, Jr., one of the most important American numismatists of the 20th century.”
“The 5 Units was not known to still exist until it was discovered in a collection in France in 1977 and eventually purchased by Ford the following year. Ford purchased the other three Nova Constellatio patterns at the November 1979 Garrett Collection auction,” explained Willis.
The current, anonymous collector acquired the historic four-coin set in 2007 from the Ford Family Trust in a private transaction through Stack’s, according to Lipton who is representing the owner.
“Nova Constellatio is Latin for New Constellation, and some researchers believe that is a reference to the stars on the early American flags; a symbolic new constellation,” said Ron Guth, President of PCGS CoinFacts, the Internet’s largest resource for numismatic information.
“Morris became Finance Superintendent just before the Articles of Confederation took effect in 1781 and wanted to pursue the idea of federal coinage for the young United States. He hired engraver and metallurgist Benjamin Dudley, an Englishman who emigrated to Boston, to design proposed new coins for national use.”
The obverse design includes the legend NOVA CONSTELLATIO and the “Eye of Providence” with rays emanating from it. There are 13 stars to symbolize the original 13 colonies.
The reverse design includes an olive wreath containing the initials US and the denomination. There is also the legend, LIBERTAS – JUSTITIA (Liberty – Justice) and the date, 1783.
In his landmark 1878 book, The Early Coins of America, author Sylvester S. Crosby, stated that the Nova Constellatio patterns “…command an interest exceeding that of any others of this class.”
PCGS CoinFacts has information and high-quality photographs of the Nova Constellatio patterns online at www.pcgscoinfacts.com/Hierarchy.aspx?c=817&title=Nova Constellatio Patterns. Visitors to the exhibit at the PCGS booth during the ANA convention can receive, while supplies last, a free, illustrated informative booklet from PCGS about the historic Nova Constellatio patterns.
The ANA World’s Fair of Money will be held August 13 – 17, 2013 in the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Rd., in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois. For additional information, go to www.WorldsFairOfMoney.com.