The following is re-posted from the “Bowers on Collecting” column on Coin Update
The 1776-dated Continental Currency dollar in pewter is one of the best-known coins associated with early America. Conventional wisdom has had it that the paper dollar of similar design was discontinued in 1776, and the pewter dollar was issued as a more durable substitute.
In recent years, several researchers have delved into the coin deeply, now with the Internet making searches easier. It turns out that not a single reference in print has been found about metal 1776 Continental dollars in circulation in America at that time or any time later! I found this amazing. The more I read, the more I learned. It seems that electronic treasure detectorists have found countless metal buttons, coins, and the like in various places in the United States from that era, but not a single metal Continental dollar. However, such coins were for sale as medals in London before 1790! There is much more fascinating new information.
If you would like chapter and verse on some of this research, much is on the Internet site eSylum. Christopher McDowell, editor of the Journal of Early Numismatics (new name for the Colonial Newsletter published by the American Numismatic Society) is gathering all of the new finds.
Hope springs eternal, as they say, and if any Coin Update readers can find any citations for pewter (or tin) 1776 Continental dollars published before 1780, let me know!
See you next week!