Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker
December 17, 2012
American colonial coins have long been a series for the connoisseur. It's a field shaped in the public consciousness by R. S. Yeoman's seminal A Guide Book of United States Coins, and one for which there is no substitute for years of study and first-hand experience. Collectors attracted to Colonials tend to bring years of numismatic training to bear, not to mention a great enthusiasm for United States history.
It's the complexity of the series, which has challenged generations of numismatic scholars and researchers that makes compiling an authoritative price guide a daunting task. Yet it's a task that PCGS has invested a tremendous amount of time bringing to completion. Working with early American copper and colonial expert John Agre, owner of Coin Rarities Online, PCGS' world-class team of in-house experts - including Ron Guth and David Hall - compiled years of auction records and hands-on knowledge to assemble a price guide that not only meets CoinFacts' industry leading standards, but also represents a major step forward in the coverage of this important series for the hobby as a whole.
The team focused on several challenges inherent in the Colonial series. Factors such as color, planchet quality and strike have a major impact on the value of Pre-Federal Coins. PCGS knew that if they were going to publish a price guide on the series that they'd have to approach the subject in an appropriate way, by expressing the value of an average coin of the grade sold by a knowledgeable dealer to a knowledgeable collector. As one of the most respected dealers of this type of material, Agre was the perfect choice to serve as an advisor on the project, curating prices for the series' most esoteric issues. He's personally handled most of the known specimens over the course of his fifty-year career as a collector and dealer. Few people can lay claim to such a distinction.
Agre is also partly responsible for shaping PCGS' Colonial Set Registry templates for the Colonial Type Set, which he hopes will provide collectors with a way into the field of colonials without being frustrated by the series' many stoppers.
PCGS divides the Colonial price guide into nine main sections:
Massachusetts Silver Coins (1652-1662)
Pre-1776 States Coinage (1652-1774)
Pre-1776 Private and Regional Issues (1616-1766)
French Colonies (1670-1767)
Post-1776 States Coinage (1776-1788)
Post-1776 Private and Regional Issues (1778-1820)
Proposed National Issues (1783-1800)
Washington Pieces (1783-1800), and
Fugio Cents (1787)
Within these sections are hundreds of coins and tokens broken down by variety and type.
It's an exciting time to be a part of the hobby. With everything PCGS is doing these days, the company continues to lead the way in the era of Registry Sets and social collecting. The new Colonial section on PCGS Price Guide promises to bring a series older than the United States itself to a wider audience of sophisticated, twenty-first century collectors.