PCGS CoinFacts: U.S. Colonials
Some of the most interesting American coins are those issued by the colonies prior to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789. Included among U.S. Colonial coins are Hogge Money, Pine Tree, Oak Tree, and Willow Tree silver coins, the Brasher “Doubloon”, Elephant Tokens, and many more private and legally sanctioned coins. Among my favorites are the Vermont Copper coins issued between 1785 and 1788.
The Vermont coinage started out in 1785 while Vermont was still a Republic (it became the 14th American colony in 1777 and the 14th American State in 1791). The first coins bore an image of the Green Mountains with the sun rising behind, and a plow below. View Coin Here The reverse features an all-seeing eye within rays of glory, similar to the design on the Nova Constellatio copper coins. The Latin legend reads QUARTA DECIMA STELLA, which translates to “14th Star”, indicating its place among the American colonies.
Another edition combines a Bust type Vermont obverse with a 1785 Immune Columbia reverse – a most unusual combination that may have been made later than 1785.
One of the more interesting varieties is the 1786 “Baby Head”, on which the ribbons of the wreath are place so low that they appear to be tying a baby’s bib instead.
The 1787 BRITANNIA reverse was an attempt to mimic British copper coins in an attempt to ensure acceptance of the coins in regular circulation, where British coins were plentiful.
There are forty different die varieties in the Vermont Copper series, one of which is a contemporary counterfeit and another that is of questionable authenticity. Many of the varieties are extremely rare, so the prospects of completing a set of all of the die varieties are slim, indeed. Also, Vermont Copper circulated heavily, so finding high-grade examples on decent planchets is quite difficult. However, if you are looking for a real numismatic challenge, you will find it here in the coinage of Vermont.