1739 Higley or Granby Copper. Freidus 3.2-D, W-8265. J CUT MY WAY THROUGH, Broad Axe Reverse. Good-4 (PCGS).
Extremely Rare 1739 Higley Copper
182.7 grains. Exemplary light brown surfaces, so unusual for a Higley copper, are nearly smooth, showing only the most minor sort of fine granularity under magnified scrutiny. The deer and denomination stand out boldly on the obverse, as well detailed as ever, while the legends are just fragments: LUE ME on the left side and PLEASE on the right. Several dull dents are seen, undoubtedly present since this coin was an overvalued halfpenny, with a few present over the deer and another on the rim at 8 o'clock. The axe is mostly visible on the reverse, and the legend is somewhat present: J UT WAY T RO. The last date digit is clear with a glass, and the 3 is present with a glass and a bit of imagination. A few dull dents are present on the reverse side, like the obverse. There are no sharp nicks, only the most insignificant pits, and no modern insults whatsoever. This is a wholly original, handsome, fairly well detailed Higley copper of the most desirable sort, struck from the sole dated 1739 reverse with the famed Broad Axe design. When we offered the unique 3.1-D Higley in our 2007 Henry Leon sale, we noted just 12 specimens from this reverse (Friedus reverse D) were known at the time of the 1994 Friedus ANS monograph. The Medio / Da Costa Gomez coin and the Leon sale coin made 13 and 14 (Boyd-Ford had none). At least four are in permanent museum collections. The present specimen was not among the five examples of Friedus 3.2-D identified when the Friedus manuscript was published, i.e. the Bushnell-Garrett piece, the Connecticut State Library piece, the Zabriskie-Newman Museum piece, the Norweb coin, and the Green-Oeschner coin. Of the four held privately, the Oeschner coin and the Da Costa Gomez coin are the only obviously superior ones, while the Garrett and Norweb coins are both low grade pieces with perhaps a little more sharpness in areas but without the nice color and surfaces here. Judging one finer than the other is a fool's errand. This coin has long been known, if not studied and attributed, as it was not plated in the 1947 ANA sale, where it was described as "considerable wear as usual. These very rare coins simply do not come up in better condition."
Pedigree: From the John "Jack" Royse Collection. Purchased from French's in 1969; earlier from Numismatic Gallery's 1947 ANA sale of the Robert Prann Collection, August 1947, lot 579.