Back to the New Site and Found Two Fugio Cents in a Single Hunt!!!

paleomaxx

Hero Member
Aug 14, 2016
742
5,898
Upstate, NY
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Could not believe it, up until now I'd only found one Fugio ever and it was in a yard! They turn up once in a blue moon, even on period sites, so finding two in one day is the last thing I expected. Especially since this was a return trip to a site I'd already spent hours gridding!

This is the site from my previous post and I knew I had probably missed a few small things so the return was more of a mop-up trip. I found a couple small buttons and iron bits as expected and started to grid further away from the foundation headed towards the woods. The previous hunt I had found a couple of dandy buttons out this way so they must have walked back there often enough, although I still can't figure out why since it only leads to a swampy area. I picked up a faint, and deep 95 tone on the detector right in this strip. Usually it turns out to be a large hunk of cast iron, but always something I dig just in case. After carving out an enormous plug I, pulled the target from even deeper down and to my shock the rings were clear as day!

Fugio 1.jpg


A gorgeous Fugio cent! :hello2: If you're not familiar with it, the history behind these is fascinating. The Fugio cent was the first Federal coinage and supposedly they were all coined from the copper bands that wrapped the gunpowder barrels the French sent us during the Revolutionary War. Congress contracted out the minting (due in large part to a $10,000 bribe) to the same private firm that made the Connecticut copper coins and they gave them 30 tons of those copper bands to start minting. However that firm turned around and used the copper for other (more profitable) contracts. They were supposed to coin 300 tons of the Fugio cents, but instead they delivered about 4 tons of underweight coins. Unable to fulfill the obligation, they sold their equipment and left (or fled depending on the source) for Europe.

The whole thing was such a fiasco that Congress afterwards settled on a national mint for any further minting of United States coins. Few of the Fugio cents were released into circulation and a New York merchant purchased the majority of the coins at 1/3 face value to speculate on copper. However not even two weeks after he purchased them there was a copper panic and they lost 75% of their value landing him in debtor's prison. It's not know exactly how many were coined, but the estimate is about 400,000 and certainly far less than this were ever released to the public.

A real comedy of errors and pretty much my favorite early American coinage story! :laughing7:

So obviously I couldn't top that find right? Well I turned up a couple more copper coins which was pretty surprising since the first pass had only returned one colonial copper.

DSC09860.JPG


Neither of the above are in great condition, but at least identifiable as a worn King George III halfpenny and a destroyed Connecticut copper. On some slightly higher ground I pulled out a decent Vermont copper which made me pretty happy.

Vermont Copper.jpg


It's a 1788 Ryder-16, so common, but it's still pretty uncommon to dig a Vermont copper at all so that's fine by me! What really blew me away is not a dozen paces away from the first, I pulled another copper out of the ground that was unmistakably a second Fugio cent!

Fugio 2.jpg


The real question now was how would they look cleaned up and could I identify the die varieties. Fugio cents are really tricky to attribute and there are more than 55 different die marriages, almost all being pretty uncommon to very rare. The first one did pretty well after careful cleaning:

Fugio 1A.jpg


Only a little patina lost on either side and the lettering on the obverse was very strong. I'm fairly certain that it's a Newman 19-SS which is a rare variety; only 31-75 known! The second one cleaned up about the same, with the reverse being especially nice.

Fugio 2A.jpg



This one though is unmistakably a Newman 7-T which is R-4 so very scarce. Two really awesome coins and not completely destroyed by the ground so I couldn't be more pleased! :hello2:

Amazingly I found more colonial coppers than almost anything else that day. I did manage a handful of buttons and a large pewter spoon fragment:

DSC09847.JPG


There was a really nice pewter shoe buckle frame that I found and reassembled from pieces that were spread around a small area:

DSC09845.JPG


And finally a small brass bracelet, which is kind of an odd find:

DSC09848.JPG


No design or anything and I don't think I've pulled too many out of the ground.

Really amazing day, and I wouldn't think there would be much more at this site, but that's what I thought last time so I guess I'll have to go back again! :laughing7:
 
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paleomaxx

Hero Member
Aug 14, 2016
742
5,898
Upstate, NY
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  • Thread Starter
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I can’t believe this only has 24 likes right now. I just put in a banner vote, as those are two spectacular coins in great condition. What history. congrats
Thank you for your vote! I couldn't believe both ended up in good enough condition to ID the Newman types. A hunt I'll remember forever!
 

pepperj

Gold Member
Feb 3, 2009
19,096
51,572
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Congratulations on the great looking Fugios, what a day you had. :occasion14:
 

hogge

Silver Member
Mar 13, 2008
3,788
1,447
Pittsfield Ma.
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Could not believe it, up until now I'd only found one Fugio ever and it was in a yard! They turn up once in a blue moon, even on period sites, so finding two in one day is the last thing I expected. Especially since this was a return trip to a site I'd already spent hours gridding!

This is the site from my previous post and I knew I had probably missed a few small things so the return was more of a mop-up trip. I found a couple small buttons and iron bits as expected and started to grid further away from the foundation headed towards the woods. The previous hunt I had found a couple of dandy buttons out this way so they must have walked back there often enough, although I still can't figure out why since it only leads to a swampy area. I picked up a faint, and deep 95 tone on the detector right in this strip. Usually it turns out to be a large hunk of cast iron, but always something I dig just in case. After carving out an enormous plug I, pulled the target from even deeper down and to my shock the rings were clear as day!

View attachment 1983664

A gorgeous Fugio cent! :hello2: If you're not familiar with it, the history behind these is fascinating. The Fugio cent was the first Federal coinage and supposedly they were all coined from the copper bands that wrapped the gunpowder barrels the French sent us during the Revolutionary War. Congress contracted out the minting (due in large part to a $10,000 bribe) to the same private firm that made the Connecticut copper coins and they gave them 30 tons of those copper bands to start minting. However that firm turned around and used the copper for other (more profitable) contracts. They were supposed to coin 300 tons of the Fugio cents, but instead they delivered about 4 tons of underweight coins. Unable to fulfill the obligation, they sold their equipment and left (or fled depending on the source) for Europe.

The whole thing was such a fiasco that Congress afterwards settled on a national mint for any further minting of United States coins. Few of the Fugio cents were released into circulation and a New York merchant purchased the majority of the coins at 1/3 face value to speculate on copper. However not even two weeks after he purchased them there was a copper panic and they lost 75% of their value landing him in debtor's prison. It's not know exactly how many were coined, but the estimate is about 400,000 and certainly far less than this were ever released to the public.

A real comedy of errors and pretty much my favorite early American coinage story! :laughing7:

So obviously I couldn't top that find right? Well I turned up a couple more copper coins which was pretty surprising since the first pass had only returned one colonial copper.

View attachment 1983668

Neither of the above are in great condition, but at least identifiable as a worn King George III halfpenny and a destroyed Connecticut copper. On some slightly higher ground I pulled out a decent Vermont copper which made me pretty happy.

View attachment 1983669

It's a 1788 Ryder-16, so common, but it's still pretty uncommon to dig a Vermont copper at all so that's fine by me! What really blew me away is not a dozen paces away from the first, I pulled another copper out of the ground that was unmistakably a second Fugio cent!

View attachment 1983670

The real question now was how would they look cleaned up and could I identify the die varieties. Fugio cents are really tricky to attribute and there are more than 55 different die marriages, almost all being pretty uncommon to very rare. The first one did pretty well after careful cleaning:

View attachment 1983671

Only a little patina lost on either side and the lettering on the obverse was very strong. I'm fairly certain that it's a Newman 19-SS which is a rare variety; only 31-75 known! The second one cleaned up about the same, with the reverse being especially nice.

View attachment 1983672


This one though is unmistakably a Newman 7-T which is R-4 so very scarce. Two really awesome coins and not completely destroyed by the ground so I couldn't be more pleased! :hello2:

Amazingly I found more colonial coppers than almost anything else that day. I did manage a handful of buttons and a large pewter spoon fragment:

View attachment 1983676

There was a really nice pewter shoe buckle frame that I found and reassembled from pieces that were spread around a small area:

View attachment 1983677

And finally a small brass bracelet, which is kind of an odd find:

View attachment 1983678

No design or anything and I don't think I've pulled too many out of the ground.

Really amazing day, and I wouldn't think there would be much more at this site, but that's what I thought last time so I guess I'll have to go back again! :laughing7:
Great Finds! FUGIOS are awesome! My sister found a Newman 15-Y on Sunday. came out pretty nice. Will post soon. Congrats
 

Silvermonkey

Silver Member
Apr 24, 2013
3,325
6,038
Eastern Massachusetts
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AT Pro, XP Deus
Primary Interest:
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What a ridiculously great collection of finds! Seems like Fugios are popping out of the ground all over the place based on reading recent T-Net posts. Congratulations!!!
 

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