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

paleomaxx

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Aug 14, 2016
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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:
 
Upvote 41
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paleomaxx

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Aug 14, 2016
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  • Thread Starter
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  • #21
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

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Feb 3, 2009
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Congratulations on the great looking Fugios, what a day you had. :occasion14:
 

hogge

Silver Member
Mar 13, 2008
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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

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Apr 24, 2013
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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!!!
 

Saker

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Jan 12, 2021
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SW PA
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Amazing hunt and some really nice finds. Congrats!
 

Silver Tree Chaser

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Aug 12, 2012
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Paleomaxx:

I wanted to post a photo for your thread to go along with my reply, so this is a bit delayed. I'm often looking at recoveries for any significance that may not be so apparent. Certainly, I could be way off the mark with this observation, but what's the harm? Sorry for cropping one of your photos, but I wanted to provide a good view of the reverse from one of your coins. By the way, a big congrats to you on digging two Fugio coins on a single outing - well done! Here's the thing - you hadn't mentioned the scratches on your coin. They're deliberate. If you take a close look, you'll see that a total of three X's were intentionally scratched into the coin. They were not scratched by chance.

Fugio 2A (2).jpg

Now take a look at another Fugio reverse from a coin that I dug several years ago. Notice that this Fugio also has intentional scratches defacing the coin – possibly the letter N or Z and some other scrawl. I've dug my share of coppers over the years. This is the only defaced copper I’ve encountered, so what's going on with these Fugio coins?

P9160235.JPG

The Fugio copper came out in 1787 and was minted for a single year. The coin was authorized by Congress, and its design of 13 linked circles for the colonies along with the words “UNITED STATES” and “WE ARE ONE” championed the idea of the colonies united under a strong federal government. The Anti-Federalists were members of a political movement that opposed a federal government and the creation of a presidency, which they feared would lead to another monarchy. The Anti-Federalists held to there views strongly enough that many opposed ratification of the Constitution. Anti-Federalists fervor ran high in Rhode Island, and almost led to a civil war among those supporting and those opposing ratification. Rhode Island was the last of the 13 colonies to ratify the Constitution.

I suspect that our two defaced Fugio coppers bear the handiwork of staunch Anti-Federalists opposed to the coins’ design promoting federalist ideals. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part to have a coin with an appealing connection to history, but who knows? Did I mention my Fugio was found in Rhode Island – a hotbed of Anti-Federalist fervor?
 

crashbandicoot

Silver Member
Sep 27, 2020
4,471
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Dumas,AR
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Congratulations on the rare double find and especially thanks for the history.I like that as much as the Fugios.Banner is in.
 

Scolino

Sr. Member
Nov 25, 2018
411
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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:
Congrats on some great finds!
 

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