1652 PINE TREE SHILLING, PINE TR, LG PL, REV N MS64
LARGE PLANCHET. REVERSE N. GEM SURFACES. TIED WITH ONE OTHER COIN FOR HIGHEST GRADED AT PCGS. CAC.
The necessity for coins had not yet arisen when settlers first landed in the Americas and would not until the middle of the seventeenth century. This is likely the result of the small populations early colonies had and the surrounding natives had no need for monetary commodities; rather they preferred bartered goods and consumables. By 1652 the once small colonies had grown into larger towns and cities that more closely resembled the English towns they left behind years before. At this point it was economically easier to apply value to a small metal commodity than to ambiguous bundles of tobacco. Colonies were often shorted on English money, but many were unauthorized to produce their own coinage- a law put in place by the King who feared he would lose control of distant ruled lands. It became difficult to keep up with overseas coinage demand due to the frequent English wars, so the King authorized mintage to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1652. The very first United States mint was nothing too extraordinary, but it certainly achieved a historically important feat. The original Boston mint had just two men running it- John Hull and Robert Saunderson - which struck silver shillings with the occasional six-pence, three-pence, and two-pence coin. As part of the British Empire, the thirteen colonies could not move away from the English system and would not be able to for another one-hundred and fifty years, which worked fine for the time being. Once authorized, the Boston mint quickly produced the simplest coins to meet demands. These premiere shillings were very plain with “NE” (for New England) on the obverse and a simple XII (to show a denomination of twelve pence) on the reverse. Soon enough the minters realized these coins were two easily clipped for metal or counterfeited, so new designs were added to the coin to prevent this. This particular coin features the pine tree with on a large planchet with a reverse "N" in England on the back of the coin. Each design has several different die varieties due to manual strikes and unregulated production, which gives them a unique quality. These coins appear in several varieties, which creates a spectacular opportunity for collectors to experience the start of American Coinage History.