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United States Colonial Coins

The Coinage Act of 1792 established an official government-issued monetary system. However, coins circulated in the fledgling United States before 1792. These coins were a mix of mostly Spanish pieces of eight and colonial issues. The earliest of these colonial coins were crude silver coins known as Massachusetts silvers, which were shillings issued in 1652 by the Massachusetts colony. Three variations of these coins were issued, all dated 1652: the willow tree, oak tree, and pine tree variants.

While there are several more examples of early colonial coins, most were issued in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. Virginia issued a series of half pennies, pennies, and shillings in 1773 and 1774, with other states following shortly thereafter. In 1776, the Continental Congress issued a Continental silver dollar. Designed by Benjamin Franklin, these dollars were minted in pewter, brass, and silver. They feature the 13 colonies as interlocking rings encircling the reverse of the coin.

One of the most prized numismatic colonial rarities is the Brasher doubloon. Privately minted in 1787 by goldsmith Ephraim Brasher, the Brasher doubloon was the first gold coin minted in the United States. In 2011, a one-of-a-kind punch on breast variation of the coin sold for just under $7.4 million.


Quick Facts

  • The Brasher doubloon has achieved a level of pop-culture notoriety, usually as a plot device in mystery novels
  • In 2002, a Maryland Lord Baltimore sixpence coin sold for just over $220,000. These coins were issued by the second Lord Baltimore, who was arrested because the colony's charter did not allow him to mint coins
  • One of the most widely minted colonial copper coins was the Fugio cent based off Ben Franklin's designs for the continental dollars

Recommended Items at Auction

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1788 Massachusetts, No Period Colonial Cent 1c Grades g, good
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
1788 Massachusetts, No Period Colonial Cent 1c Grades g, good
by Key Date Coins
Est: $77- $155
$201 Bid
(1737) Higley Copper, Broad Axe, COPY J CUT MY WAY THROUGH Colonial Cent 1c
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
(1737) Higley Copper, Broad Axe, COPY J CUT MY WAY THROUGH Colonial Cent 1c
by Key Date Coins
Est: $75- $150
$201 Bid
17xx new Jersey Colonial Cent 1c Grades g, good
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
17xx new Jersey Colonial Cent 1c Grades g, good
by Key Date Coins
Est: $75- $150
$201 Bid
178x Connecticut Mailed Bust Right Colonial Cent 1c Grades ag
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
178x Connecticut Mailed Bust Right Colonial Cent 1c Grades ag
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$101 Bid
1787 New Jersey Sprig Above Plow Colonial Cent 1c Graded vf25 By SEGS
Dec 08, 11:00 AM EST
1787 New Jersey Sprig Above Plow Colonial Cent 1c Graded vf25 By SEGS
by Key Date Coins
Est: $264- $528
$1201 Bid
1787 New Jersey Colonial Cent 1c Grades ag
Dec 08, 11:00 AM EST
1787 New Jersey Colonial Cent 1c Grades ag
by Key Date Coins
Est: $50- $100
$201 Bid
1787 Connecticut Draped Bust Colonial Copper Coin ANACS EF40
Dec 04, 7:00 AM PST
1787 Connecticut Draped Bust Colonial Copper Coin ANACS EF40
by BK Auctions
Est: $700- $800
$10 Bids
New Jersey Plain Shield Colonial Coin
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
New Jersey Plain Shield Colonial Coin
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $475- $4,750
$4750 Bids
1787 Connecticut Colonial Coin NICELY CIRCULATED
Dec 11, 12:30 PM CST
1787 Connecticut Colonial Coin NICELY CIRCULATED
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $40- $10,000
$350 Bids
1788 New Jersey Head Right Colonial Cent 1c Graded vf30 details By SEGS
Dec 05, 11:00 AM EST
1788 New Jersey Head Right Colonial Cent 1c Graded vf30 details By SEGS
by Key Date Coins
Est: $200- $400
$1500 Bids
1787 Connecticut Draped Bust Left Colonial Cent 1c Grades vg+ By SEGS
Dec 06, 11:00 AM EST
1787 Connecticut Draped Bust Left Colonial Cent 1c Grades vg+ By SEGS
by Key Date Coins
Est: $200- $400
$1500 Bids
1773 1/2P Virginia, Period Colonial Cent 1c Grades vg, very good By SEGS
Dec 08, 11:00 AM EST
1773 1/2P Virginia, Period Colonial Cent 1c Grades vg, very good By SEGS
by Key Date Coins
Est: $50- $100
$450 Bids
1794 Talbot, Allum & Lee New York Cent Colonial Cent w-8570, Lettered Edge 1c Grades vf+
Dec 07, 11:00 AM EST
1794 Talbot, Allum & Lee New York Cent Colonial Cent w-8570, Lettered Edge 1c Grades vf+
by Key Date Coins
Est: $220- $440
$600 Bids
Doubled Headed Washington Cent Colonial Cent Baker 6 GW 110 1c Graded au55 By SEGS
Dec 10, 11:00 AM EST
Doubled Headed Washington Cent Colonial Cent Baker 6 GW 110 1c Graded au55 By SEGS
by Key Date Coins
Est: $353- $706
$2750 Bids

Sellers Who Sell United States Colonial Coins


Key Date Coins

Key Date Coins

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

BK Auctions

BK Auctions

Gold Standard Auctions

Gold Standard Auctions