PINE TREE SHILLING PCGS MS61 Secure, CAC Click on Coin Image to
PINE TREE SHILLING PCGS MS61 Secure, CAC
rare and quite amazing really, 1652 Massachusetts
Pine Tree Shilling Large Planchet, PCGS MS61 Secure,
CAC approved. All Pine Tree coinage is rare in all
grades. In their population reports, both major grading
services show that all No Pellets at Trunk Large Planchet
shillings are very rare in all grades. In Mint State
condition, Large Planchet Massachusetts Pine Tree
shillings are exceptionally rare and virtually unobtainable.
PCGS has certified only 2 "Large
Planchet, No Pellets" coins at the Mint State 61
grade level. This is one of those 2 specimens. This
highly desireable Pine Tree is a numismatic Rembrandt
at a fraction of a fraction of a Rembrandt price!
Please contact me by email
or telephone 1-800-624-1870
to reserve this great coin.
This Mint State, Large Planchet 1652 Pine Tree Shilling
comes in a Secure PCGS holder. The Secure designation
attests to the coin’s authenticity and originality.
The CAC sticker indicates that the coin is a premium
quality piece that fully deserves the assigned grade.
The coin is a light, silvery gray in color with touches
of gold, light lilac, rose, and green, further confirming
the coin’s originality. The surfaces are hard
and glossy with minimal abrasion marks, as expected
for a Mint State piece. The coin, which was struck on
a large planchet, was clipped and weighs 4.699 grams.
It was well struck for the issue with all the inscriptions
completely legible and a nearly complete center circle
of beads on both sides. The design is perfectly centered
on both sides, and only part of some letters and some
of the border beads are missing because of the clips.
The obverse of the coin shows a tree centered within
a circle of beads. It is surrounded by the inscription
MASATHVSETS followed by IN. The reverse shows the
date, 1652, and the denomination, XII, encircled by
beads. The surrounding inscription is NEW ENGLAND.
AN. DOM. An outer circle of beads is at the edge of
The Pine Tree coins were originally called “Boston”
or “Bay Shillings.” Many varieties exist
because the period of production was extended from 1662
to 1682. During this time the handmade dies wore out
or broke easily, requiring constant replacement. There
were two types of Pine Tree issues the large and small.
Minted in quantity, the Large Shillings include AN DOM
in the reverse legend. The Small Shillings use AN DO
In order to keep money in the colony, a law was passed
in 1654 prohibiting exportation of more than twenty
shillings upon penalty of total forfeiture. This law
was needed because Massachusetts colonists traded
with people of other colonies, and the coinage was
constantly being depleted.
The coins were all dated 1652, during the time that
the Puritans took power from the English Royalists and
created the Commonwealth of England, which was established
in 1649. Oliver Cromwell defeated the Royalist coalition
and ruled as Lord Protector of England from 1653 to
1658. He left the American colonies for the most part
to their own affairs, only intervening when his fellow
Puritans tried to usurp control of the Maryland Colony.
During this time, the colonists were free to coin their
own money. The monarchy was restored in 1660, but the
colony continued to mint coins, an act of treason. To
ameliorate this situation, Massachusetts Puritans sent
King Charles II presents, one of which was a shipload
of masts for the Royal Navy. Even using the 1652 date
could not hide evidence of coinage in the colonies after
the Restoration. Political gifts were given from time
to time to the King and to the Massachusetts government
by the mint masters and by the Court to the King. For
example in 1667 the mint masters paid the public treasury
forty pounds and ten pounds for the next seven years,
and in 1677: “It is ordered that the Treasurere
doe forthwith prouide ten barrels of Cranburyes, two
hogsheads of speciall Good Sampe, and three thousand
of Cod fish, to be sent to our messengers, by them to
be presented to his Majesty as a present from this Court.”
Many Pine Tree coins show teeth marks and evidence
of bending, souvenirs of the Salem witchcraft problems
of 1692. A bent coin would ward off witches’
spells. The smaller shillings were not bent as often
as the large ones because they were made from thicker
flans and could not be bent easily. However, they
were often counterfeited, shaved, and clipped.
In 1684, King James II revoked the charter of the Massachusetts
Bay Colony. A police state was established in the province.
Later a new governor was sent by the authorities to
restore the conditions that existed prior to 1652. Sir
Edmond Andros was the individual sent by the King. He
went to Hartford, Connecticut and tried to seize the
colony’s charter, but it was hidden in a tree.
It became known as the Charter Oak, which is pictured
on the Connecticut State Quarter of 1999. When James
II was ousted, Andros was shipped back to England.
Although the Pine Tree Shillings were replaced by
paper currency that became severely devalued, the
Pine Tree coinage remained the preferred means of
exchange along with Mexican dollars.
The coins of Massachusetts show
the beginning of a tradition of opposition to interference
by England in internal affairs of the colonies. They
represent the first step towards the Boston Tea Party,
the Sons of Liberty, and the Revolution that would follow.