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October 24, 2014


1652 Pine Tree Shilling PCGS MS62 Secure, CAC
Click on Coin Image to enlarge

1865 $20 Brother Jonathan PCGS MS63

1652 Pine Tree Shilling PCGS MS62 Secure, CAC - $42,500

Large Planchet, N Reversed. Only 1 higher at PCGS. All Pine Tree coinage is rare. In their population reports, both major grading services show that all No Pellets at Trunk Large Planchet shillings are rare in all grades.

In Mint State condition, Large Planchet Pine Tree shillings are exceptionally rare. Top this important early American rarity off with a CAC approval sticker and this is an incredible acquisition for the investor or advanced collector specializing in early American Colonial Coinage.

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 periphery.

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 instead.

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.


NEW COINS ADDED - (The week of 10/24/2014)

Very Truly Yours,

Tom Pilitowski
Toll Free:
Email: TomPilitowski@yahoo.com

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