Jason P. writes: I have some very old coins that I found and I don’t know very much about them. One of them reads “Continental Curency” and is dated 1776. It then has a circle with the word “Fugio.” Inside the the circle is a sun shining onto something. Underneath that it appears to “mind your business”. On the reverse side there are thirteen circles linked together and inside a inner circle it says “We are one.” Anything you can tell me about this coin is greatly appreciated.
This coin is best described as a proposal or pattern for a future U.S. dollar. All examples are dated 1776. The obverse shows a sundial and the word Fugio, intending to refer to the expression “time flies”; the reverse was suggested by Benjamin Franklin and shows a link design with the names of the thirteen original colonies. There is evidence that that some of these patterns actually circulated. The obverse shows EG FECIT (EG made this); the EG traditionally is associated with the engraver Elisha Gallaudet. They were minted in silver, pewter and brass with more than one spelling of the word “Currency”.
There are four spelling types in Pewter:
- 1776 CURENCY (misspelled)
- 1776 CURRENCY
- 1776 CURRENCY, EG FECIT
- 1776 CURRENCEY.
Original Continental Dollars are very rare and can bring thousands of dollars at auction or private sale. Note that copies were struck in several different metals as souvenirs of the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 as well as from restrikes from copied dies in 1961. I’ve also seen museum copies but they usually are labeled “copy” or “replica” as required by current law. I suggest you show your coin to a trained numismatist or contact PCGS or NGC to use their authentication service.