1796 Myddleton Tokens by Variety | Colonial Coins by Type | U.S. Coins by Denomination 
Previous Coin on the "Cool Coins" Tour | Next Coin on the "Cool Coins" Tour

Obverse of 1796 Myddelton Token in Copper      Reverse of 1796 Myddelton Token in Copper


1796 MYDDELTON TOKEN
IN COPPER

Notes:

Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles

Recent appearances:
PCGS Proof-64 Red & Brown (illustrated above).  Ex - Fairchild Family Trust - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection" Sale, May 28-30, 2001, Lot 63, "PCGS Proof-63 Red & Brown", sold for $18,975.00 - Paul Arthur Norris - Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Pre-Long Beach Sale", September 23 & 24, 2002, Lot 87, illustrated, where it was described as follows: "PCGS graded Proof 64 Red and Brown. This is the finest graded by PCGS in Red and Brown (there are no Red examples graded) according to their online report (July 11, 2002). The only other example is a higher technical grade of PR-65, but that example is "Brown" instead of Red and Brown as seen here. With copper, it is more desirable to have as much original red as possible and this example has substantial red remaining. We do note some minor spotting, expected on a coin of this age, the most evident on the B of BY on the reverse. The devices are well frosted, and the fields fully mirrored, which combined produces contrast that any true collector will fall in love with. It is likely that less than 10 are known, although a review of several sales failed to match this specimen to a previous auction appearance, this is not the Garrett, Norweb, Picker, Robison, Walter, Pittman or Roper specimen. Regardless, this is magnificent coin that boasts a full strike, glorious surfaces and color, and extreme rarity. Further, it is an historically relevant issue, proposed as a circulating coin for Myddelton's colony in Kentucky. The tokens were struck by Matthew Boulton with dies almost certainly engraved by Conrad Küchler.
Extensive research on the Myddelton tokens was done by Richard Margolis and his findings were published in The Colonial Newsletter in December 1999, a copy of which is available for the purchaser of this copper or the silver Myddelton token in this auction. The copper specimens were the intended issue, but for some reason a number of silver pieces (thought to have been 53) were struck first by Boulton on March 8, 1796. Of the copper specimens, Boulton's Medal Ledger shows only 11 were produced from the entire ledger period 1793-1816 (Margolis). Myddelton was preparing to leave for Kentucky in early March of that year, and had intended to take with him at least a ton (several thousand) of these copper tokens. However, the hand of fate intervened days before he was to board ship and Myddelton ended up in Newgate Prison as soon as these tokens were ordered from Boulton, charged and convicted with trying to hire a talented workmen from England for employment outside England, violating a 1783 statute prohibiting such acts. Boulton apparently ended up with most of the silver examples he struck, and made a very small number of copper tokens which he kept secret lest he be dragged into Myddelton's legal problems.
In a letter from Philip Parry Price Myddelton to Matthew Boulton (Margolis article) dated January 24, 1796, Myddelton revises his request for the dies and coinage for his proposed settlement in Kentucky starting with the reverse as follows "...Britannia with her head pendant, her spear reversed and leaning on her shield, before her the demons of Discord and tyranny treading under foot the Emblems of Liberty and justice. Legend "Payable by P.P.P. Myddelton". On the obverse "the figure of Liberty holding out her hand to welcome two little genii presented to her by Hope, at the feet of the figure of Liberty the Emblems of peace and Plenty. Legend "British Settlement Kentucky 1796"." Most of these elements were employed by Kücher and his engraving represents one of the pinnacle moments of 18th century die engraving. Tragically, Myddelton's dream of floating a colony in Kentucky was capsized when he was arrested for the crimes mentioned, and spent the next three and a half years mouldering in Newgate Prison. Only a handful of the copper tokens remain to memorialize Myddelton's dream of a freer and more just world an ocean away from his prison confines. One of the most beautiful of all colonial issues and of extreme rarity and importance to all numismatists.
Here is a partial list of auction appearances of copper examples presented in no particular order of condition, as all are "Proof", with thanks to Richard Margolis as noted above, with some duplication likely as specimens reappear at auction. 1). This coin. The Paul Arthur Norris collection and purchased from our Fairchild Family Trust Collection, May 28, 2001, lot 63 at $18,975. 2). ANS ex Norweb. 3). Numismatic Gallery 5-10-53 sale, Bowers and Merena's Norweb Sale, 10-13-87:1401. 4). Stack's Roper Sale 12-9-83:350. 5). Stack's Auction '83 session, 7-29-83:515 to John Whitney Walter, Stack's Walter Sale 5-4-99:1704. 6). Ellsworth/Garrett, Bowers and Ruddy's Garrett Sale, 10-2-80:284. 7). Stack's Richard Picker Sale, 10-24-84:284. 8). David Aker's Pittman Sale 10-21-97:121 at $13,750.

"Very Choice Proof".  Ex - A.H. Baldwin & Son, March 1954, sold for roughly $52.00 - John Jay Pittman - David Akers Numismatics, Inc. "John Jay Pittman Collection - Part One", October 21-23, 1997, Lot 121, illustrated, "Breen 1074,  159.4 grains.  Plain edge...only 8-10 pieces known.", sold for $13,750.00

Sources and/or recommended reading: