The “Red Book” calls 1787 Fugio coppers the first coins clearly issued under U.S. authority, and they were valued at one cent each. They were produced to provide money to early America before the Philadelphia Mint would strike its first cents for circulation in 1793.
The obverse shows a sundial enjoying the rays of the sun above it with the word FUGIO, the date, and the phrase MIND YOUR BUSINESS below. The reverse design features 13 linked circles, a small circle in the middle with UNITED STATES surrounding WE ARE ONE. The dies were engraved by Abel Buell.
Many surviving examples show the challenges of striking copper coins at the time, such as this featured coin, from Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ auction of the Pierre Fricke Collection of Fugio Coppers on Nov. 22. This 1787 Fugio copper is of the Pointed Rays, STATES UNITED, 4 Cinquefoils Newman 8-X variety. The piece, graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as About Uncirculated Details, Cleaned, sold for $1,500.
The auctioneer called it “an instantly recognizable variety due to the heavy obverse die crack that bisects that side,” adding, “Despite the swelling caused by that die crack, the bold strike of this example allows for all of the letters in MIND YOUR BUSINESS to still be visible.”
Some coppery orange and silvery-gray tones suggest an old cleaning, “but the predominant color is a decent medium brown and overall appearance quite respectable,” according to Stack’s Bowers.
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