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Our First Colonial Site and Rarest Coin Ever

Tony Scarangelli June 11, 2018

After years of finding a variety of coins and artifacts from the 19th and 20th century, my son and I stumbled on an area with 17th century colonial artifacts. On the initial day detecting the area, we found our first two state coppers, a 1786 New Jersey and 1787 Connecticut.
At the time, we had little knowledge of colonial coins and artifacts and had no idea what we found. We therefore searched out social media sites with knowledgeable folks to help identify the coins and artifacts we were finding. After describing the coins and determining, we had N.J. and CT. coppers, we also learned there were numerous die varieties of each.
We learned identifying the N.J. would be much easier than the CT. In total, there are 148 total varieties of N.J. coppers and 59 varieties for 1786. The Connecticut coppers had a whopping 350 varieties total and 241 for 1787. At the time, we therefore only posted a picture of the N.J. for variety identification, a Maris 25-S. We never posted a picture of the CT and placed it in a shoebox in the closet.
After a few years, we became more knowledgeable on colonial coins but my no means experts. On a cold winter morning in early 2018 with nothing else to do, we took the CT out of the shoebox and posted it for identification. Responses from folks started out identifying it as potential common varieties of the CT but then something happened. The discussion turned to the “Et * Lib” on the reverse that meant Independence and Liberty. There are multiple ways, in which the Latin words were created on the die versions. A * was placed between the Et Lib and the L of Lib was not a full length L, but a much shorter L.
As folks agreed on the attribution, someone then announced it is a Miller 33.36-SS?! At first my son and I thought great, now we finally know what variety. We then sensed there was more we did not understand, based on the immediate solemness of the social media site. Everyone then scrambled for pictures of this variety and found it difficult finding any. What we then learned was the fact a Miller 33.36-SS was extremely rare, only seven known specimens existed and can be sought-after, even in ground found condition!
I started detecting with my father decades ago. Never did we sell a coin. My son and I discussed selling this coin thru an auction house or internet site. After discussions and debates on pros and cons, my son and I decided to take my father’s approach and hold onto it for now.

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