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THE OFFICIAL RED BOOK®

Fugio Coppers

The first coins issued by authority of the United States were the “Fugio” pieces. Entries in the Journal of Congress supply interesting information about proceedings relating to this coinage. For example, the entry of Saturday, April 21, 1787, reads as follows: “That the board of treasury be authorized to contract for three hundred tons of copper coin of the federal standard, agreeable to the proposition of Mr. James Jarvis. . . . That it be coined at the expense of the contractor, etc.”

On Friday, July 6, 1787, it was “[r]esolved, that the board of treasury direct the contractor for the copper coinage to stamp on one side of each piece the following device, viz: thirteen circles linked together, a small circle in the middle, with the words ‘United States,’ around it; and in the centre, the words ‘We are one’; on the other side of the same piece the following device, viz: a dial with the hours expressed on the face of it; a meridian sun above on one side of which is the word ‘Fugio,’ [the intended meaning is time flies] and on the other the year in figures ‘1787,’ below the dial, the words ‘Mind Your Business.’”

The legends have been credited to Benjamin Franklin, and the coin, as a consequence, has sometimes been referred to as the Franklin cent.

These pieces were coined in New Haven, Connecticut. Most of the copper used in this coinage came from military stores or salvaged metal. The dies were made by Abel Buell of New Haven.

Fugio Coppers
1787 with Pointed Rays | 1787 with Club Rays | 1787 with Club Rays - New Haven Restrike

1787 with Pointed Rays

1787 with Club Rays

The so-called New Haven “restrikes” were made for Horatio N. Rust from dies recreated in 1859, partially through use of hubs or other devices supposedly (though the story is discredited by modern scholars) obtained by 14-year-old C. Wyllis Betts in 1858 on the site of the Broome & Platt store in New Haven, where the original coins had been made.

1787 with Club Rays - New Haven Restrike

The so-called New Haven “restrikes” were made for Horatio N. Rust from dies recreated in 1859, partially through use of hubs or other devices supposedly (though the story is discredited by modern scholars) obtained by 14-year-old C. Wyllis Betts in 1858 on the site of the Broome & Platt store in New Haven, where the original coins had been made.

Grade Price Guide
Circ|MS|PF
  • Description
  • Mintage
  • G Good. Good.
  • VG V. Good. V. Good.
  • F Fine. Fine.
  • VF V. Fine. V. Fine.
  • EF E. Fine. E. Fine.
  • AU A. Unc.. A. Unc..
  • Unc. Unc.. Unc..
  • Obverse Cross After Date, No Cinquefoils
    • Description
    • Mintage
    • G Good. Good.
    • VG V. Good. V. Good.
    • F Fine. Fine.
    • VF V. Fine. V. Fine.
    • EF E. Fine. E. Fine.
    • AU A. Unc.. A. Unc..
    • Description
    • Mintage
    • EF E. Fine. E. Fine.
    • AU A. Unc.. A. Unc..
    • Unc. Unc.. Unc..
    • Description
    • Mintage
    • G
    • VG
    • F
    • VF
    • EF
    • AU
    • Unc.
    • Obverse Cross After Date, No Cinquefoils
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