On June 1, 1786, the New Jersey General Assembly granted to Thomas Goadsby, Albion Cox, and Walter Mould authority to coin three million coppers weighing six pennyweight and six grains (150 grains total, or 9.72 grams) apiece, to be completed by June 1788, on condition that they deliver to the state treasurer “one Tenth Part of the full Sum they shall strike.” These coppers were to pass current at 15 to the shilling. Matthias Ogden also played a significant financial and political role in the operation.
In an undertaking of this kind, the contractors purchased the metal and assumed all expenses of coining. The difference between these expenses and the total face value of the coins issued represented the profit.
Later, Goadsby and Cox asked authority to coin two-thirds of the total independently of Mould. Their petition was granted November 22, 1786. Mould was known to have produced his coins at Morristown, while Cox and Goadsby operated in Rahway. Coins with a diameter of 30 mm or more are generally considered Morristown products. Coins were also minted in Elizabethtown by Ogden and by others in New York.
The obverse shows design elements of the state seal, a horse’s head with plow, and the legend NOVA C?SAREA (New Jersey). The reverse has a United States shield and, for the first time on a coin, the legend E PLURIBUS UNUM (One Composed of Many). More than 140 varieties exist. The majority have the horse’s head facing to the right; however, three show the head facing left. Other variations have a sprig beneath the head, branches below the shield, stars, cinquefoils, and other ornaments.