In Part 1 and Part 2 of my story of John L. Roper’s collection of colonial and early American coins, I provided a background of the man, and a summary of some of the great colonial coins in his collection. His collection extended further to the history of the new Republic.
The early American coin collection Mr. Roper assembled included five Continental dollars, 10 Nova Constellatio coppers, three Confederatios — including the Red Book Plate coin — and 16 different Fugio cents, the first coinage issued under the authority of the United States government.
Among the private tokens issued after the Confederation are the rare Middleton pieces, which were said to be "unsurpassed in beauty and design” by any piece of this period. Other rarities included the handsome New York Theatre token, and five Rhode Island Ship tokens, which included the unique piece with VLUGTENDE not erased. The silver tokens issued by John Chalmers of Annapolis were complete, which included the extremely rare "Rings" Shilling, and the rare 1790 threepence issued by Standish Barry of Baltimore which was considered the second finest known.
The collection also included 52 Washington pieces, including such rarities as the unique Ship penny in brass, the 1792 Roman Head cent, the unique brass Grate cent and the pattern half dollars by Peter Getz.
Finally, there were examples of the first United States issues of 1792 — the Silver Center cent, the Birch cent and the half disme, together with the unique half disme in copper and the copper disme.
To further complement the historical significance of his collection, Mr. Roper had representation of foreign coinage that might have circulated in the colonies. The collection included "cut and counterstamped pieces," and later examples of pioneer and Confederate currency, which were part of the developing story of monetary history of the United States.
Mr. Roper also included early copper coins struck in 1793 — the half cent plus five different varieties of the 1793 Chain, Wreath and Liberty Cap issues, all of which were in outstanding condition.
While the coins in the collection on there own were impressive, in his desire to show more about the monetary history of America and its colonies, Mr. Roper assembled an outstanding collection of the paper currency used in our earlier days.
In Part 4 of this story I will discuss how an "old timer" enhanced his collection by adding outstanding colonial currency, early bank issues, Confederate currency, federal issues and Fractional Currency. In this way he could give a full "picture" of them money used in America’s earlier days.