Nova Scotia and Boston

Halloween is over! Merry Christmas! That seems to be the trend when it comes decorations and displays at the shopping centers. Even the Province of Nova Scotia in Canada is busy preparing a tree cutting ceremony of a 45-foot white spruce to be donated to the City of Boston. This has always been the source for the official Christmas tree for the City of Boston displayed at the Boston Commons. It is an annual gift from Nova Scotia to show appreciation for Boston’s help after the Halifax explosion of December 6, 1917, an event that killed nearly 2,000 people and left hundreds more severely injured and homeless. Boston dispatched a train full of supplies and emergency personnel within a day of the disaster. 2023 will mark the 50th year that Nova Scotia has sent Boston a tree. The tree lighting of the official Christmas tree at Boston Commons is scheduled for November 30. If you and your family happen to be in the City of Boston for the tree lighting or any of the many festivities, make a note to stop by Stack’s Bowers Galleries located near Faneuil Hall.

One of the more famous coins produced locally in Boston and sought by many collectors is the Pine Tree shilling. In 1652, the Massachusetts Bay Colony authorized John Hull and Robert Sanderson to mint coinage; prior to that, the Massachusetts financial system was based on bartering and foreign coinage. The scarcity of coin currency was a problem for the growth of the local economy. On May 27, 1652, the Massachusetts General Court appointed John Hull to be Boston’s mint master without notifying or seeking the permission from the British government.

Coins were issued in denominations of threepence, sixpence and shilling and featured various designs. The most famous design and denomination was the Pine Tree shilling struck between around 1667 and 1682, nearly all of which bore the date “1652” (the date of the Massachusetts Bay Colony legislation sanctioning their production).

A sea salvaged Pine Tree shilling from the wreck of H.B.M.S. Feversham will be auctioned in our November 2023 Showcase Auction on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. This vessel sunk on October 7-8, 1711, off the coast of Scatari Island, Nova Scotia. The featured coin, of the Small Planchet variety, is a Noe-15, Salmon 1-A, W-830, Rarity-5 and is certified by PCGS as Fine, Sea Salvaged. As well as being a very desirable coin, it also exemplifies that the people of Boston and Nova Scotia had close commercial relations even in early colonial days.

Our team of numismatists here in Boston is ready to help you find the rare coins that you are looking for. To contact us for more information or to make an appointment for any numismatic inquiries please call 617-843-8343 or email We hope to see you soon!

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