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Rare Coin Market Update

Rare Coin Market Update #27 (Archives)

Continental Currency Dollar - Benjamin Franklin Leaves Behind a Numismatic Legacy

by Staff 2015-04-17 11:50:30

On this day April 17, 1790, American statesman, scientist, publisher and yes numismatist Benjamin Franklin dies in Philadelphia at age 84. We are all familiar with the Franklin Half Dollar, a 90% silver coin that was commissioned by the U.S. Congress to pay respect to one the founders of the United States. Little is known about one the most impressive and symbolic pieces of U.S coin history called the 1776 Continental Dollar minted in secrecy which Franklin had a direct influence.

The inscription on this historic U.S. rare coin dated back to 1776, when the thirteen American colonies sent a declaration back to England that they would no longer submit to English rule. The colonies declaring themselves as a sovereign entity stamped their mark into history with this Pewter, Brass, and Silver 1776 CONTINENTAL DOLLAR with sketch patterns designed by Benjamin Franklin.

Obverse bears the date 1776 with the inscription CONTINENTAL CURRENCY. Within is a sundial and below is MIND YOUR BUSINESS with FUGIO (“I fly”, a reference to the passage of time).  FUGIO refers to Time or the Sun which is fleeing, so one must use Time or daylight hours, wisely. No denomination is specified on either side of the Continental dollar.  

Reverse has 13 intertwined circles each the name of a state (13 colonies). In the center is the inscription AMERICAN CONGRESS – WE ARE ONE.

The designs are clearly based upon the February 17, 1776 issues of Continental Congress currency, which uses the same sundial and linked chains motifs, and the same legends FUGIO (Latin for "time flies"), MIND YOUR BUSINESS, AMERICAN CONGRESS, and WE ARE ONE. The names of the 13 colonies are inscribed, sometimes in abbreviated form, within individual rings.

The word "business" may have been  intended literally here, as Franklin was an influential and successful businessman, however the meaning may have been intended to mean both monetary and social business. Owning such a coin goes far beyond have in your possession a rare coin, this is having a piece of tangible history.