Coin Specifications

Category: Early American - Post-Declaration (1776-1820)
Mint: Private
Obverse Designer: Standish Barry
Reverse Designer: Standish Barry
Composition: Silver
Diameter: mm
Edge: Reeded
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1790 BALTIMORE STANDISH BARRY 3P MS obverse 1790 BALTIMORE STANDISH BARRY 3P MS reverse
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Description & Analysis

A small number of threepence were struck by Standish Barry, a silversmith in Baltimore, Maryland. They feature a bust, facing left, surrounded by the legend: JULY • 4 • 90 • BALTIMORE • TOWN. The reverse shows the denomination with Barry’s full name along the perimeter.

For many years numismatists have speculated that the enigmatic bust on the obverse was a crude rendition of George Washington or perhaps a self-portrait of Barry. Recent research (Max B. Spiegel, “C4 Newsletter,” Spring 2009), however, uncovered contemporary sources that identify the portrait as that of James Calhoun, the first mayor of Baltimore.

The exactness of the date on the Standish Barry threepence – July 4, 1790 – has also been the subject of much speculation. It could refer to a Fourth of July celebration in the city, although no major celebration is known to have occurred in 1790. One did happen in 1809 and it was reported that the city’s silversmiths marched “under the direction of Standish Barry.” Will Nipper speculates that the “90” in the date could be a transposition of “09,” but it is unlikely that the Standish Barry threepence was issued as late as 1809.

Only around 20 Standish Barry threepence are known to have survived and most are in circulated grades. Some specimens have prominent die cracks and the piece in the collection of Colonial Williamsburg was struck from nearly shattered dies. It is likely that the dies used to strike the Standish Barry threepence failed quickly, with the result being a very limited mintage.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 4
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 64

The chart showing VF series, 40 series, 45 series, 50 series, 53 series, 55 series, 58 series, 60 series, 61 series, 62 series, 63 series, 64 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 12/10/2019 1790 BALTIMORE 3P STANDISH BARRY MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base----1-1------1-1------4
-----------------------
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total----1-1------1-1------4
 ----25 %-25 %------25 %-25 %------ 

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
10/17/2012 PCGS Genuine VF   Stack's Bowers The November 2012 Baltimore Auction - US and World Lots - Live and Internet Only Sessions, 144/Lot# 6094 $43,125.00
1/7/2015 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2015 January 7 - 12 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando Session(4), 1216/Lot# 5660 $135,125.00
3/26/2015 PCGS XF 45   Stack's Bowers March 2015 Baltimore, 6065/Lot# 2529 $49,937.50
11/1/2017 NGC XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2017 November 1 & 3 Eric P. Newman Collection Part IX US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas Session(1), 1260/Lot# 15052 $40,800.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1790 BALTIMORE 3P STANDISH BARRY MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
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