Group of NGC-certified Massachusetts Coins Realizes Over $2.9 Million

Posted on 8/24/2022

Offered by Heritage Auctions, the Salmon Collection rarities were led by a Willow Tree Sixpence that sold for $312,000.

A group of 128 rare Massachusetts Colonial coins, nearly all certified by Numismatic Guaranty Company™ (NGC®), has realized over $2.9 million in a Heritage Auctions sale. Averaging an astounding $23,000 apiece, the coins from the collection of numismatic researcher Christopher J. Salmon were offered on August 22, 2022.

The top lot was a 1652 Willow Tree Sixpence graded NGC AU 55 (lot 3250) that realized $312,000. These silver coins from the Massachusetts Bay Colony were among the first to be minted in British America. This particular coin is also pedigreed to the Garrett Collection.

Massachusetts 1652 Willow Tree Sixpence graded NGC AU 55 and pedigreed to the Garrett and Christopher J. Salmon Collections. Realized: $312,000
Click images to enlarge.

The Willow Tree coins replaced the initial series, known for the 'NE' design element that is short for New England. The other side of these coins displays a Roman numeral to denote the denomination: XII represents a shilling, which is the equivalent of 12 pence.

Massachusetts (1652) 'NE' Shilling graded NGC VF 35 and pedigreed to the Christopher J. Salmon Collection. Realized: $204,000
Click images to enlarge.

The initial 'NE' series was seen as vulnerable to clipping and counterfeiting and was quickly phased out. The auction included six examples of 'NE' Shillings, including one graded NGC VF 35 (lot 3238) that realized $204,000 and another graded NGC XF 45 (lot 3239) that realized $192,000.

Massachusetts (1652) 'NE' Shilling graded NGC XF 45 and pedigreed to the Christopher J. Salmon Collection. Realized: $192,000
Click images to enlarge.

This is the first of three Heritage sales this year featuring selections from the Salmon Collection. Salmon is the author of "Silver Coins of Massachusetts: Classification, Minting Technique, Atlas," the definitive work on these historic coins. The reference book includes an effective and flexible system to classify their varieties.

NGC is showcasing over 350 coins that it certified from the Salmon Collection in an image gallery on its website. The coins are sortable by variety and include their catalog number, offering the coin collecting community a comprehensive research tool for Massachusetts Colonial coinage. To explore the gallery, go to

Other highlights from the Salmon Collection in the auction included:

  • a (1652) 'NE' Shilling (Salmon 1-A) graded NGC AU Details (lot 3237) that realized $180,000
  • a (1652) 'NE' Shilling (Salmon 3-D) graded NGG AU 50 (lot 3242) that realized $168,000
  • a 1652 Willow Tree Shilling (Salmon 2-A) graded NGC VF 35 (lot 3245) that realized $156,000
  • a 1652 Willow Tree Shilling (Salmon 3-C) graded NGC VF 30 (lot 3247) that realized $144,000
  • a 1652 'IN' OBV Oak Tree Sixpence (Salmon 3-C) graded NGC AU 55 (lot 3284) that realized $117,000
  • a 1652 Willow Tree Shilling (Salmon 3-D) graded NGC VF 25 (lot 3248) that realized $114,000
  • a (1652) 'NE' Shilling (Salmon 3-C) graded NGC VF 35 (lot 3241) that realized $108,000
  • a (1652) 'NE' Shilling (Salmon 3-B) graded NGC XF Details (lot 3240) that realized $69,000
  • a 1652 Pellets Pine Tree Shilling (Salmon 1-A) graded NGC MS 63 (lot 3307) that realized $55,200

Prices realized include buyer's premium.

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