The Bolen-Woodward Silver Bar Cent

ZoinsZoins Posts: 19,986 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited April 7, 2019 7:35AM in U.S. Coin Forum

I was just following this Bolen-Woodward Silver Bar cent. 12 of these were struck by William Elliot Woodward using dies by John Adams Bolen. I like this specimen because the colors are behind the bars on the reverse.

This one was offered by Dave Wnuck. I'm unsure of any other pedigree but it would be nice to know more about it.

Anyone else like these or have one?

Bolen-Woodward Bar Cent in Silver, PCGS MS62 pop 0/1/2, Wnuck Specimen


  • rickoricko Posts: 70,003 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow... Really nice.... would love to find one of those while hunting some of the old foundations/walls around here...Cheers, RickO

  • RealoneRealone Posts: 18,145 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 20, 2019 6:56AM

    Great Bolen piece and gorgeous to boot.
    I have some great Bolen examples too, will be selling them shortly I believe.

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  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Zoins - Some of the newer board members might enjoy background on the design and on the Woodward-Bolen (and other) imitations.

  • Aspie_RoccoAspie_Rocco Posts: 2,329 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 20, 2019 10:57AM
  • Timbuk3Timbuk3 Posts: 10,688 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very nice, wish I had one !!! :)

  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 19,168 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Exceedingly cool


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  • DCWDCW Posts: 4,108 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Bolen and Merriam both made "copies" of colonial coins to include the bar cent, elephant tokens, Non Vi Virtute, etc.

    The original bar cent takes its design from a Continental Army button, and the 13 bars on the reverse are of course indicative of the 13 original colonies. I believe they were struck in England sometime in the late 1780s

    I've seen a few of these silver strikes come up for sale over the years. The above example is very nice. Do you own it, John?

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  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 21, 2019 9:43AM

    13 bars represent the separate and independent colonial states. Notice that the bars have no connection but preserve a parallel course.

    Interlocking letters USA represent the unified Confederation of colonial states and thus present them as a unity with a single course.

    Origin from an Army button may or may not be correct - but no one has examined this for 150 years.

  • DCWDCW Posts: 4,108 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RogerB said:
    Origin from an Army button may or may not be correct - but no one has examined this for 150 years.

    It would seem like an obvious connection.
    I thought this was a foregone conclusion?
    See image borrowed from Dave Wnuck (wish I had bought it!)

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  • johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 20,100 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Timbuk3 said:
    Very nice, wish I had one !!! :)

    I do to timbuck :)

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The bars are nowhere to be found on or near any Revolutionary era buttons.
    As for the monogram, the form is different. The token emphasizes the S for States, the button has the S as an interlock between U and A but not the very prominent character of the token; however such a combination of letters would seem self-evident.

    There might easily be some other prototype "USA" that more closely resembles the token. I'm reminded of a certain discovery that a long-favored American post-revolutionary 'coin' was actually a European product. :)

  • Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 2,849 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is why I dig. That's a beauty. Peace Roy

  • DIMEMANDIMEMAN Posts: 21,063 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have always loved those Bar Cents. They are so expensive so I will probably never have one.

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  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 19,986 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 21, 2019 8:09PM

    @DCW said:
    I've seen a few of these silver strikes come up for sale over the years. The above example is very nice. Do you own it, John?

    I actively look for these and immediately liked this one when it came up for sale. I like this one the most out of the ones I've seen so far. Unfortunately, I wasn't in a position to pick it up at the moment. I'm trying to shift my approach to collecting and investing now so there are some larger things to consider.

  • DiggerJimDiggerJim Posts: 347 ✭✭✭✭

    This is why I love this forum......daily history lessons!!

    Love it!!


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  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 19,986 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 25, 2019 3:09PM

    Old Thread Update

    This was sold by Stack's Bowers on Feb 27, 2019 for $6,600.

    Undated (1860s) Bar Copper. Bolen Copy. Musante JAB-2, W-14220. Silver. MS-62 (PCGS).

    A lovely example of a significant rarity within this particular area of colonial and related coinage. Pronounced denticulation is evident along the left obverse and right reverse borders, the opposing areas devoid of this design element. The central devices are sharply rendered, both sides smooth in hand with dominant deep pearl gray patina. Splashes of iridescent cobalt and reddish-russet further adorn the reverse. This is one of the most famous struck copies of a colonial or early federal era type, although the typically encountered example is in copper. The mintage for silver impressions is just 12 pieces, per W. Elliott Woodward, who acquired the dies from Bolen and commissioned Lovett to strike these pieces. Although this comment in Woodward's sale of April 28 to May 1, 1863 pertains to the copper strikings, much can be gleaned from it regarding the rarity of their silver counterparts: "U.S.A. or Bar Cent, from the Bolen die, in copper; the die and most of the impressions having been destroyed, these pieces are now rarer than the originals." Clearly this is a significant and fleeting bidding opportunity for the specialist.

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