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Context of the Fugio "Mind your Business" legend

Thanks to you guys, I learned about the Fugio a few months ago. As I look more into it, one thing that I find puzzling is the "MIND YOUR BUSINESS" legend on the obverse. What do you think the context was for this back in the late 1700s? Today, we use 'mind your business' in somewhat of a derogatory way to tell people to get out of our affairs or worry about themselves instead of us. But if it meant the same in the 1700s, it seems like it would be odd thing to put on a coin. I wouldn't think people would have enjoyed the little social etiquette lesson everytime they looked at it. That would be analagous to putting something like "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all" along the rim of a Washington quarter today.

I'm thinking it probably meant "Do well at your business" or "Grow your business". Thoughts?

Jacob

Comments

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 38,954 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It doesn't mean "mind your own business". It means be "productive and diligent at your business".
  • MidLifeCrisisMidLifeCrisis Posts: 10,065 ✭✭✭✭
    The Fugio design and mottos came from Benjamin Franklin.

    In typical Franklin fashion, I think he meant "Mind Your Business" as "Make sure your affairs are in order", "Tend to your responsibilities", "Do those things that you are supposed to do", or something similar.

    I don't think he meant anything derogatory or sarcastic...in fact, I doubt if any such meaning attached until much later.
  • PistareenPistareen Posts: 1,503 ✭✭✭
    Mind Your Business was only half of the legend. The other part -- Fugio -- would have been understandable to most folks in the 18th century, even though it was latin. Fugio means "I fly," referring to the sundial, representing time.

    So the full legend is [Time] flies, [so] mind your business.

    Or, The clock is ticking, go do what you need to do.

    Very Franklinian. He conceived the legends and motif in 1776. In 1787, when Franklin was the eldest of elder statesmen, Congress decided upon this same idea for their new copper coin more quickly than Congress decided upon much of anything in that era.
  • lasvegasteddylasvegasteddy Posts: 10,395 ✭✭✭
    me grabs some popcorn here as this could be entertaining
    everything in life is but merely on loan to us by our appreciation....lose your appreciation and see


  • And to high-jack my own thread, what does "cinq" mean? I see Fugio cents with either "No Cinq" or "4 Cinq". I am unable to tell the difference looking at the coins side by side and Google has not been much help. image

    Jacob

    Edit: After looking at higher grade pics, perhaps a cinq is that little flower looking thing before and after "Fugio" and the date.
  • MidLifeCrisisMidLifeCrisis Posts: 10,065 ✭✭✭✭


    << <i>And to high-jack my own thread, what does "cinq" mean? I see Fugio cents with either "No Cinq" or "4 Cinq". I am unable to tell the difference looking at the coins side by side and Google has not been much help. image

    Jacob

    Edit: After looking at higher grade pics, perhaps a cinq is that little flower looking thing before and after "Fugio" and the date. >>


    The "Cinq" is a cinquefoil - indeed that little flower looking thing before and after Fugio and the date.
  • StaircoinsStaircoins Posts: 2,509 ✭✭✭

    "Cinq" is shorthand for "Cinquefoil"

    A cinquefoil is a heraldic term for a stylized 5-lobed flower or similar design element. It can be contrasted with a trefoil, which has 3 lobes, or a quatrefoil, with 4.

    Here an image of a Fugio (not mine) with the cinquefoils clearly visible ...
    image
  • "That would be analagous to putting something like "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all" along the rim of a Washington quarter today. "

    Certainly not the worst idea ive heard , Mr Rush Limbaugh could go on the obverse.

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 38,954 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>"That would be analagous to putting something like "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all" along the rim of a Washington quarter today. "

    Certainly not the worst idea ive heard , Mr Rush Limbaugh could go on the obverse. >>



    Yes. We must not criticize our dear leader.image
  • RaufusRaufus Posts: 6,183 ✭✭✭✭


    << <i>"Cinq" is shorthand for "Cinquefoil"

    A cinquefoil is a heraldic term for a stylized 5-lobed flower or similar design element. It can be contrasted with a trefoil, which has 3 lobes, or a quatrefoil, with 4.

    Here an image of a Fugio (not mine) with the cinquefoils clearly visible ...
    image >>



    That is one FANTASTIC coin!!
    Land of the Free because of the Brave!


  • << <i>

    << <i>"That would be analagous to putting something like "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all" along the rim of a Washington quarter today. "

    Certainly not the worst idea ive heard , Mr Rush Limbaugh could go on the obverse. >>



    Yes. We must not criticize our dear leader.image >>



    Criticize the leaders all you care to , there hasnt been one worth his salt since 63. I was thinking more along the lines of Lambaughs more recent comments making headlines concerning the female contingent.
  • PistareenPistareen Posts: 1,503 ✭✭✭


    << <i>That is one FANTASTIC coin!! >>



    It's also a New Haven "Restrike," i.e. a copy made about 1860 from totally new dies.

    If you made a Fugio copy today from totally new dies, we'd call it a fake.

    That would be about the first thing I'd pull out of the Redbook if they ever made me editor.

    (I know, I know, I'm no fun.)
  • pmacpmac Posts: 3,189 ✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>That is one FANTASTIC coin!! >>



    It's also a New Haven "Restrike," i.e. a copy made about 1860 from totally new dies.

    If you made a Fugio copy today from totally new dies, we'd call it a fake.

    That would be about the first thing I'd pull out of the Redbook if they ever made me editor.

    (I know, I know, I'm no fun.) >>


    Dan Carr was around in 1860?image
    BTW, congratulations on going back to Stack's.
    Paul


  • << <i>"That would be analagous to putting something like "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all" along the rim of a Washington quarter today. "

    Certainly not the worst idea ive heard , Mr Rush Limbaugh could go on the obverse. >>



    Yes, the 'gentleman' (SIC) has made opiate addiction and hate speech desirable and lucrative. Since the currency is debased, why not reflect that upon its face?
    Many, many perfect transactions with other members. Ask please.
  • drwstr123drwstr123 Posts: 6,914 ✭✭✭✭
    Will you political junkies please stay off the coin forum.
  • EagleEyeEagleEye Posts: 7,653 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If you look in old catalogs these used to be called "Franklin cents".

    Rick Snow, Eagle Eye Rare Coins, Inc.Check out my new web site:
  • savoyspecialsavoyspecial Posts: 7,123 ✭✭✭
    Rick is correct.....it wasnt just old catalogs but old text as well.....I have George Evans, Illustrated History of the United States Mint (1885) and it calls them 'Fugio or Franklin Cents'
  • cladkingcladking Posts: 26,727 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Many people believe that the designer was aiming for "times flies" in Latin (tempus fugit) but
    missed it. This might be an urban legend however. The term "tempus fugit" appears on many
    old clocks.
    Tempus fugit.
  • MidLifeCrisisMidLifeCrisis Posts: 10,065 ✭✭✭✭
    I am time and I fly...so mind your business.
  • BaleyBaley Posts: 22,039 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It doesn't mean "mind your own business". It means be "productive and diligent at your business".

    that's always how I thought of it. Also, "To Be Esteemed, Be Useful", and, of course, my long time sigline which I think is just a great sentiment

    Liberty: Parent of Science & Industry

  • rickoricko Posts: 76,434 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If only coinage of today were so interesting.... Cheers, RickO
  • DentuckDentuck Posts: 3,780 ✭✭✭
    image

    If you can't afford the real thing, get yourself
    a free medallic version inspired by the original.
    The Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo
    chose the Fugio design for its 40th-anniversary
    medal, available gratis at all three shows this
    year, while they last.


  • Nice token. The the restrikes and this token example, I'm really drawn to the sun rays. It must have been difficult to engrave that.

    So I went ahead and made an impulse buy and bought a Fugio yesterday off of Teletrade. A 1787 States United 1/1, 4 Cinq. I'm already drafting my little historical story that I write for each coin I buy and photograph while waiting for it to ship. From the pics, it seems to be a rough example. It's dark and I'm seeing either a chip or a planchet defect at around 6:00. But I can make out key design elements despite all of the scratches on the slab. I'll just have to see how it looks in hand. I guess what grabbed me in my brief research was the 1/1 on the date. Not sure what the NGC pop is, but the PCGS pop shows 10 total with only two graded finer for this variety. Probably doesn't mean much, but I think it will be exciting to own since there don't seem to be many errors in the Fugio series.

    Impulse. Not always smart, but it sure keeps things interesting.

    1787 States United 1/1, 4 Cinq

    Jacob
  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 28,384 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>Will you political junkies please stay off the coin forum. >>



    image
    Winner of the ANA's 2020 Heath Literary Award, Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award. Winner NLG 2020 Best Numismatic Feature Article, U.S.
  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 28,927 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>Nice token. The the restrikes and this token example, I'm really drawn to the sun rays. It must have been difficult to engrave that.

    So I went ahead and made an impulse buy and bought a Fugio yesterday off of Teletrade. A 1787 States United 1/1, 4 Cinq. I'm already drafting my little historical story that I write for each coin I buy and photograph while waiting for it to ship. From the pics, it seems to be a rough example. It's dark and I'm seeing either a chip or a planchet defect at around 6:00. But I can make out key design elements despite all of the scratches on the slab. I'll just have to see how it looks in hand. I guess what grabbed me in my brief research was the 1/1 on the date. Not sure what the NGC pop is, but the PCGS pop shows 10 total with only two graded finer for this variety. Probably doesn't mean much, but I think it will be exciting to own since there don't seem to be many errors in the Fugio series.

    Impulse. Not always smart, but it sure keeps things interesting.

    1787 States United 1/1, 4 Cinq

    Jacob >>



    I don't know about your coin budget, but I would look for one that is a little stronger than that one. The surfaces were a bit rough for the grade IMO.

    Also if you are looking for just an example of a Fugio cent and not a collection of varieties, I'd tend to stay away from the rare varieties. Very few collectors collect these pieces by die variety. Most are happy to own a really nice example.

    It is much easier to find and pay for a nice Fugio cent for a couple of reasons. First, there was a hoard of Mint State pieces that were held by the Bank of New York at least until the late 1940s.
    Second, he coins also did not see that much use because there were controversies just after the time the coins were minted about their face value. Due to the fact that they were a bit under weight, there were considerations that they were really only worth ¾ of cent. Third, the estimated mintage of 400,000 is more than ten times the mintage for the Chain cent. Fourth, as pre-federal issues, these coins are not as popular or well known among collectors.

    Here are the two coins in my collection. This first one is a Bank of New York hoard piece in MS-64, Brown, CAC.

    image
    image

    This one is a "Club Rays" variety. I would grade it VF-35, but the TPG put a much higher number on it. image

    image
    image

    Fugio cents were made under less than perfect conditions so do expect planchet defects, clashed dies, broken dies and uneven strikes. Try to avoid post minting problems, like corrosion, however.
    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible.
  • cladkingcladking Posts: 26,727 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    Also if you are looking for just an example of a Fugio cent and not a collection of varieties, I'd tend to stay away from the rare varieties. Very few collectors collect these pieces by die variety. Most are happy to own a really nice example.

    It is much easier to find and pay for a nice Fugio cent for a couple of reasons. First, there was a hoard of Mint State pieces that were held by the Bank of New York at least until the late 1940s.
    Second, he coins also did not see that much use because there were controversies just after the time the coins were minted about their face value. Due to the fact that they were a bit under weight, there were considerations that they were really only worth ¾ of cent. Third, the estimated mintage of 400,000 is more than ten times the mintage for the Chain cent. Fourth, as pre-federal issues, these coins are not as popular or well known among collectors.

    Here are the two coins in my collection. This first one is a Bank of New York hoard piece in MS-64, Brown, CAC.

    ...

    Fugio cents were made under less than perfect conditions so do expect planchet defects, clashed dies, broken dies and uneven strikes. Try to avoid post minting problems, like corrosion, however. >>



    Nice fugios. I rarely see these unc.

    With that mintage (400,000) I'm surprised these are seen so infrequently.

    Are there any known meltings?
    Tempus fugit.
  • Of course the Continental Dollar has the same motifs.

    http://www.google.com/images?q=continental+dollar&amp;rls=com.microsoft:*:IE-SearchBox&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;oe=UTF-8&amp;sourceid=ie7&amp;rlz=1I7DMUS&amp;oi=image_result_group&amp;sa=X

    Ben Franklin was behind many of this type of sentiment and philosophy of pragmatism and productive endeavor. There are many philosophical and Bible verses that come to mind on the topic of being dilligent in your business and not being a "busy-body" or meddler. That to my thinking is what the intent is.
  • guitarwesguitarwes Posts: 9,200 ✭✭✭

    Am I the only one seeing that PCGS graded Fugio that oneor11 bought is graded VF15?

    @ Elite CNC Routing & Woodworks on Facebook. Check out my work.
    Too many positive BST transactions with too many members to list.
  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 28,927 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>Are there any known meltings? >>



    I don’t think that there are any organized formal mass meltings, but here is my take on these coins. Once they were produced the Federal Government did not know what to do with them. The coins did not weigh enough to be called “cents” (worth 1/100 of a U.S. or Spanish milled silver dollar) and so there was a move afoot to sell them for whatever the government could get.

    The would-be buyer was a speculator named Royal Flint. Mr. Flint tried to dump the coins into the New York City economy, but his venture was met head-on the large number of light weight copper coins that were already in circulation. The trade value of these coins fell, and merchants refused to accept them. Ultimately Mr. Flint was unable to pay his commitment to buy the Fugio cents, and he ended up in debtors’ prison.

    Subsequently the coins did get into circulation where they were used for many years. Most of them got worn down to nothing and were melted for scrap or lost and left to rot in the ground. At any rate I don’t see large numbers of them coins in the mid grades like Fine and VF. They are either Mint State or close to it from the New York hoard, or they are worn and corroded like the example oneor11 considered buying.

    The Fugio market is an odd one. Because of the New York Bank hoard, there are a fair number of Mint State pieces around for a price. That supply satisfies the demand that comes from many advanced collectors. On the other hand, the number of nice circulated examples with nice surfaces and limited defects is small, but the Mint State pieces get most of the attention. Therefore the nice circulated examples are scarce, but they are also relatively inexpensive because of a lack of demand.


    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible.
  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 28,927 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>Am I the only one seeing that PCGS graded Fugio that oneor11 bought is graded VF15? >>



    No.

    I agree with the sharpness grade of Fine-15, but I quibble with the surfaces which pull it down to something less than that IMO.
    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible.
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