Click to enlarge

1783 Nova Constellatio Patterns
Entered on November 26, 2000
and Updated March 29,2013
by Saul Teichman

The first pattern coinage authorized in the United States were actually the Nova Constellatio patterns of 1783 which were authorized by the Continental Congress.

These coins are known as follows:

1) Mark or 1000 Units which would be similar to a silver dollar. This unique coin is listed as Breen 1099 and in Taxay as EP8.

2) Quint or 500 Units which would be similar to a half dollar. Two different varieties, each unique, are known and are listed as Breen 1101-1102 and in Taxay as EP9-EP10. The one which is part of the illustrated set and the other, illustrated below courtesy of Heritage is ex Ellsworth, Garrett, Bowers & Ruddy Garrett I, Perschke, Heritage 4/13.

3) Bit or 100 Units which would be similar to a dime. Three examples are known in both plain and twin olive leave edge varities. The coins are listed as Breen 1103-1104 and in Taxay as EP11-EP12. One of the two known leaved edge coins, ex Garrett is in the collection of John J. Ford Jr., the other was sold as lot 112 of Stacks 5/91 auction. The plain edge coin was also earlier in the Garrett collection. It is now in the collection of Eric P. Newman. All three are illustrated in the Stacks 5/91 catalog.

4) 5 Units which would be similar to half cent. This unique coin was rediscovered in 1977 and is listed as Breen 1105 and is footnoted in Taxay.

An 8 unit coin is also believed to have been produced but is unverified today.

Additional information on these coins can be found at the Notre Dame University website by clicking here.

The illustrated set, from a 1994 Stacks sales brochure, is ex Ellsworth, Garrett, Bowers & Ruddy's Garrett I sale, John J. Ford and is presently in a Southern collection. The brochure also gives more detailed information on the history of these pieces.

Photo courtesy of Stacks from the above brochure.