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St. Patrick or Newby Coinage – (1646-1660)

The Varieties of 1646-1660 St. Patrick or Newby Coinage  

Mark Newby was a Quaker, from Dublin, Ireland. He came to America in 1681 and settled in Camden, New Jersey. He brought to the New World a large cache of copper coins that have become known as St. Patrick coppers. Given St. Patrick’s place in Irish lore, this is a credible story. Newby was primarily responsible for these coppers achieving legal tender status in New Jersey.

The coins were authorized as legal tender in the Colony of New Jersey by the General Assembly. There were two sizes of St. Patrick coppers. The larger coin was valued at a Halfpenny so the smaller one played the role of a Farthing, which is half of a Halfpenny.

On the Halfpenny, on the obverse, St. Patrick is shown wearing a Bishop’s garments and a Miter on his head. There are figures gathered around him and he seems to be preaching to them. On his right is a shield depicting what appear to be sets of towers. The Latin legend is “ECCE GREX” which translates to “BEHOLD THE FLOCK”.

The reverse of the Halfpenny shows King David playing the harp, above which is the Royal Crown of England. The Latin legend reads “FLOREAT REX” which translates to “MAY THE KING FLOURISH.”    The majority of these coins will exhibit a brass-looking area as there was a splash of brass mixed into the copper. The Half Pennies come in a larger and smaller sizes.

(The St. Patrick’s Half Penny. Obverse {left] – Reverse [right].)

The smaller copper coin with a different design is recognized as a Farthing. On the obverse design, Saint Patrick is once again in Bishop’s garments and he is wearing a miter. But instead of preaching to a crowd, St, Patrick is shown dispelling serpents from Ireland, as the legend states.  The church in the background is likely to be St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. The Latin legend is “QUIESCAT PLEBS” which translates to “MAY THE PEOPLE BE AT PEACE.”

The reverse again, has the kneeling King David, gazing at the Royal Crown of England. The Latin legend reads “FLOREAT REX” which translates to “MAY THE KING FLOURISH.” It is the same reverse on both sizes of coins. Several copper varieties do exist.

(This scarce Farthing is primarily made of Silver with a copper coating. Obverse [left] – Reverse [right].)

Several known specimens exist in silver. The coins are generally 10x the price of the regular copper Farthings.  

(The UNIQUE Gold Farthing, Sold in January of 2005 for $184K.)

The unique Gold specimen was sold in January 2005, in a Stacks Sale of the John J, Ford collection. Other examples in lead and pewter are reported to exist but they have not been verified.

It is estimated that between 1,500,000 to 7,000,000 copper pieces may have existed at one time.

DateTypeMintageVG ValueAU Value
(1646 – 1660)Copper Farthing500,000$500$13,500
(1646 – 1660)Silver Farthing500+/-$5,000$45,000
(1646 – 1660)Gold Farthing1$185,000$250,000
(1646 – 1660)Copper Half Penny1,000,000 +/-$650$12,000

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