The Most Popular Variety of Connecticut Coppers: The 1787 Horned Bust

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Following the Revolutionary war in colonial America, a lack of national coinage for everyday commerce began to pose problems. Fraud and counterfeiting began to run rampant.Connecticut Coppers

The Articles of Confederation, ratified in 1781, had authorized states to create their own coinage. So, the state of Connecticut took action and stepped in to help solve the problem locally, while the nation debated opening a national mint.

The Connecticut legislature authorized a private firm to mint what is fondly known today in numismatic circles as Connecticut Coppers.

Connecticut Coppers Were Minted between 1785 and 1789

These coins, while never legal tender, were trusted and used extensively in everyday commerce. Today, collectors are captivated by their colorful names, which includes varieties like “African Head,” “Hercules Head,” and “Draped Bust” styles.

Connecticut Coppers were struck in many varieties. Today, one of the most popular carries the intriguing name: the 1787 Horned Bust.

1787 Horned Bust Design

The Connecticut Coppers design took inspiration from the British halfpenny. The coins typically showcased a man’s head on the obverse and an elaborate seated personification of Liberty on the reverse.

The 1787 Horned Bust Connecticut Copper is one of the most beloved in the entire series. The obverse features of bust of Liberty facing left, but what makes this variety special and highly sought after is the eponymous “horn” seen in the lower left of the coin’s obverse.

A Chip in the Die Created the Horn

However, the horn was not an intended part of the coin’s design! A chip in the die that produced the coin created that horn. Early examples of the obverse die are perfect and reveal no trace of a horn.

Yet, as the die was used more and more, the chip in the die appears on the coin as a raised chunk of metal. Notably, throughout time, as more coins were struck, the horn got bigger and bigger! Some numismatics specialize in the 1787 Horned Bust, and create a unique collection showing the progression of the horn enlarging over time.

The coin’s reverse features a clothed Liberty seated on a small throne, holding an olive branch in one hand and a capped pole in the other, with the date 1787 at bottom.

A Unique Copper

Collectors appreciate the historical significance, rarity and unusual story behind the “horn” on the 1787 Horned Bust Connecticut Copper. The most recent auction record for a 1787 Horned Bust stands at $7,475

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