PCGS ------ - 1777 piastre

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photo courtesy Ira & Larry Goldberg
photo courtesy Ira & Larry Goldberg
photo courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries

The first specimen was lot 899 in Goldberg sale 46 (Beverly Hills, May 2008), where it sold for $34,000. The catalog description noted, "Greenland. Dollar (Piastre), 1777 (Konigsberg mint). 'ISLAN' variety. Struck by the Danish Asia Company in imitation of the Pillar Dollar design. Crowned arms of Denmark. Reverse: Between two crowned pillars, the arms of Denmark and Norway under royal crown; below, three islands surrounded by sea, and the names: ISLAN, GRÕNLAND, and FERÕ; date between to spiral-shaped florals. Struck only in three years 1771, 1774 and 1777 using only two dates 1771 and 1777, few pieces are known to have survived today. Salvesen notes that five true 1771 pieces, determinable by die combination, are known. About 20 survive from the 1774 mintage, 'half in museums.' The 1777 with ISLAND on the ground beneath the globes has a population of 3 examples, and Salvesen knew 21 of the ISLAN variety, with no less than 12 in museums. Certainly one of the ultimate classic numismatic rarities, a highlight of any major collection. Toned. Extremely Rare. NGC graded AU-55.

"The Danish Asiatic Company (1730-1827) coined a number of Piasters for the their trade with China. Issue dates were 1771, 1774, and 1777. The coins are an almost exact copy of the omnipresent, and hugely popular South American pillar dollars that then dominated world trade markets. Although these coins were never intended for the Danish island possessions in the Western Hemisphere, they nevertheless bear the names of Iceland, Greenland, and Faeroe -- which has earned them the moniker of 'Greenland dollars.' As can be seen above, survivors are exceptionally rare. Provenance: Ex Irving Goodman Collection."

The second specimen is lot 20737 in Heritage sale 3006 (Long Beach, September 2009). The catalog description[2] noted, "Christian VII Danish Asiatic Company Piastre 1777 - The Greenland Dollar, KM639.2, Davenport 412, Salv-52, AU58 NGC, highly appealing old-time cabinet patina with traces of luster in the legends. The Greenland Dollar is a bit of a misnomer in that it was struck for trade in the Orient, but includes the Danish island territories on the coin, namely Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The design of the coin was inspired by the dominant Asian trade coin, the Spanish colonial pillar 8 Reales. This variety utilizes the ISLAN spelling for Iceland, rather than ISLAND. Salveson knew of 21 examples of this variety with 12 in museums. The Greenland Dollar is prized by collectors of Scandinavia, world crowns and trade dollars, and is easily one of the most famous coins ever struck." It is at the moment unknown if this specimen is the same as the one sold by Goldberg in 2008 (see above).

Recorded mintage:

Specification: 26.92 grams.

Catalog reference: Dav-412; Salv-52; Hede Norge 9, Schou 3-4; KM-412.2.


  • Goldberg, Ira, and Larry Goldberg, Goldberg Sale 46: the Millenia Collection, Beverly Hills, CA: Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers, 2008.
  • Krause, Chester L, and Clifford Mishler, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 3rd ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2002.
  • Tucker, Warren, and Scott Cordry, Heritage Signature Auction 3006: World Coins, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2009.

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