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The Koolest Penny in Allendale

One of the smallest big hits at last Monday's Fell House event for Hillside School third-graders was this penny.

The 1794 American Large Cent was found in the garden of the Koole-Van Blarcon-Smith property in Allendale, N.J., by Peter Koole (likely in the 1950s), the Koole residence from 1936 to 1965 as reported by John Koole, 3/2014.

 The Kooles were told the house, with its thick stone foundation, was built in the late 1700s.   The elementary school now stands on the lowered site of 105 Hillside Ave. in Allendale.

These large copper pennies, known as Liberty Caps, were minted in Philadelphia from 1793 to 1796.

According to coinfacts.com:  “The Liberty Cap design features a bust of a young Miss Liberty, her hair flowing freely, with a staff and cap over her left shoulder.  The cap represents freedom -- hats such as this were given to slaves once they became free.  The freedom cap was a popular symbol in America during the Revolutionary War, appearing on numerous buttons worn by patriots and soldiers.  Miss Liberty represents the new American nation -- her presence on the coin was mandated by government officials.

“The Liberty Cap design, attributed to Mint Engraver Robert Scot, was used on U.S. One Cent coins from 1793 to 1796.  The Half Cent was the only other U.S. coin to bear the Liberty Cap design.

“The reverse design features a simple wreath surrounded by the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  The denomination appears within the wreath as ONE CENT and below the ribbon as a fraction.

“The official weight of the coins was set at 208 grains, making them thick enough for the denomination to be applied as lettering on the edge of the coin: ONE HUNDRED FOR A DOLLAR.  At the end of 1795, President George Washington reduced the weight to 168 grains, thus some of the One Cent coins from 1795 and all subsequent issues have plain edges.

Donated by: John M.V. Koole.  (Thank you, Mr. Koole!)