Washington "Non Vi Virtute Vici" copper
Origin: America, New York, New York City
Gift of the Lasser family
Acc. No. 2003-22,7
Label:Traditionally, a newly formed nation produces its own money as a proclamation of sovereignty. Since there was a lag of ten years between the end of the Revolution and the opening of the first United States Mint, there was an opportunity for private "for profit" coin producers on both sides of the Atlantic. One way to ensure the success and profitability of a coinage for the new republic was to put George Washington on it.
"Non Vi Virtute Vici," meaning "Not by violence but by excellence have I conquered," couldn't be more appropriate for the first coin produced in America depicting Washington. It was struck in New York City in 1786.