Unlike Massachusetts, New Jersey or Connecticut; the State of New York never got around to authorizing official coinage. Several competing firms forced the issue by going ahead on their own, and minted unauthorized copper coins. These coins were popular, as there was a severe shortage of small denomination coppers during the period between the Revolution and the establishment of a Federal mint.

A firm, headed up by Ephraim Brasher and John Bailey of New York City, struck a series of copper coins intended for circulation in New York and beyond. These coins resembled the British halfpenny and the coppers of Connecticut. The obverse features a mailed bust facing right, wearing a laurel wreath with the legend: "NOVA EBORAC" (Latin for New York). The reverse depicts seated Liberty holding a branch in one hand, a liberty pole in the other, and a shield below. This depiction bore more than a passing resemblance to Britannia; and it was quite intentional! The legend: "VIRT. ET LIB." (Latin for Virtue and Liberty), and the date 1787 completes the reverse.

These coppers, because they are often found in well-worn condition, received heavy circulation in New York and the Middle Atlantic region. There are four main die varieties, including versions depicting Liberty seated left or right. All are dated 1787. They circulated on a par with the British halfpenny. These coppers, despite having never been "officially authorized" by the State of New York, are a colorful reminder of the period between the declaration of statehood, and the organization of the Federal government in 1789.