The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection - Part I



Patterns - Lots 1295-1331


Morgan Pattern Dollar in Copper

Counterpart to the Preceding

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1295     1879 pattern dollar. P-1812, J-1616. Rarity-6+. Morgan's Liberty Head. Proof-66 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Pristine and beautiful. Virtually full original mint red is just beginning to blend to a nuance or two of iridescence. Again, here is a coin that is as pretty as a picture.

Narrative: The rarity of this coin stands on its own, and probably only about a dozen are known. However, copper patterns are particularly difficult to find choice, and great attention and emphasis must be given to the quality of the piece offered here. Rarity and quality combined yield what may be a once in a lifetime opportunity for the connoisseur.

Technical Aspects: Weight:362.1 grains. Diameter: 37.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Brinton T. Schorer, May 3, 1973.

 

Morgan's 1879 Pattern Metric $1

P-1818, Silver

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1296     1879 pattern dollar. P-1818, J-1622. Rarity-7. Liberty Head. Proof-66 (PCGS). Silver. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: The head of Miss Liberty, attributed to the artistry of George T. Morgan, faces to the left. Her hair is in a bun behind her head, vaguely reminiscent of Eleanor Rugg Byrne, and reflective of a stylish hairdo of the era. A ribbon near the crown of her hair is inscribed LIBERTY in incuse letters. Above is the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM, stars are to either side, and the date 1879 is below. This same motif was also used in the next year, 1880.

Reverse Design: Metric inscription, a variation on the 1879 reverse inasmuch as the word goloid does not appear, and yet the weight is given in grams, similar to the goloid metric dollars. This die, attributed to Morgan, displays at the center an attractive agricultural wreath, at the apex of which is the variant motto DEO EST GLORIA ("God is glorious") within an arabesque. At the center within a beaded circle is found the inscription giving the proportions of silver, gold, and copper. The inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA/ONE DOLLAR are at the borders.

Surfaces: A splendid gem, brilliant, with a whisper of champagne toning. Incredible quality!

Narrative: This large-diameter piece, which bears only a superficial resemblance to the 1878-dated metric issues discussed earlier, apparently was struck only in metric alloy, as listed on the coin, with no regular silver (90% silver and 10% copper) strikings known, this according to Andrew W. Pollock III. The total population is not known but is probably on the order of eight to 10 examples, of which the present piece is certainly one of the finest.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 385.8 grains. Diameter: 35.7 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: On the reverse the digits 89 (895.8) are double punched at the top, and the 5 is too high.

From Stack's sale of the DiBello Collection, May 14, 1970, Lot 441.

 

Superb Gem 1879 Pattern Metric Dollar

Morgan's Design

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1297     1879 pattern dollar. P-1819, J-1623. Rarity-6+. Liberty Head. Proof-67 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: A superb gem specimen, virtual perfection. The surfaces are nearly full mint red, accented by delicate splashes of magenta and electric blue. A more beautiful coin cannot be imagined!

Narrative: Similar to the preceding, and from the same dies, the present coin is a great rarity. The population is probably about the same, say, eight to 10 pieces and the position of this coin is the same: it certainly is one of the finest extant.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 318.7 grains. Diameter: 35.6 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Brinton T. Schorer, May 3, 1973.

 

William Barber's Goloid Metric Pattern $1

P-1824, Copper

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1298     1879 pattern dollar. P-1824, J-1628. Rarity-7. Liberty Head. Proof-67 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: William Barber's head of Miss Liberty, facing left, wearing a cap with a wide band inscribed LIBERTY. The top of the band is ornamented with ears of wheat, cotton leaves, and cotton bolls. The motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM, is above and the date, 1879, is below with 13 stars arranged seven left and six right. Liberty's hair curls flow behind her neck with a ribbon trailing from the cap.

Reverse Design: A variation on the preceding, this die displaying a circle of 38 stars contains the four-line inscription, 15.3 - G. / 236.7 - S. / 28 - C. / 14 GRAMS. Around the circle of stars, the denomination is expressed as GOLOID METRIC DOLLAR, with the motto DEO EST GLORIA below. Around the border, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is above, and the denomination 100 CENTS is below.

Surfaces: The eye is greeted with an attractive mixture of mint red, sky blue, and magenta, all blended nicely. Another visual treat.

Narrative: This design borrows from William Barber's motif of 1878 and is yet another entry in the lineup of metric motifs following the proposal of Hubbell discussed earlier.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 182.3 grains. Diameter: 32.8 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: On the reverse the G (GOLOID) is double punched as is another G (GLORIA). The letters are somewhat irregularly arranged, and to cite but one example, the I (GLORIA) leans left and is out of register with the letters to each side. Such idiosyncrasies make the study of pattern dies especially interesting.

Malcolm Varner, mentioned below, prominent in California numismatics for a long time, specialized in particularly choice examples of United States coins, including patterns as he was able to acquire them. By 1971, veteran dealer Abe Kosoff was winding down many of his activities, and when collections came his way, he would often call some of his favorite dealers in to bid on them intact. The writer recalls that Mal Varner was one of those dealers.

Purchased from Goliad Corp., October 30, 1972. Previously from Mal Varner.

 

Morgan's 1879 Coiled Hair Pattern Dollar

P-1829, Copper

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1299     1879 pattern dollar. P-1829, J-1632. Rarity-7. Coiled Hair. Proof-66 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: George T. Morgan's Liberty Head. The portrait faces to the viewer's left, with her hair braided and coiled at the back of her head, somewhat related in appearance and concept to the famous 1879 Coiled Hair $4 Stella. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is above and the date, 1879, is below. Thirteen stars are arranged seven left and six right.

Reverse Design: Same die as preceding.

Surfaces: A splendid specimen, nearly full original mint red, with some splashes of magenta and a few hints of blue. A simply gorgeous coin which surely ranks as one of the finest known.

Narrative: The design of this piece, resembling as it does the famous 1879-1880 Coiled Hair $4 pieces by the same engraver, has long been a favorite of numismatists. The editor (QDB) recalls years ago the delight in acquiring several such examples from Sol Kaplan and Abe Kosoff who were distributing pattern issues from the Farouk Collection purchases (1954) as well as extensive older holdings acquired by Kosoff in his connection with Numismatic Gallery the decade before. Several examples in various metals of the 1879 and 1880 pattern dollars were included, and it was a pleasure to purchase them. At the time, around 1955-1956, interest in patterns was minimal, and most dealers in the United States series would simply say something such as, "I don't handle patterns and know nothing about them." The only reference available on the series was the Adams-Woodin text of 1913, with original copies scarce, although reprints were made on several occasions by James Kelly (Dayton, Ohio, rare coin dealer). Dealers that specialized in patterns included Kaplan, Kosoff, and James P. Randall, each of whom endeavored to keep a supply on hand. Auctioneers of the era, including New Netherlands Coin Company, Stack's, Leo Young, Mike Kolman, and others, included patterns in their auctions, as available. However, there was no widespread interest and, as noted, few specialized in them.

At the time, Dr. J. Hewitt Judd, of Omaha, Nebraska, a close friend of Abe Kosoff, was preparing a manuscript on patterns. The work was primarily encouraged by Abe Kosoff, who fed data to Judd, and who gave Judd a list of names to work with. The present writer had much correspondence with him. Although Dr. Judd enjoyed patterns and had a nice collection of them, he did not have the technical mind of a Walter Breen or Andrew Pollock, and minor die differences usually eluded him. Regarding historical information, this was not much of a consideration, and little was gathered. In due course, in 1960 if memory serves, copies of a new pattern book by Dr. Judd became available. All of a sudden there was a great awareness of the series, just about every dealer began stocking at least a few patterns, and the discipline became widely known. In time, seven editions of the Judd book were published, the last one or two distributed by our firm.

In the meantime, my company (Empire Coin Company, Inc., conducted with James F. Ruddy) purchased intact the largest collection of patterns ever gathered, the Maj. Lenox R. Lohr Collection comprising over 1,400 different varieties! This marvelous cabinet was purchased intact from Abner Kreisberg, who had no particular interest in patterns himself, and who had tried to find a buyer for it. The deal was financed by Abner, who allowed us to purchase the collection by way of a series of three payments. The transaction, which crossed the $100,000 mark was immense for its time, this being in an era when the most recent record price for an 1804 silver dollar was $8,000. The Lohr Collection contained multiple examples of the 1879 and 1880 Coiled Hair pattern metric dollars, and again I appreciated the chance to see them. If I recall correctly, Wayne Slife-a Texas collector of whom little has been recorded in print in later years-was the buyer of at least one of each date.

In the nearly 30 years since the Lohr Collection was bought, catalogued, and distributed by us, we have had, perhaps, no more than 10 or 15 of these Morgan pattern goloid metric dollars of the Coiled Hair motif, distributed among strikings in silver, copper, and aluminum. As you may appreciate, beholding the beautiful pieces in the Bass Collection has brought back many nice memories!

Technical Aspects: Weight: 175.4 grains. Diameter: 32.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Abner Kreisberg, who hailed from New York, signed with Abe Kosoff in 1944 and became a partner in the already established Numismatic Gallery, prominent New York rare coin dealers and auctioneers. In Manhattan the firm enjoyed great prominence, and in its time handled many important properties, the most notable being the F.C.C. Boyd Collection discussed earlier in the present catalogue, including under Lot 286. Later in the decade, Abe Kosoff, who also spent his youth in New York, set his eyes to the West, and moved to Beverly Hills, for a time Abner took care of the New York store, later packing it up and moving west himself. The Kosoff-Kreisberg partnership lasted through early 1954, when dissension arose between the two, and they decided to go their separate ways. Abe Kosoff left the retail shop trade and did business from Box 456 in the San Fernando Valley, about a half hour drive from Beverly Hills. Later, Abe Kosoff moved to Palm Springs, where he spent the rest of his life. Meanwhile, Abner Kreisberg kept the coin shop on North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, later taking Jerry Cohen as a partner. Jerry had operated a coin and stamp store in Tucson, Arizona, and appreciated the opportunity to sign up with Kreisberg, to be part of a large established business, and to relocate to California. The two conducted their retail trade in California and also prepared many fine auctions, some of them under the Quality Sales name.

From Abner Kreisberg's "Quality" Sales Corp, November 30, 1970, Lot 1313.

 

Gem 1879 Coiled Hair Pattern $1

P-1830, Aluminum

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1300     1879 pattern dollar. P-1830, J-1633. Rarity-7. Coiled Hair. Proof-66 (PCGS). Aluminum. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Brilliant and beautiful, as nice as can be imagined.

Narrative: Another memorable specimen, a beautiful coin to contemplate, to behold, and, better yet, to own. In advance we congratulate the successful bidder.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 54.8 grains. Diameter: 32.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Julian Leidman, of Silver Spring, Maryland, has handled many important patterns during his career, including numerous fine pieces sold into some of the most memorable collections ever formed. A fine friend of our firm, he is a frequent attendee of our auction sales and is often to be found seated right in the front row, a few feet from the podium.

Purchased from Julian Leidman, September 16, 1971.

 

William Barber's Pattern Metric Dollar

Posthumous 1880 Issue, P-1845

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1301     1880 pattern dollar. P-1845, J-1645. Rarity-6. Metric reverse. Proof-66 (PCGS). Silver. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: William Barber's head of Miss Liberty, as created earlier and used elsewhere, including a related motif on the 1877 pattern $50. The head of Miss Liberty faces left with her hair flowing in curls behind her neck. She is wearing a coronet inscribed LIBERTY. The motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM, is above and the date, 1880, is below, with 13 stars arranged seven left and six right.

Reverse Design: The reverse die is identical to that used in the preceding year and, for example, was employed on the specimen of J-1628 offered earlier. An agricultural wreath of corn, cotton, and wheat surrounds a beaded circle containing the four-line inscription 895.8 S. / 4.2 - G. / 100 - C. / 25 GRAMS. Above the wreath is the motto, DEO EST GLORIA, in an ornamented cartouche. Above, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and below, the denomination, ONE DOLLAR. Probably by Morgan, although combined with an obverse by William Barber.

Surfaces: The fields and devices are brilliant, with a whisper of champagne toning, against deep mirror fields on the obverse and a combination of satiny and mirror surfaces on the reverse (due to the die finish; this being true of all specimens). A lovely coin in all respects.

Narrative: This is an 1880 version of the goloid metric dollar, the concept originated by Dr. Hubbell in 1877, and first employed on patterns of 1878. Most probably, by 1880 pieces such as this were made as numismatic delicacies, not for distribution to congressmen or others in advocacy of the goloid metric concept, as interest had faded.

Examples of P-1845 are elusive in any grades, and at the beautiful gem level hereoffered can be considered rare.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 386.2 grains. Diameter: 35.6 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Harry W. Bass, Jr. notes: 1 in date is double cut.

From Stack's sale of the DiBello Collection, May 14, 1970, Lot 446.

 

Superb Gem Pattern Dollar

William Barber's Posthumous Design

P-1846, Copper

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1302     1880 pattern dollar. P-1846, J-1646. Rarity-7. Metric reverse. Proof-67 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Gem quality throughout-obverse and reverse. The obverse is mostly red with a nuance of magenta, while the reverse displays red mixed with splashes of electric blue and, toward the bottom, hints of gold. Another artistic delight.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 320.6 grains. Diameter: 35.6 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Brinton T. Schorer, May 3, 1973.

 

Morgan's Goloid Metric Dollar Pattern

Previously Undescribed Overdate

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1303     1880 pattern dollar. P-1848, J-1648. Rarity-6+. 8/7. Metric reverse. Proof-63 (PCGS). Silver. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: George T. Morgan's head of Miss Liberty, hair arranged in a bun. A ribbon across her head is inscribed LIBERTY. Above, the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM, and below, the date, 1880. Thirteen stars are arranged seven left and six right.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Brilliant with a whisper of toning. The obverse is deeply mirrorlike. The reverse, upon close examination, shows some planchet preparation lines at the center, as made. Surfaces on the reverse are brilliant, with a delicate hint of gold.

The second 8 in the date, 1880, is punched over a previous 7, a feature that is probably common to all examples from this die, but which we do not seem to have seen mentioned in print before. The overdate feature is quite similar to that found on certain Morgan dollars and is probably explained by the die being dated 187, with the position for the fourth digit left blank, and then when the decade changed, it was overpunched as 1880. Alternatively, perhaps the entire date 1879 was in position and was effaced, leaving just a trace of the 7, but no trace of the 9. In a discussion your editor had with former Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro a few years ago, Frank mentioned how a skilled engraver can, in his words, "move around" metal on the face of a die, removing nearly completely the traces of anything reasonably shallow that was punched in error. In any event, this feature, though not necessarily lending value, certainly lends interest.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 385.9 grains. Diameter: 35.6 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

From Stack's sale of the DiBello Collection, May 14, 1970, Lot 449.

 

Barber's 1880 Goloid Metric Dollar Pattern

P-1851, Silver

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1304     1880 pattern dollar. P-1851, J-1651. Rarity-6. Metric reverse. Proof-63 (PCGS). Goloid metric dollar. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: William Barber's head of Miss Liberty, now resurrected. Miss Liberty faces left, wearing a cap with a wide band inscribed LIBERTY. The top of the band is ornamented with ears of wheat, cotton leaves, and cotton bolls. The motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM, is above and the date, 1880, is below with 13 stars arranged seven left and six right. Liberty's hair curls flow behind her neck with a ribbon trailing from the cap. This style dates back to 1878, the year before Barber died.

Reverse Design: This die was also used earlier, and now reappears dated 1880. A circle of 38 stars contains the four-line inscription, 15.3 - G. / 236.7 - S. / 28 - C. / 14 GRAMS. Around the circle of stars, the denomaintion is expressed as GOLOID METRIC DOLLAR, with the motto DEO EST GLORIA below. Around the border, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is above, and the denomination 100 CENTS is below.

Surfaces: Brilliant and attractive. Delicate toning. The reverse shows some slight traces of light striking at the center, not unusual for the issue.

Narrative: This year represents the swan song of the goloid metric dollar idea, and within the 1880 year several varieties were made. All of these are interesting and invite further study. Some are illogical, some are redundant. Andrew Pollock points out that this particular die has the denomination expressed two different ways: as GOLOID METRIC DOLLAR and also as 100 CENTS.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 216.5 grains. Diameter: 32.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Stanley Kesselman, August 5, 1971.

 

Barber's Goloid Metric Dollar

Copper Impression, P-1852

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1305     1880 pattern dollar. P-1852, J-1652. Rarity-6+. Metric reverse. Proof-66 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: A superb gem specimen. The surfaces are primarily a combination of magenta and electric blue, dazzlingly beautiful. A few splashes of lighter mint red can be seen here and there. Certainly this coin cannot be exceeded in visual appeal by any other.

Narrative: It is believed that no more than a dozen are known, a population within which the present piece stands high in terms of quality. This year, 1880, represents the last time in which patterns of this denomination were made extensively; later issues are infrequent and scattered.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 176.4 grains. Diameter: 32.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Brinton T. Schorer, May 3, 1973.

 

Morgan's Coiled Hair Motif

P-1854, Goloid Metric Dollar

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1306     1880 pattern dollar. P-1854, J-1654. Rarity-7. Metric reverse. Proof-65 (PCGS). Goloid. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: George T. Morgan's beautiful Coiled Hair motif. Miss Liberty faces left with her hair braided and coiled at the back of her head. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is above and the date, 1880, is below. Thirteen stars are arranged seven left and six right. The piece is closely related to the illustrious Coiled Hair $4 pieces, also by Morgan, of the 1879-1880 years.

Reverse Design: Goloid metric dollar design as preceding.

Surfaces: Brilliant and beautiful. The devices are frosted and cameo-like, while the fields are deep mirrors. A delicate touch of gold toning adds to the quality. It would be difficult to envision a finer specimen.

Narrative: This is the second of two years of the illustrious Coiled Hair design by Morgan. Relatively few pieces exist, probably no more than six to 10, of which two(!) are offered in the present sale, each representing a remarkable opportunity. The popularity of the issue and its appeal to the cataloguer were reiterated under the 1879 listing of the same motif.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 216.5 grains. Diameter: 32.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

From Stack's sale of the DiBello Collection, May 14, 1970, Lot 450.

 

Another Gem Coiled Hair 1880 $1

Morgan's Goloid Metric Dollar

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1307     1880 pattern dollar. P-1854, J-1654. Rarity-7. Metric reverse. Proof-65 (PCGS). Goloid. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Brilliant and attractive, with delicate golden toning.

Narrative: Another splendid example of one of the most desired of all dollar designs. The beauty of Morgan's Coiled Hair design, plus the historical significance of the goloid metric dollar idea, plus the rarity of the variety come together to create a piece that should see spirited competition. Often, years will pass between offerings of such a coin in the auction venue.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 216.4 grains. Diameter: 32.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

From RARCOA's sale of the Harry X Boosel "1873" Collection, April 28, 1972, Lot 1172. Illustrated in United States Patterns and Related Issues, by Andrew W. Pollock III, as figure 524.

 

1885 Lettered Edge Morgan Dollar

P-1960, Copper

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1308     1885 pattern dollar. P-1960, J-1748. Rarity-6+. Morgan's Liberty Head. Proof-67 RB (PCGS). Copper. Lettered edge E PLURIBUS UNUM.

Obverse Design: The adopted Morgan motif as used on regular coinage of the era, most probably from a die used to strike regular Proof dollars.

Reverse Design: A current Proof die of the era, regular design.

Edge Treatment: Unlike the reeded or vertically ribbed style, this coin has the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM in raised letters. Punctuation is provided by a series of six-pointed stars. This identical coin was described in New Netherlands' 61st sale in June 1970 as follows:

"The edge letters appear smaller, thinner, and cruder on the sectional dollar used for the striking of this copper piece, in comparison with that used to strike the silver Judd-1747. The stars are also smaller and some are likewise poorly formed. Of the smaller letters on this lot, the B is completely without serifs, while others have shorter or blunted serifs. The edge on the last is wide and broad, while that on this copper impression is partially beveled upon both obverse and reverse. The sectional dividing line (one of three) before the P is seemingly lacking on this piece. Some of these peculiarities can be attributed to striking differences, but in our opinion, this copper impression was taken at a different time, under different circumstances, on an unfinished planchet, from only slightly polished dies, and with the use of a different tripartite collar."

Surfaces: A very pleasing blend of mint red and brown with splashes of iridescent blue. Gorgeous!

Narrative: A very curious piece, due to the edge treatment which in itself is unusual, but also the fact that the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM-which some might suggest isn't needed on a coin at all-appears twice on this particular issue!

Struck from regular-issue Proof dies, but with the edge lettered rather than reeded. The edge lettering was applied using an apparatus developed by Philadelphia Mint Superintendent Archibald Loudon Snowden. Thus, this coin bears the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM two times: once on the obverse and once on the edge.

The 1885 Lettered Edge Morgan dollar has always been in demand, not only as a rarity, but as a curiosity and showpiece. The Bass Collection example is certainly among the finest of, perhaps, a dozen or so in existence. Only at very rare instances have we had the chance to offer a specimen in our sales.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 350.5 grains. Diameter: 38.4 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: The lettering on the edge is upside down in relation to the obverse. This situation is not necessarily unusual; a related impression in our sale of the Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., Collection, 1996 (Lot 297), had a similar inversion. Among known examples of the storied MCMVII (1907) Ultra High Relief pattern $20, several have the motto (in that instance, E PLURIBUS UNUM) upside down.

Harry W. Bass, Jr. notes: Snowden's experimental piece. Motto E PLURIBUS UNUM on the edge in raised letters.

In his sale of the Clarence Bement Collection, 1916, Philadelphia dealer Henry Chapman discussed a similar coin and revealed inter alia that he had known Snowden and was aware of such patterns in 1885 when they were first made:

"A.L. Snowden's invention…he exhibited to me with great pride, [and] was going to have it patented and revolutionize the world's coinage, until I exhibited to him a crown of Oliver Cromwell and showed him where Thomas Simon had made a better job of it 237 years before. Col. Snowden collapsed forthwith."

The preceding also reveals that unlike another member of his family (the numismatically oriented Mint Director James Ross Snowden who served 1853-1861), Col. Archibald Loudon Snowden lacked a rudimentary knowledge of coinage history and traditions. Thomas Simon's Cromwell crown notwithstanding, Henry Chapman could have shown A.L. Snowden any number of early American and federal coins with edge lettering and devices. Another account states that the Mint's edge-lettering apparatus had been recently acquired from Belgium. If so, it would not have been Snowden's invention.

From New Netherlands' 61st Sale, June 30, 1970, Lot 102. Previously from the Col. E.H.R. Green Collection; James Kelly, May 1943.

 

1885 Lettered Edge Morgan Dollar

P-1961, Aluminum

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1309     1885 pattern dollar. P-1961, J-1749. Rarity-7. Morgan's Liberty Head. Proof-65 (PCGS). Aluminum. Lettered edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Brilliant surfaces with light gray toning.

Narrative: Another specimen of this illogical coin, including as it does the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM twice: once on the edge and once on the obverse. This issue is extremely rare, and often years will pass between offerings. Another important opportunity.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 111.0 grains. Diameter: 38.4 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Brinton T. Schorer, May 3, 1973.

 

Pattern Trade Dollars

The need for a specific coin for export to China was realized at an early date, but not expressed in a meaningful manner until the 1860s. The port of Canton in China had been open to American merchant vessels for a long time, and during the early 19th century many ships went there to obtain cargos of tea, spices, silk, lacquer ware, porcelain, and other items. In Canton the so-called "American Factory" was a prominent feature near the harbor, with an American flag flying out front. Nearby were other "factories" displaying the banners of other lands. These factories were not engaged in manufacturing, but, rather, were the home to factors, or intermediaries who facilitated the coming and going of goods.

Historian Jacque Downs notes that these factories were often lavish and included parlors, living areas, dining rooms, and even displays of art and statuaries-a home away from home for Americans who wanted to trade with that section of the Orient.

To the Chinese, silver was the be-all and end-all. Gold coins were accepted with reluctance or not at all, and paper money had little status. Various trading companies such as Olyphant & Co. and the later Wetmore & Co. maintained commercial accounts for traders, but by and large it was silver coins that were most wanted.

Although American silver dollars and half dollars found their way to the Orient in large numbers, the coin of choice in Canton was the Spanish-American eight-reales "dollar." This preference continued for many years. The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill on the American River in January 1848 ignited the Gold Rush. In 1849 San Francisco was in a state of frenetic growth, and by the 1850s it was firmly established as the premier trading port on the West Coast. Much commerce continued to be done with China from ports such as Boston and New York, with the clipper ship being constructed expressly for this purpose. In time, San Francisco also became an important trading center with the Orient. Merchants in that city had to buy Mexican dollars at a premium in order to use them in the China trade. Many Liberty Seated silver dollars were also employed, the China trade apparently accounting for the primary use of most of these dollars minted from 1853 through 1872 inclusive.

In the 1860s, John Jay Knox, of Washington, DC, deputy comptroller of the currency, an employee of the Treasury Department, was sent to San Francisco to investigate reported irregularities. Eventually he prepared a detailed report recommending corrections, for which there were many suggestions. While in San Francisco, Knox visited with bankers, exchange dealers, and others, and gained first-hand knowledge of the importance of the China trade. Among those with whom he held discussions was Louis A. Garnett, who suggested that if a new denomination of coin, to be called a commercial dollar, could be produced, this would aid greatly in the China trade and would compete effectively with the Mexican dollar. These would be trade coins intended for export, and would not be related to or necessarily have any connection with domestic money. At the same time, Knox had discussions with Henry Richard Linderman, a medical doctor who in 1867-1869 had been the director of the Philadelphia Mint, and who would later serve in the same position. Linderman was a brilliant man, but ethics were not part of his constitution (as noted here and there among earlier comments in the present catalogue). Years later, Linderman would write a book, Legal Tender, which was very well done and which today is an important reference for anyone interested in financial history. Circa 1869-1870, Linderman endorsed the concept of a trade dollar, and according to historian R.W. Julian, later claimed full credit for it. However, Knox is more deserving in this regard.

Both Linderman and Knox were accomplished numismatists. Knox acquired his coins the old-fashioned way, by earning money and buying them on the rare coin market, including attendance at a memorable sale held on October 23, 1871, in Washington, D.C., when the collection of J. Ledyard Hodge, seized by the government, was sold at auction. Linderman had an easier route: as director of the Mint he simply restruck or created coins that he found interesting. After his passing, his widow came up with a complicated story which endeavored to place a fine, legitimate pedigree on an 1804 restrike silver dollar which Linderman probably had made for his own account.

In 1870, John Jay Knox began work on new coinage legislation, including the idea that the standard silver dollar be issued at a lower weight, 384 grains, conforming to the Act of February 21, 1853, which reduced the authorized weight of the silver half dime, dime, quarter dollar, and half dollar, but which left the dollar untouched, after which it floated free in the international market and was used as a trade coin with China. Of course, the new lightweight dollar would not be useful for the Orient trade, but perhaps it would enter circulation in America.

The lightweight standard dollar did not become a reality in the early 1870s, but in February 1872 a committee in the House of Representatives considered the draft of Knox's proposal, and made an amendment to create a commercial dollar to weigh 420 grains. Some debate ensued, and for a time the concept was precarious, but the Coinage Act of February 12, 1873, made the commercial dollar a reality.

Meanwhile, in 1872, varieties of commercial dollar patterns were issued, bearing the inscription COMMERCIAL DOLLAR. It was soon decided that the nomenclature should be changed, and before the end of the year the TRADE DOLLAR term emerged.

In 1873 at the Mint, all bets seemed to be off, caution was thrown to the wind, and all sorts of pattern 1873 commercial dollars and trade dollars were made, embodying several different styles of reverses plus several different styles of obverses, and, for good measure, combining some with irrelevant reverses of regular silver dollars. Some of these patterns were made available to collectors, but most were not.

In time, the pattern trade dollar and commercial dollars of 1872 and 1873 gained recognition as some of the most interesting issues in the entire pattern series. Eventually added to these were further patterns including those produced in 1876, at which time legitimate thought (as opposed to numismatic fantasy thought) was given to redesigning the trade dollar. However, the adopted motif, by William Barber, introduced for circulating coins in 1873, continued without dramatic change until the end of the series in 1885, although there were some modifications to the obverse and reverse in 1875-6.

The Bass Collection brings to the market one of the most spectacular, most important holdings of pattern trade dollars ever to cross the auction block. Each coin is interesting, all are scarce, many are rare, and all will be treasured by their new owners, both for the rarity and history they embody as well as their incomparable pedigree from the Bass Collection.


Exceedingly Important

1871 Pattern Trade Dollar

Commercial Dollar Inscription

Only Three Struck!

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1310     1871 pattern commercial dollar. P-1298, J-1154. Rarity-7. Indian Princess obverse. Proof-63 (PCGS). Silver. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: James B. Longacre's Indian Princess design, posthumous (Longacre died on January 1, 1869). Miss Liberty, as an Indian princess, is seated on a globe, her right hand holding a pole at the top of which is a liberty cap, her left hand resting on a globe. Behind her are two flags, the closest to the viewer having 22 stars. Thirteen stars are around the border, and the date 1871 is below. This same die was used to strike pattern silver dollars, namely P-1281-1295.

Reverse Design: Commercial dollar die. An open wreath of olive encloses the inscription COMMERCIAL/DOLLAR/420 GRS/900 FINE, with a cornucopia below COMMERCIAL and spearhead ornaments in two locations below. The wreath ribbon is inscribed GOD OUR TRUST, a curious revision to a motto used on pattern coinage circa 1862, but rendered unnecessary when IN GOD WE TRUST was formally adopted for coinage use in 1864 (first appearing on the two-cent piece). Around the border is the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. This die represents the first name of the trade dollar, the commercial dollar, and in pattern form was probably first used in 1872, the present coin no doubt being a numismatic delicacy made a year or two after 1871.

Surfaces: Brilliant with delicate champagne toning on obverse and reverse. A very attractive coin, certainly a premium quality example within its designated grade.

Narrative: This specimen is of incredible importance to the collector of pattern trade dollars, as pieces dated 1871 are exceedingly rare, quite unlike those of the next two dates. John W. Haseltine stated that only three were struck, and he would have known, for he probably had a hand in distributing them. We can envision that this coin will be a showpiece, a highlight for any specialized collection of trade dollars. We anticipate exceedingly intense bidding competition as this crosses the block, for how long will it be until another opportunity arises?

Technical Aspects: Weight: 410.5 grains. Diameter: 37.8 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

From New Netherlands Coin Co.'s 61st Sale, June 30, 1970, Lot 43. Previously from the Col. E.H.R. Green Collection, via Barney Bluestone, April 17, 1943.

 

Superb Gem 1872 Pattern Trade Dollar

Commercial Dollar Inscription

P-1352, Silver

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1311     1872 pattern commercial dollar. P-1352, J-1212. Rarity-6+. Indian Princess obverse. Proof-67 (PCGS). Silver. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: James B. Longacre's Indian Princess obverse, similar to the preceding, but dated 1872.

Reverse Design: Commercial dollar die as preceding.

Surfaces: A superb gem of virtual perfection. Delicate golden and brown toning are seen over deep mirror surfaces. A more beautiful, more elegant pattern trade dollar cannot be imagined!

Narrative: Among pattern trade dollars (and also pattern silver dollars) of this era, Longacre's Indian Princess motif is one of the most beautiful designs, a classic that was also used for lower denominations. The Commercial dollar reverse is now in its proper year setting, as it is generally believed that 1872 represents the first time these were made on a contemporary basis.

The number coined of P-1352 is not known, but probably only 10 to 12 exist, of which this simply has to be one of the finest. The trade enthusiast as well as the pattern specialist-not to overlook the connoisseur who enjoys buying coins here and there so long as they are beautiful and rare-will focus intently on this lovely piece. Indeed, it is a numismatic treasure.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 419.6 grains. Diameter: 37.8 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

From Percy Fewell, August 10, 1972. Illustrated in United States Patterns and Related Issues, by Andrew W. Pollock III, as figure 380.

 

1872 Pattern Trade $1 by Barber

"Amazonian Reverse"

P-1365, Silver

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1312     1872 pattern trade dollar. P-1365, J-1223. Rarity-7+. Indian Princess obverse. Proof-64 (PCGS). Silver. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: William Barber's transmogrification of James B. Longacre's elegant Indian Princess design. A full figure of Miss Liberty is seated on a globe, facing left. She is wearing an Indian headdress. A pole with liberty cap is held in her right hand with her left hand resting on the globe, which is inscribed LIBERTY. The date, 1872, is below. Behind Liberty's left shoulder are two flags, one ornamented with 13 stars. In addition, 13 stars are around the border.

Reverse Design: The reverse is an adaptation of that used on the reverse of the so-called "Amazonian" pattern coins made by William Barber this year. At the center an eagle is standing, holding arrows in one talon (see die notes) and the top of a shield in the other. Inscriptions surround. The eagle seems to be a bit small for the diameter of the coin, but a cameo-like effect is not produced due to the proliferation of lettering in the field.

Surfaces: The surfaces are toned heather and gray accented with splashes of blue, light gold, and magenta. There is some light striking, as made, on the eagle's breast, this being typical for the motif.

Narrative: This variety is of extreme rarity, and Andrew Pollock was able to trace just three pieces, including the one listed here. The number struck is not recorded, but must have been exceedingly small. R.W. Julian suggests that this pattern may have been struck in 1873, noting that the reverse inscriptions as to weight and value represent the only die used in 1872 that is somewhat similar to the adopted 1873 design.

The trade dollar specialist may recognize that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, or certainly close to it. When Harry W. Bass, Jr., was building his collection, he never hesitated to "reach" when a coin was offered, especially if his research showed that another opportunity might not occur anytime soon. While no one can predict the future, it would seem to the present writer that any specialist hoping to own this coin would do well to throw caution to the wind, and "go for it."

Technical Aspects: Weight: 419.9 grains. Diameter: 37.8 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: This die was also used to strike pattern dollars. The globe on the obverse is inaccurate from a geographical viewpoint, and depicts North America boldly, but connected like chang-eng to what may be the Asian continent to the left, or, who knows. South America has just about disappeared and is represented by a tiny outline. Many of the stars in the flag are repunched, indicating an unsteady hand. The date 1872, from a four-digit punch, is too high on the coin, close to the base of Miss Liberty, and distant from the dentils. On the reverse, the arrows that are supposed to be grasped by the eagle's talon are, in fact, grasped by nothing and are behind the eagle's talon.

Concerning the pedigree of this coin, Numismatics, Ltd., operated by Fred Weinberg in Beverly Hills, California, has handled many fine patterns over the years (mint errors are another specialty), and no doubt this piece was much appreciated as it passed through the firm's hands.

Purchased from Numismatics, Ltd., August 12, 1974.

 

Barber's Liberty Head Trade Dollar

P-1418, Silver

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1313     1873 pattern trade dollar. P-1418, J-1276. Rarity-4. Coronet Liberty Head. Proof-64 (PCGS). Silver. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: Head of Miss Liberty by William Barber, facing left, her hair tied in a bun. A progenitor of the so-called "Sailor Head" style which in slightly different form was popularized in a 20-cent pattern in 1875. She is wearing a coronet inscribed LIBERTY, the top edge of the coronet being beaded. Around are 13 stars and, below, the date (Open 3 style).

Reverse Design: Trade dollar die inspired by the earlier Commercial dollar die, same general format: An olive wreath is open at the top and tied at the bottom with a ribbon inscribed IN GOD WE TRUST. Above, between the wreath and border is the legend, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Inside, the denomination TRADE DOLLAR in two lines. Below this, the two line inscription 420 GRAINS. / 900 FINE.

Surfaces: Mostly brilliant at the centers, changing to light gold and iridescent blue at the rims. A visually appealing coin, certainly one of the finest known at the grade level.

Narrative: The Barber portrait on P-1418 is numismatically significant as being one of several truly distinctive motifs in this prolific year of pattern issuance. The reverse is likewise distinctive, but in another way, as it represents a transition from the earlier Commercial dollar die.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 419.9 grains. Diameter: 37.8 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Examples of P-1418 were included in six-coin sets of pattern trade dollars made available to numismatists (the other numbers being P-1423, 1435, 1453, 1458, and 1465). It is thought that the sale price of these sets was $30 at the time, this information being from Ben Green, the Chicago dealer, in 1908. Green was not active in numismatics in 1873, but may have heard it from Virgil Brand or possibly from the horse's mouth (John W. Haseltine). Around this time it is known that Green had an 1884 trade dollar, a numismatic delicacy distributed by Haseltine. However, no specific mention has been made. Virgil Brand comes to the fore, as he dealt extensively with Green at the time, and also was an early owner of the 1884 trade dollar. The issuance of these sets was possibly an appeasement to numismatists in general, for outsiders had not been able to acquire delicacies and tidbits in the pattern and special strike series. However, as can be seen by even a quick perusal of any book on patterns, the aforementioned six-piece sets were only the tip of the iceberg-many more varieties were created, produced in smaller numbers, and distributed unofficially. Although one or two original sets survived-notably an example sold by Superior a few years ago and bought by hockey star Wayne Gretzky-most have been broken up. Today coins from these sets are where you find them, one at a time as here.

From Abner Kreisberg's "Quality" Sales Corp, November 30, 1970, Lot 1314.

 

Bailly's 1873 Pattern Trade Dollar

P-1423, Silver

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1314     1873 pattern trade dollar. P-1423, J-1281. Rarity-4. Bailly Head. Proof-65 (PCGS). Silver. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: J.A. Bailly's Liberty Head, as popularly attributed. The portrait of Miss Liberty faces left. Her hair is coiffed close to her head, with a braid tied in a loop behind, a tress extending downward on her neck. Across her hair and the position of a diadem is a wreath of uncertain botanical attribution, perhaps intended as cotton, but in the shape of an undulating vine with bolls or possibly blossoms, and a berry or two added for good measure. Miss Liberty seems to be pouting, or perhaps she has just tasted a pickle. The visage is certainly not one of happiness and charm.

Reverse Design: William Barber's "Amazonian" reverse die. An eagle with wings open, grasps three arrows in its right claw and supports a shield with its left. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is in the field above the eagle. A scroll across the shield has the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. Above, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and below, the denomination TRADE DOLLAR. Between the eagle and the denomination is the inscription 420 GRAINS, 900 FINE. The eagle motif, discussed earlier, is similar to that used on the reverse of 1872 "Amazonian" patterns by Barber.

Surfaces: A splendid coin with light golden toning with hints of iridescence at the border, against deep mirror fields. This is one of the very finest in existence of a variety which is elusive to begin with, but when seen nearly always has problems.

Narrative: The combination of the distinctive Bailly design-never mind Miss Liberty is not a "schoolgirl," "Society girl," or even a "Washlady"-and the extremely high grade of this coin, together with its attractive surfaces, yield a trade dollar that will be very special to the intending bidder. Certainly, this is one of the very finest of, perhaps, somewhat fewer than 50 pieces known.

Technical Aspects: Die notes: Open 3 in date, as on all 1873 pattern trade dollars hereoffered; indicating that such patterns were not made during the first two months of the year. This is logical, as the trade dollar was not authorized until the Act of February 12, 1873, and not implemented until after that time. However, as noted earlier, extensive production of patterns for the denomination, then called the Commercial Dollar, began in 1872. The Bailly die seems to employ standard Mint workmanship for the positioning of the stars, dentils, and date, and thus there is no reason to think other than that Bailly produced simply the portrait, and the die itself was made by the Engraving Department. The attribution of the die is by tradition, as it is not signed.

From Abner Kreisberg's "Quality" Sales Corp, November 30, 1970, Lot 1316.

 

Bailly Head Pattern Rarity

Different Reverse

Perhaps Two Known in Private Hands

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1315     1873 pattern trade dollar. P-1427, J-1285. Rarity-8. Bailly Head. Proof-62 BN (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: Bailly's Liberty Head as preceding.

Reverse Design: Stylistically similar to the preceding, except the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is on a ribbon held by the eagle's beak.

Surfaces: Cleaned long ago, since retoned, now with gunmetal-blue and gold hues with some areas of copper.

Narrative: The point may be moot, as the variety is an extreme rarity. Apparently only two or three pieces exist! Its desirability is all the more significant inasmuch as the die combination is different from the preceding, and not known in silver. Thus, for completion, this is it. There is a single aluminum striking known, in the Smithsonian Institution where it is likely to remain forever.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 353.5 grains. Diameter: 37.8 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: A comparison of the present die with the preceding will reveal that not only is the motto differently placed and on a ribbon on the present coin, but that there are numerous topological differences among the letter placements, etc. As an example for quick reference-readily recognizable in the photographs-on the present die the 2 (420) is to the left of the T (TRADE), while on the previous die it is over that letter. An examination of the central motif is quite instructive. While the basic eagle seems to be from the same punch there are a number of small differences in the details. However, the arrowheads and arrow shafts were added by hand and differ between the two dies. It can be noted from the photographs that on the present die the back part of each arrowhead is embedded in the eagle's wing, while on the previous die all arrowheads are completely visible. On the present die, the incuse inscription IN GOD WE TRUST is slightly differently placed, with the top center part of the W (WE) touching the bottommost horizontal shield line; on the earlier die this letter is positioned lower. On the present die, to the left of the bottom of the motto ribbon, immediately left of ST (TRUST), there are three vertical lines; on the preceding die there are just two.

Such differences are fascinating to the present cataloguer, and it is hoped that in the future related differences and other dies can be more completely described. At present the literature is quite sketchy on the subject.

Purchased from Brinton T. Schorer, May 3, 1973.

 

1873 "Double Eagle Portrait"

Pattern Trade Dollar

Classic Rarity

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1316     1873 pattern trade dollar. P-1431, J-1289. Rarity-7. Coronet Liberty Head, Double Eagle Portrait. Proof-60 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: James B. Longacre's portrait of Miss Liberty, the general style first employed on pattern $20 pieces in 1849 and regular issues beginning in 1850; signed J.B.L. on neck truncation. Miss Liberty faces left, her hair tied in a bun behind her head with curls flowing behind her neck. She is wearing a coronet inscribed LIBERTY. Around, 13 stars and below, the date.

Reverse Design: The same die used to strike Pollock-1423 earlier described; Barber's "Amazonian" style. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM individual letters in the field, not on a ribbon.

Surfaces: Cleaned some time ago, no doubt by King Farouk. Now with a bright coppery surface. Perhaps a candidate for a judicious retoning.

Narrative: This pattern trade dollar is a classic rarity among such issues, and while it would be nice if it were a gem Proof, it is not, and in terms of availability, it might not be important. The only other piece specifically cited by Andrew Pollock is that in the Connecticut State Library. Thus, the present coin may be unique in private hands. Moreover, there are no strikings in other metals of this die combination. Thus, again this is it, or this may be it, for the advanced trade dollar specialist. Once this coin crosses the block, it may never be available in the lifetime of extant bidders, unless the new owner is persuaded to part with it.

Beyond that, the combination is appealing for its distinctive character. The portrait of the $20 is, of course, from an unrelated denomination and, logically, was never intended to be used on trade dollars. Thus, the piece was created as a delicacy. As it traces it pedigree to William H. Woodin, it is not unlikely that it was obtained from J.W. Haseltine (he of special Mint connections) or his relative and fellow coin dealer, Stephen K. Nagy. Here, indeed, is a very exciting coin.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 381.5 grains. Diameter: 37.8 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

From William H. Woodin; Waldo C. Newcomer; Sotheby's, King Farouk "Palace Collection," 1954, Lot 1923; M. Bolender; Vickery; Paramount, August 16, 1972, Lot 988. Illustrated in United States Patterns and Related Issues, by Andrew W. Pollock III, as figure 396.

 

1873 P-1441 Trade $1 Rarity

White Metal Striking (As All)

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1317     1873 pattern trade dollar. P-1441, J-1299. Rarity-7. Liberty Seated on globe. Proof-64 (PCGS). White metal. Plain edge.

Obverse Design: William Barber's seated figure of Miss Liberty, on a globe. Her left hand rests on the sphere and her right hand holds a pole with a liberty cap. The inscription LIBERTY appears on the globe. Bales of cotton are at her feet, and behind is a plow and sheaves of wheat. Thirteen stars are above, and the date 1873 is below.

Reverse Design: Reverse as preceding.

Surfaces: Brilliant and attractive. Far higher than the typical grade for a white metal striking, this metal being soft in character.

Narrative: This specimen is one of just a handful of pieces known of this die combination, all of which are in white metal. Apparently such pieces were not known at an early time, for R. Coulton Davis, early delineator of the series, was not familiar with it. One can conjecture that these pieces surfaced through J.W. Haseltine in the first decade of the present century, in time for listings by William H. Woodin in his important 1913 catalogue. Today, examples are extreme rarities, and, as noted, the high condition of the present piece adds further to its desirability.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 302.7 grains. Diameter: 37.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: The obverse die bears a relationship to that used to coin P-1432-1440 (not described in the present catalogue), except that in this instance the details are different. Most notably, the handles of the plow behind the globe are long and differently formed. The portrait of Miss Liberty closely follows that used on the adopted trade dollar, the globe has counterparts among patterns of the silver dollar denomination, and is the general style with North America descended and connected with an amorphous blob that may or may not be Asia; if so, it represents millennia ago before the Bering Strait filled in. South America is represented by a recessed outline and a stippled interior, not quite as sketchy as on its silver dollar counterpart, but incorrectly located from a geographical viewpoint. Obviously, William Barber did not possess any of the common atlases of the period (such as by Johnson or Colton) or, if he did, chose not to look at them. To the extreme upper right of the four bales are depicted some lines representing the ocean. On the present coin, or possibly on the die from which it was struck, are some raised oxidation areas, superficially resembling rust pits in the die, but probably on the coin, from the sea at the left upward, ending close to star 3, and some scattered similar marks elsewhere. The date 1873 is too high in the field and close to the base. Above the date, and slightly above the ground of Miss Liberty, directly under her foot, is a coat-hanger-shaped area of Proof field, certainly not sky as it is below the level of the sea. Other comments could be made. As is the case with so many patterns of this era, the buyer can spend an enjoyable time contemplating minute differences.

From Paramount's sale of August 16, 1972, Lot 991. Illustrated in United States Patterns and Related Issues, by Andrew W. Pollock III, as figure 399.

 

1873 Pattern Trade $1

Barber Design, "Amazonian" Reverse

P-1442, Silver

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1318     1873 pattern trade dollar. P-1442, J-1300. Rarity-7+. Liberty Seated on globe. Proof-63 (PCGS). Silver. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: William Barber's die as preceding.

Reverse Design: Die with "Amazonian" style reverse, by William Barber, motto on ribbon above eagle's head.

Surfaces: A very attractive specimen, with mostly white silver surfaces accented here and there with hints of gold, particularly around the borders.

Narrative: The rarity of this variety has not been defined with precision, but it is certainly of a high order. Andrew Pollock lists just two examples in addition to the specific piece offered here. Moreover, R. Coulton Davis did not list it in his notable study-the first serious attempt at delineating these in American numismatics- Pattern and Experimental Issues of the United States Mint, which serially began in The Coin Collector's Journal, June 1885.

The present coin not only is desirable for its rarity in an absolute sense, but also as a die combination that is elusive in other metals as well (strikings are known in copper with reeded edge and copper with plain edge). Thus, it is yet another focal point for the trade dollar specialist, a offering for which the opportunity may be more significant than the price paid. For rarities, today's record price is often tomorrow's bargain. Besides, the successful bidder of this coin will own it the day after the sale, while everyone else will still be searching for one.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 419.6 grains. Diameter: 37.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

R. Coulton Davis, a Philadelphia pharmacist, had close ties to the Mint. Walter Breen drew upon sources not specifically identified, or possibly upon his imagination, to state that Davis supplied the narcotic laudanum to grateful employees at the Mint, who responded by furnishing Davis with numismatic delicacies. The only flaw to this observation is that derivatives of opium such as laudanum were readily available at just about any drugstore in the United States, without a prescription; all one needed to do was buy a vial of Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup, for example. In any event, the absence of a variety in the Davis listing indicates that he was not aware of its existence. Thus, this and other pieces not listed by Davis are nearly all extreme rarities. There are exceptions here and there, and even the rarities listed by Adams and Woodin were estimates, not fact. The writer recalls that in the Maj. Lenox R. Lohr Collection dispersal, circa 1960, there were four specimens of a particular pattern that was listed as unique, in Adams-Woodin. Of course, such things make numismatics a fascinating pursuit.

From Lester Merkin's sale of February 13, 1971, Lot 918. Previously from Sotheby's King Farouk "Palace Collection," 1954; Empire Collection. Illustrated in United States Patterns and Related Issues, by Andrew W. Pollock III, as figure 400.

 

1873 White Metal Pattern Trade $1

Barber Design, P-1446

Classic Rarity

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1319     1873 pattern trade dollar. P-1446, J-1304. Rarity-7. Liberty Seated on globe. Proof-64 (PCGS). White metal. Plain edge.

Obverse Design: William Barber's design as preceding, Liberty Seated by the sea, on a globe, with bales of cotton, plow, etc. This motif, also by William Barber, bears a slight resemblance in some aspects to the adopted design, but with important differences. Barber's lack of sense of proportion comes to the fore, and the center part of the die seems to be a disorganized scattering, including an eagle which seems to be too small for the space allowed, ribbons above and below, etc. No doubt Morgan could have done better, but at the time that engraver was still a youth in England.

Reverse Design: On this die a small eagle with wings spread, leans to the right (viewer's left), its head turned over the left wing. The eagle grasps an olive branch and three arrows in its claws. Above, a ribbon inscribed E PLURIBUS UNUM, and above this, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Below the eagle is the two line inscription 420 GRAINS. 900 FINE. Below this, a ribbon is inscribed IN GOD WE TRUST, and along the bottom border is the denomination, TRADE DOLLAR.

Surfaces: Brilliant and white with a slight trace of toning.

Narrative: This issue brings together high quality for a white metal coin, plus great rarity (only a handful of pieces are known), plus the only metal and edge treatment for which this particular die combination is known-these factors representing yet another important opportunity for the connoisseur and specialist.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 288.2 grains. Diameter: 37.8 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: On the reverse die the S (TRUST) is double punched.

From RARCOA's sale of the Harry X Boosel "1873" Collection, April 28, 1972, Lot 1141. Illustrated in United States Patterns and Related Issues, by Andrew W. Pollock III, as figure 401.

 

Classic 1873 Pattern Trade $1 Rarity

P-1452, White Metal

Barber's Tribute to Longacre

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1320     1873 pattern trade dollar. P-1452, J-1309. Rarity-7. Indian Princess obverse. Proof-62 (PCGS). White metal. Plain edge.

Obverse Design: Barber's Indian Princess obverse. Barber's adaptation of, probably most properly transmogrification, of the Indian Princess design created earlier by James B. Longacre (chief engraver at the Mint from 1844 until his death on January 1, 1869). Miss Liberty is seen as an Indian Princess, seated on a globe, wearing an Indian headdress. A pole with a liberty cap is held in her right hand, but as one might expect from Barber's lack of appreciation of design proportions, the cap is placed too high and runs into the border (see Die Notes for additional comments). Behind her are two flags, one with 13 stars. Surrounding are 13 stars, and the date 1873 is below.

Reverse Design: Described earlier; one of two "Amazonian" style reverses by William Barber, this having the motto on a ribbon above the eagle's head.

Surfaces: Brilliant with some toning. Some light rust-like oxidation is seen in the fields, not unusual for white metal strikings.

Narrative: The present coin represents an outstanding opportunity as the only seemingly available metal in which this die combination was struck; Don Taxay and Andrew Pollock list a specimen in silver from the Boyd Collection, (later to Sol Kaplan presumably via Farouk), but this coin is not traced today. This leaves the presently offered coin plus one other, both in white metal, as described by Pollock under P-1452. Again, the specialist will find the coin to be of commanding importance.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 303.3 grains. Diameter: 37.8 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: the obverse die is rather naive in its execution, at least in comparison to the work of Longacre. The globe displays in another manner the lack of geographical knowledge of Barber, as in the present instance what seems to be North America is most extensive at what seems to be the North Pole, South America is barely seen, etc. On the flag, the right-most star is sharply double punched, and a few others are slightly double punched. The date 1873 is higher in the field than aesthetics might suggest. Above the date, and below the foot of Miss Liberty, is an area of Proof field-which in the present instance may respresent sky-or who knows?-but not sea, as no waves were included in this die.

Purchased from Lee Hewitt, April 17, 1972. Illustrated in United States Patterns and Related Issues, by Andrew W. Pollock III, as figure 404.

 

Splendid Barber Pattern Trade $1

Indian Princess Obverse, P-1453

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1321     1873 pattern trade dollar. P-1453, J-1310. Rarity-4. Indian Princess obverse. Proof-63 (PCGS). Silver. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: Barber's version of Longacre's Indian Princess design, as preceding.

Reverse Design: By William Barber, same as described under Pollock-1446, above.

Surfaces: Brilliant and beautiful. A touch of golden toning is seen over deep mirror surfaces.

Narrative: Designated as Rarity-4 by Andrew Pollock, this is one of the more available issues of the year. However, in the combination of high grade and attractive appearance offered here, the present coin is of a high order of desirability. However, unlike quite a few other trade dollar patterns offered here, if you "reach" for this piece and miss it, you will probably have another chance at a later time. Still, as they say, there is no time like the present.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 420.0 grains. Diameter: 37.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

From Stack's sale of the DiBello Collection, May 14, 1970, Lot 466.

 

Bailly(?) Pattern Trade Dollar

Bailly's Liberty Seated Rendition

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1322     1873 pattern trade dollar. P-1458, J-1315. Rarity-4. Liberty Seated motif popularly attributed to J.A. Bailly. "Agricultural" Liberty motif. Proof-63 (PCGS). Silver. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: Miss Liberty is seen in a seated position, her right hand holding a pole on which is mounted a cap, her left hand resting on a globe. In front of her to the left are two bales and a sprig of leaves, while a large sheaf of wheat is behind. Surrounding are 13 stars, and the date 1873 is below.

Reverse Design: A small defiant eagle, with the head looking quite like a snapping turtle (a personal verification is invited by bidders), is seen standing on a shield, its wings outstretched, grasping an olive branch and three arrows in its talons. A ribbon beneath the shield carries the inscription IN GOD WE TRUST, and the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is in the field above. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is around the top border, with the denomination TRADE DOLLAR below. Just above the denomination, in two lines, is the inscription 420 GRAINS. / 900 FINE.

Surfaces: Brilliant and beautiful, with a whisper of champagne toning. A lovely coin.

Narrative: This design is said to have been the work of Joseph A. Bailly, Philadelphia sculptor. The same motif was used on pattern 20-cent pieces of 1874. Popular wisdom has it that Bailly was commissioned by the superintendent of the Mint in 1874 to create the motif for the 20-cent denomination, thus indicating either a time warp (as the present coin is dated 1873) or the possibility that the design was created for the trade dollar in 1873 and not the 20-cent piece in 1874, or that the 1873-dated trade dollar, as offered here, was not struck before 1874. Inasmuch as this particular variety seems to have been sold fairly widely (in the context of pattern trade dollars of the year), we would opt for the explanation that it was indeed made in 1873, and that the 20-cent piece was copied from it.

Whether the work is by Bailly is not known, as the die is not signed. Our Die Notes add further comments. All in all this is a dandy trade dollar, one of a distinctive design, and one that should be highly appreciated by its new owner.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 420.2 grains. Diameter: 37.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: The obverse die, although attributed to Bailly, bears some hallmarks of what is thought to be William Barber's work, such as the poor geographical rendition on the globe, in the present instance showing a rather incomplete North America connected by a solid land bridge to Asia-apparently representing millenia before the Bering Strait opened. South America is barely visible and is just an outline. The head of Miss Liberty is well done, with exquisite hair detail, even on this small-sized image, that isn't necessarily representative of what Barber might have done-Barber was not as delicate in his touch. The addition of tassels to the cotton bales to the left is an interesting refinement not noticed on other dies. The veins in the leaves are incised or incuse. The liberty cap has a folded over rim and a folded over top and is much better done than normally seen. The date 1873 is of the Open 3 configuration, as on all pattern trade dollars of this date, and is very low on the die, the first digit being perhaps five times closer to the nearest dentil than to the ground above.

The small eagle on the reverse die seems oddly out of proportion. It might have given the coin a cameo effect, but this was prevented by one line of lettering above and three lines of lettering below, not to overlook the border inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA/TRADE DOLLAR. As noted, the head is an excellent rendition of a snapping turtle, as any numismatist with an interest in herpetology will verify. On the label below the shield, IN GOD WE TRUST is somewhat awkwardly arranged on the ribbon, with the first and last words too far left and too far right.

From Stack's sale of the DiBello Collection, May 14, 1970, Lot 468.

 

Important 1875 Commercial Dollar

P-1567, Copper

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1323     1875 pattern commercial dollar. P-1567, J-1424. Rarity-7. Liberty by the Seashore. Proof-64 RD (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: Die by William Barber. Miss Liberty is seated on a globe facing left. Her left hand is on the globe, which is inscribed LIBERTY. Her raised right hand holds an olive branch. Miss Liberty faces the sea with a ship in the distance. Thirteen stars above, and the date, 1875, below. The motto, IN GOD WE TRUST, is on a scroll above the date. The ship sails to the right (toward the east), with the sails billowing forward in that direction, but in defiance of science and logic, the smoke trails in the opposite direction. Moreover, unlike real steamships that have auxiliary sails, the stack on this particular coin is thick and almost as tall as the main mast. Obviously, William Barber did not spend enough time at the seashore (or when he did, he was sneezing and couldn't pay attention to any offshore ships-see biographical comments at the beginning of our pattern offering).

Reverse Design: This is the Commercial dollar die created in 1872 (our opinion) and used to make patterns only in that year, after which the trade dollar nomenclature was used. The 1871-dated pattern employing this reverse was probably made after 1871, and without the slightest question the piece offered here is of similar provenance-it is a numismatic delicacy made for a collector. In 1875 no one had the slightest idea of renaming the trade dollar back to the Commercial dollar. The coin is an extreme rarity, and the present combination of high quality, curious obverse and reverse die characteristics, and visual beauty add up to a piece that will attract much attention as it crosses the auction block.

Surfaces: A lovely coin, virtual perfection. Mostly original mint red with delicate hints of light toning and iridescent blue. As pretty as a picture.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 350.0 grains. Diameter: 38.0 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Brinton T. Schorer, May 3, 1973.

 

1876 Liberty by the Seashore

Commercial Dollar

P-1624, Copper

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1324     1876 pattern commercial dollar. P-1624, J-1473. Rarity-7. Liberty by the Seashore. Proof-64 RD (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: By the hand of William Barber, somewhat similar to the preceding, but with many important differences. The central figure of Miss Liberty seated, right hand holding an olive branch, left hand on the globe, is from the same puncheon. However, the nautical details are different on the present coin, the ship has all of its sails furled, and thus is not a candidate for incorrect depiction of wind direction, smoke, etc. However, there is another error, again because Barber wasn't paying attention when he was visiting Atlantic City (or wherever else he might have been): the main mast doubled as a smokestack and has rigging, etc., with smoke emitting from the top. Alternatively, perhaps a sailor is on top of the main mast and is smoking a cheap cigar. Enough humor. This piece is dated 1876, and the motto IN GOD WE TRUST is shown above the date on a cartouche or label rather than a scroll.

Reverse Design: Commercial dollar die as intended to be used in 1873, here used anachronistically to create a delicacy.

Surfaces: Brilliant and beautiful, superb gem mint red with hints of delicate toning. As pretty as a picture.

Narrative: For the connoisseur and specialist, this and the following two trade dollar lots are of simply incredible importance. Just a handful exist of all varieties combined, and often many years will elapse between the offering of a single coin at auction. Indeed, over the years only a few advanced specialists in the pattern field have ever had an 1876-dated trade dollar, and regarding specialists in the trade dollar field (regular series 1873-1885) who might want to spice their collection with some patterns, these numismatists have had precious few as well. This is a very exciting coin, one that will be an everlasting treasure in the cabinet of its next owner. Whatever price is paid-and any standard notions of value should be tossed out the window-the winner of this and the following lots will have pieces that may never again be offered in their lifetimes.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 357.4 grains. Diameter: 38.0 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

From Paramount's sale of August 16, 1972, Lot 1012. Previously from M.H. Bolender; Vickery.

 

1876 P-1626 Pattern Trade Dollar

Liberty by the Seashore

Classic Rarity

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1325     1876 pattern trade dollar. P-1626, J-1475. Rarity-8. Liberty by the Seashore. Proof-65 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: William Barber's representation of Miss Liberty, same die as preceding, with main mast of vessel also serving as a smokestack (or whatever is going on), motto IN GOD WE TRUST on cartouche, dated 1876 below.

Reverse Design: The adopted type for the trade dollar. The Type II hub first used in 1876, lacking a berry on the olive sprig beneath the eagle's left talon.

Surfaces: A splendid gem, beautiful mint red with delicate toning. Absolutely gorgeous!

Narrative: The second in our offering of trade dollars dated 1876, this piece is a world-class coin, a fantastic rarity of a date seldom seen even in the most advanced collections. When the quality and appearance of the coin are added to its other attractions, again a very liberal bidding strategy is suggested-for, to quote Elvis Presley, it may be "now or never" as to whether your collection will ever include this variety.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 355.7 grains. Diameter: 37.8 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Brinton T. Schorer, May 3, 1973.

 

1876 P-1628 Trade Dollar Pattern

Attributed to 1876

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1326     Undated (1876) pattern trade dollar. P-1628, J-1321. Rarity-7. Proof-64 RB. Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: Attributed to Anthony C. Paquet, this is a motif not seen elsewhere on pattern coinage. The full figure of Liberty faces left, seated on two cotton bales, a wheat sheaf behind her. She holds a laurel branch in her right hand and a ribbon inscribed LIBERTY in her left hand. At the base of the design is a scroll inscribed IN GOD WE TRUST. Thirteen stars are arranged four and two left, and seven right. There is no date.

Reverse Design: Very similar to the adopted type, however, the eagle is larger, in very shallow relief, and the olive branch is arranged differently.

Surfaces: A splendid coin, a showstopper so far as quality is concerned.

Narrative: This is one of the more interesting patterns in the trade dollar series. For many years this coin, which bears no date, was included among patterns of 1873. However, Walter Breen has suggested that this may represent the result of the $600 paid to Anthony C. Paquet for hubs made in May 1876. At that time some thought was given to redesigning the trade dollar, and Paquet, who had been working in the private sector for over a decade, was tapped to do the work on commission.

Although the obverse of the 1876 trade dollar was slightly modified in 1876, the change had nothing to do with the pattern offered here. The reverse is a distinctive style, with the eagle being quite shallow in its relief and a more substantial bird than on the regular federal product. Although the trade dollar reverse was modified in 1875, the modification was other than that shown here. Thus, we have a mystery coin, which may or may not be the work of Paquet. In any event, the punching of the lettering, stars, etc. is strictly in the style of the Mint Engraving Department of the era, so if Paquet created anything, it was simply the central hubs or puncheons, probably not the complete die.

Thus concludes our memorable offering of three pattern trade dollars of 1876, two of them dated 1876, and the third-the one offered here-attributed by Breen to 1876, though it bears no date. Take note of the opportunity, as it may not recur for a long time, if ever.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 353.7 grains. Diameter: 37.8 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Added to the scenario is this commentary, we pick up from R.W. Julian, Medals of the United States Mint, The First Century, 1792-1892, page 12:

"In 1875 Director [Henry Richard] Linderman suggested that the reverse of the trade dollar be altered, for 1876 only, to reflect the American centennial to be celebrated in that year. This idea was quashed due to the objection of Superintendent James Pollock. Instead, Linderman's idea was placed on the reverse of the 1876 Assay Commission medal. This particular medal has been very popular and desirable over the years since it is at once a centennial item and Washingtonia."

Relative to changing the design of the trade dollar at all, a student of the trade dollar series-and a reader of the editor's two-volume book set, Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia, -will realize full well that merchants in the Orient enjoyed and were enthusiastic about receiving American trade dollars. These literally bumped the long-standing Mexican silver dollar out of its position of dominance, and from 1873 onward, the American trade dollar was the silver coin of choice. No doubt, had a significant new obverse or reverse been employed, or if the centennial reverse described above had been used, the compradores at Canton and other ports would have been confused-and would have wondered whether these new pieces represented different silver content, or some different authorization, or whatever. The trade dollar did not need "fixing" or alteration in design, as it was a spectacular success in its present form.

Purchased from Julian Leidman, July 28, 1972.

 

1852 Annular Gold Dollar

Copper-Nickel Composition

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1327     1852 pattern gold dollar. P-167, J-140. Rarity-6. Annular (ring-form) dollar. Proof-64 (PCGS). Copper-nickel. Plain edge.

Obverse Design: USA above and the date, 1852, below.

Reverse Design: A circle of laurel sprigs.

Surfaces: Lustrous, some die striations are seen, as made. A very attractive example.

Narrative: Struck in copper-nickel, this piece is no doubt from the alloy (88% copper and 12% nickel) first used at the Mint in 1856; thus, de facto it is a restrike. We would put the date of production as circa 1858-1863.

At the time there was criticism concerning the small diameter of the gold dollar, which many felt made the denomination difficult to use. The ring-form dollar shown here was an effort to make it larger in diameter without increasing the amount of gold required. The hole at the center followed the Chinese system, but, unlike the Chinese who found the hole convenient for mounting the coins on strings or cords, in America it was simply a way of increasing the diameter. A similar format was used on certain pattern cents early in the same decade.

In the general "pattern" nomenclature the terms pattern, trial piece, and experimental piece have been used from time to time. Quite possibly this particular coin would be called a experimental piece, as it was made to test a new format or concept-not to test a design.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 20.1 grains. Diameter: 16.5 mm. Die notes: The obverse die is strictly utilitarian, and consists of the letters U S A, widely spaced and without periods, individually punched. The date 1852 is from individual punches as well. The 8 is upside down and thus is slightly wider at the top, and the 2 is of a style we do not recall seeing on any federal circulating coinage-the top is open, has a fancy loop, and the bottom tail is thick and short (the top of the digit being wider). It is seen that this die was hastily contrived just to illustrate the ring form, not to represent a specific design. The reverse is of similar fabric and simply consists of seven sprigs, each with two leaves at the top and two berries attached, the berries being punched in separately. Before these leaves and berries were punched in, the die was quickly machined, with the result that there are many circular ridges. There is also a stray mark of another leaf punch near the rim-which must have been tapped lightly by mistake.

Purchased from Julian Leidman, July 28, 1972.

 

1872 P-1370 Pattern Gold $1

Regular Dies in Copper

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1328     1872 pattern gold dollar. P-1370, J-1227. Rarity-7 or 8. Adopted type. Proof-64 BN (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: The adopted type.

Reverse Design: The adopted type.

Surfaces: Brown with splashes of blue and iridescent toning. Exceedingly sharply struck.

Narrative: The 1872 gold dollar from regular Proof dies, struck in copper, is an incredible rarity. It may be that just two or three are known, in which case it should be listed as Rarity-8. If four or five are known, it is high Rarity-7. Years may elapse between offerings of this variety. Apparently, only a few off-metal strikings of gold coins were made this year.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 16.5 grains. Diameter: 14.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: On the reverse the date is from a four-digit logotype; the base of the 7 is slightly to the right of the ribbon peak.

From RARCOA's sale of the Harry X Boosel "1873" Collection, April 28, 1972, Lot 1136.

 

1873 P-1475 Closed 3 Gold $1

Regular Dies in Copper

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1329     1873 pattern gold dollar. P-1475, J-1331. Rarity-7. Adopted type. Proof-64 BN (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: The adopted type.

Reverse Design: The adopted type with Closed 3 in the date.

Surfaces: Mostly magenta surfaces on the obverse with tinges of blue; the reverse is just the opposite, mostly blue with tinges of magenta. Sharply struck.

Narrative: Again, only a few copper strikings are known from the Proof dies of the gold dollar. The present piece is particularly significant as it comes from the cabinet of "Mr. 1873, Harry Boosel." It may be a long time, perhaps years, until this opportunity recurs.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 16.5 grains. Diameter: 14.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: On the obverse it is noted that the A (STATES) is out of register and is tilted right; however, this is a factor of the master die and extends across different dates-not just 1873. The reverse is of the Closed 3 variety, which at quick glance appears to be an 8-providing the reason why the style was changed later in the year.

From RARCOA's sale of the Harry X Boosel "1873" Collection, April 28, 1972, Lot 685.

 

1873 P-1476 Pattern Gold $1

Regular Dies in Aluminum

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1330     1873 pattern gold dollar. P-1476, J-1332. Rarity-8. Adopted type. Proof-65 (PCGS). Aluminum. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: The adopted type.

Reverse Design: The adopted type with Closed 3 in the date.

Surfaces: Brilliant and beautiful. A splendid coin.

Narrative: This is the first in an illustrious complete offering of 1873 gold denominations struck in aluminum from Proof dies-an incredible presentation, an incredible opportunity. The only other piece cited by Andrew Pollock was that in worn condition (EF) sold as part of the Farouk Collection. The present piece was illustrated by Harry Boosel in his article, "1873," in the Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine, April 1957-one of several pioneering studies that Harry did on the date punches and other features of this particular year.

Note: See other lots of 1873 denominations for a complete 1873 gold Proof set struck in aluminum.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 5.0 grains. Diameter: 14.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: Faint die lines, especially on the reverse.

From RARCOA's sale of the Harry X Boosel "1873" Collection, April 28, 1972, Lot 700.

 

1874 P-1510 Pattern Gold $1

Regular Dies in Copper

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1331     1874 pattern gold dollar. P-1510, J-1365. Rarity-8. Adopted type. Proof-65 BN (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: The adopted type.

Reverse Design: The adopted type.

Surfaces: Rich saddle leather brown with hints of sea green and magenta. Sharply struck. A splendid coin from every aspect.

Narrative: Andrew Pollock traces the existence of three pieces, one of them being worn, leaving two full Proofs. It could be that these two are one and the same coin (the piece offered here), as the year offerings do not overlap. From any perspective this lovely coin is a rarity of incredible proportions, and the same can be said concerning the opportunity involved.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 17.1 grains. Diameter: 14.9 mm. Die alignment: 360°. Die notes: On the obverse the shaft of the first plume feather is partially incomplete due to the master die not being impressed to full depth; this is not noticeable except under high magnification.

From New England Rare Coin Auctions, 1979 ANA sale, July 29, 1979, Lot 1340. Formerly in the reference collection of Mocatta Metals, one of the most active traders in gold and silver during the heady days of the late 1970s (and at other times as well).