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



Patterns - Lots 1349-1378


1804 Half Eagle Restrike

P-6080, Silver

Exceedingly Rare

Possibly Unique

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1349     1804 pattern half eagle. P-6080, J-30. Rarity-8. Restrike of adopted type. MS-65. Silver. Plain edge.

Obverse Design: The adopted type.

Reverse Design: The adopted type.

Surfaces: Struck from extensively rusted dies, probably circa 1860. See Die Notes. Attractively toned in light gold with hints of sea green and gunmetal-blue. Within the context of being a restrike from rusty dies, it is a very nice example.

Narrative: A restrike from very heavily rusted dies, produced under circumstances very similar to the large cent restrike bearing the same date. Most likely produced in the 1860s, during a period when several different restrikes were produced, including the 1804, 1810, and 1823 cent restrikes, and the 1811 half cent restrike.

So far as is known, this coin is unique. Its earlier provenance is given in the pedigree information below, but we add the comment that at one time it may have been owned by H.O. Granberg, the well-known collector and dealer of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, who handled many rarities, particularly in the decade 1910-1920. The present coin is of interest not only to collectors of patterns, restrikes, and unusual items, but also to the specialist in early gold coins.

Quite a bit of information regarding old dies has been brought to print by Don Taxay, Mark Borckardt, and others, and if the successful bidder would like further information and sources of inquiry, we would be happy to provide the same.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 108.0 grains. Diameter: 25.1 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: The obverse die is shattered, with a vertical crack extending from L (LIBERTY) downward to the portrait, past the 4 (1804) to border; another crack extends from the center of the head, left through star 5. Another crack is seen through the throat of Miss Liberty, and another through her cheek; a clash mark is in the obverse field below the chin. The die is extremely rusted overall, probably the result of having been stored in damp circumstances for, say, 55 years before it was used in the present regard. The reverse, while not exhibiting obvious cracks, is deeply rusted, with pits over the entire surface. A tiny crack is seen from where the eagle's neck meets the shield at the upper right, extending through the shoulder of the wing. What may be another crack is between the eagle's wing and E (AMERICA) and closer to the wing. Other light cracks may exist but be masked by the rust.

From New England Rare Coin Auctions' 1979 ANA sale, July 29, 1979, Lot 1276. Previously from Virgil M. Brand, then in New Netherlands Coin Co.'s 41st sale, September 1953, Lot 420; Paramount's Davis Sale, February 1975, Lot 550; Parmount's Burnheimer Sale, May 1976, Lot 1193; Superior's Crouch Sale, June 1977, Lot 598. Illustrated in United States Patterns and Related Issues, by Andrew W. Pollock III, as figure 740.

 

1860 P-320 Pattern Half Eagle

Longacre's Liberty Head

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1350     1860 pattern half eagle. P-320 gilt, J-272. Rarity-6. Capped Liberty Head facing right. Proof-64. Copper, gilt. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: A capped bust of Liberty faces right, the cap ornamented with three stars. Over her right shoulder is a ribbon inscribed LIBERTY. Around, 13 stars and below, the date, 1860. The general configuration is that copied by William Barber years later to create standard silver patterns.

Reverse Design: An eagle with wings outstretched, grasping an olive branch and three arrows in its claws. From its beak is a ribbon with the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. Around, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and below, the denomination FIVE DOLLARS.

Surfaces: Sharply struck with bright yellow-gold mirrored surfaces. Obverse and reverse die striae are present, along with a few very minor hairlines.

Narrative: The larger diameter and thinner planchet was intended to prevent the fraudulent practice of splitting the larger gold coins and replacing the gold insert with metal of lesser value. At the time, platinum was the popular choice as the specific gravity is very near that of gold, and at that time, platinum was worth far less on the market.

Harry Bass was fascinated by this particular variety, and acquired several specimens, no doubt studying their weights (which vary considerably as a comparison of this and the next two lots indicate), but perhaps also hoping to discover die varieties.

This lot, and Lot 1352, are both on thin planchets with an approximate weight of 66 grains. The next lot, from the same obverse and reverse dies, and also gilt, is on a thick planchet with a weight of just under 120 grains. Although not offered in the present sale, further examples are known on planchets with weights in excess of 140 grains.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 65.2 grains. Diameter: 26.9 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: Obverse and reverse dies (including obverse die state) as preceding.

From Stack's sale of the DiBello Collection, May 14, 1970, Lot 484.

 

1860 P-320 Pattern Half Eagle

Duplicate

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1351     1860 pattern half eagle. P-320 gilt, J-272. Rarity-6. Capped Liberty Head facing right. Proof-64. Copper, gilt. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Bright yellow-gold surfaces are subdued by heavy striae. No hairlines or other abrasions are immediately evident.

Narrative: A second example of P-320, the present piece being nearly twice the weight of either of the other two offered.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 119.1 grains. Diameter: 27.0 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: Obverse and reverse dies (including obverse die state) as preceding.

From New Netherlands Coin Co.'s 61st Sale, June 30, 1970, Lot 9. Previously from B. Max Mehl, Col. Porter Sale, June 1942, Lot 1309.

 

1860 P-320 Pattern Half Eagle

A Third Example

1352     1860 pattern half eagle. P-320 gilt, J-272. Rarity-6. Capped Liberty Head facing right. Proof-62. Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Brilliant and beautiful. A splendid specimen.

Narrative: A third and final example of this variety.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 66.6 grains. Diameter: 27.0 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: On the obverse the portrait is small, which against an open field gives the piece a cameo-like appearance. The date is in small numerals, horizontally arranged. The word LIBERTY is ornately cut with vertical ribs and is incuse on the ribbon. The stars on the headband of Miss Liberty are overly large and seem to be lightly secured. On the back fold of Miss Liberty's cap are many raised rust spots and some lint. On the reverse the V (FIVE) is an inverted A! The cognoscenti will know that this comment relates the die somewhat to a certain die made for Clark, Gruber and Co. during the same era. The eagle on the reverse is small and delicate with regard to the surrounding field and again gives a cameo-like appearance while the eagle itself seems to be a bit awkward in portrayal. The motto on the ribbon is incuse.

Purchased from Lee Hewitt, April 17, 1972.

 

1861 P-336 Pattern Half Eagle

Longacre's Liberty Head

1353     1861 pattern half eagle. P-336, J-283. Rarity-6+. Capped Liberty Head facing right. Proof-63 BN (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: Longacre's Capped Liberty Head as preceding, but from a different die, the present bearing the date 1861.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: A splendid specimen, rich brown with splashes of iridescence. Sharply struck with moderately deep mirrored fields. The planchet appears to be slightly dished.

Narrative: The 1861-dated version of this interesting large-diameter coin is slightly scarcer than its 1860 counterpart. As noted earlier, the intention was to create a gold coin of greater diameter and less thickness, to prevent the coins from being cut in half and filled with base metal such as lead or platinum.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 66.8 grains. Diameter: 26.8 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: Obverse die from portrait punch as preceding; no rust on cap. Date 1861 below, and widely spaced letters, probably individually punched. Reverse die identical to preceding with inverted A as the V (FIVE).

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

 

1870 P-1167 Pattern Half Eagle

Regular Dies in Copper

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1354     1870 pattern half eagle. P-1167, J-1032. Rarity-7. Adopted type. Proof-65 BN (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: The adopted type.

Reverse Design: The adopted type.

Surfaces: Beautiful rich red and brown surfaces with splashes of iridescence and blue. A coin with a great amount of eye appeal.

Narrative: This copper impression from Proof dies is a major rarity and was not known to R. Coulton Davis when he prepared his listing in the 1880s. Today perhaps a half dozen are known, of which the present is certainly one of the finest.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 76.0 grains. Diameter: 21.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: The obverse date logotype, from a four-digit punch, is much closer to the neck than to the dentils.

Purchased from Stanley Kesselman, August 30, 1971.

 

1871 P-1312 Pattern Half Eagle

Struck in Copper

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1355     1871 pattern half eagle. P-1312, J-1170. Rarity-7. Adopted type. Proof-65 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: The adopted type.

Reverse Design: The adopted type.

Surfaces: Beautiful red surfaces with a hint of natural toning. A splendid gem of extremely high quality.

Narrative: A very rare coin, one to which we have assigned the classification of Rarity-7, higher than Pollock's Rarity-6+. Very few pieces have been seen by us over the years, during which time we have handled the lion's share of pattern coins sold both at auction and privately. The present piece combines rarity with the additional quality of being truly beautiful to behold.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 72.8 grains. Diameter: 21.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: On the obverse the date logotype is more or less centered. A tiny raised die line extends from the left die line or possibly a faint crack extends from the upper left serif of the last digit, vertically to the neck truncation.

Purchased from Stanley Kesselman, August 30, 1971.

 

1872 P-1385 Half Eagle Pattern

Regular Dies in Copper

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1356     1872 pattern half eagle. P-1385, J-1243. Rarity-7. Adopted type. Proof-62 BN (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: The adopted type.

Reverse Design: The adopted type.

Surfaces: Surfaces are a pale brown, almost a butterscotch color; seemingly cleaned long ago and since retoned. Sharply struck and, overall, fairly attractive.

Narrative: This copper impression from Proof dies is of exceeding rarity, with just three or four pieces known to exist, possibly full Rarity-8. Another important opportunity for the connoisseur and specialist.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 67.6 grains. Diameter: 21.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: The obverse date logotype fairly well centered.

Purchased from Joe Flynn, Sr. Coin Co., August 10, 1971.

 

1873 P-1484 Pattern Half Eagle

Copper Impression

The Adopted Design

Possibly Unique

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1357     1873 pattern half eagle. P-1484, J-1340. Rarity-8. Adopted type. Proof-62 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

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

Reverse Design: The adopted type.

Surfaces: Reddish brown surfaces with splashes of iridescent blue. The reverse is mostly red with hints of magenta.

Narrative: Although Andrew Pollock lists this piece as Rarity-7, he also notes the existence of only a single specimen known to him. Thus, we have boldly called this Rarity-8, possibly unique. Another marvelous opportunity, one which may not be repeated for a long time, if ever. In addition, the popularity of the 1873 date gives added desirability.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 67.5 grains. Diameter: 21.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: Obverse die with Closed 3 in date, as typical for off-metal strikes. Logotype fairly well centered, but with the first digit a bit closer to the neck than to the dentils.

From RARCOA's sale of the Harry X Boosel "1873" Collection, April 28, 1972, Lot 688. Previously From Col. E.H.R. Green Collection and Sotheby's King Farouk "Palace Collection," 1954, Lot 1905.

 

1873 P-1485 Half Eagle Pattern

Regular Dies in Aluminum

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1358     1873 pattern half eagle. P-1485, J-1341. Rarity-8. Adopted type. Proof-64 (PCGS). Aluminum. Reeded edge.

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

Reverse Design: The adopted type.

Surfaces: Brilliant and beautiful.

Narrative: Only three pieces are listed by Andrew Pollock, and because of this he calls it Rarity-8, with which we agree. One of the three is circulated, leaving this and another to qualify as attractive Proofs. Another highly important opportunity.

Note: See other 1873 lots which in the aggregate comprise a complete 1873 gold Proof set struck in aluminum.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 22.5 grains. Diameter: 21.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: Dies as preceding.

From RARCOA's sale of the Harry X Boosel "1873" Collection, April 28, 1972, Lot 703.

 

1874 P-1516 Pattern Half Eagle

Regular Dies in Copper

1359     1874 pattern half eagle. P-1516, J-1371. Rarity-8. Adopted type. Proof-64 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: The adopted type.

Reverse Design: The adopted type.

Surfaces: A lovely specimen exhibiting a beautiful blend of mint red, light brown, and blue-a visual treat as are so many coins in the Bass Collection. Sharply struck with bright mint red accented by blue and lilac toning.

Narrative: Andrew Pollock lists just three specimens, including one that grades EF, so we have taken the liberty of changing the valuation to Rarity-8. If another one turns up, then high Rarity-7 is in order. In any event, the piece is another formidable rarity, a coin that may not be offered again for a long time.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 76.5 grains. Diameter: 21.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

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

 

1875 P-1582 Half Eagle Pattern

Barber's Sailor Head

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1360     1875 pattern half eagle. P-1582 gilt, J-1439. Rarity-6+. Sailor Head. Proof-64. Copper, gilt. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: Obverse by Barber, the so-called "Sailor Head" made famous on the 20-cent pattern (an example of which is not offered in the present sale). This same general motif, with different variations such as the lack of a ribbon, appears on various Barber coins of the era. Surrounding are 13 stars, the date 1875 is below.

Reverse Design: The reverse, by William Barber, is a copy of the general style used on the contemporary trade dollar. A standing eagle with wings spread, grasping an olive branch and three arrows. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is in the field above the eagle, and above this is the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Below is a ribbon inscribed IN GOD WE TRUST, and below this is the denomination, FIVE DOLLARS.

Surfaces: The surfaces are bright yellow-gold and very attractive.

Narrative: A splendid specimen of one of the more notable gold patterns of the era, representing as it does a completely distinctive design rather than an off-metal striking. Don Taxay reported that J.W. Haseltine in March 1876 stated that just five specimens were struck. However, more than that seem to exist. Haseltine's information was probably correct as of 1876, for he had a direct conduit to the Mint (and was a sales agent, for example, for the 1801-1803 Proof restrike dollars which we believe were made a few years earlier, and on trade dollar planchets).

As there is no reason that Haseltine would have given the wrong information in March 1876, for he could have kept silent on the subject (as he usually did on other things), we suggest that perhaps additional pieces were made later. If so, perhaps a different die state or variety would be disclosed if a number of pieces are examined. Meanwhile our Die Notes describe the piece offered here.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 67.5 grains. Diameter: 21.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: The obverse has a four-digit logotype punch, slightly closer to the neck than to the dentils. On the headband the word LIBERTY is in prominent raised letters against a somewhat lined background, with some flourishes or vegetation at the peak of the coronet in front of the L. The portrait of Miss Liberty has many raised die lines criss-crossing it in different directions, very interesting to view under magnification. The reverse is from a hand-punched die, the eagle being similar to that used on the trade dollar (and on the 20-cent piece), the border letters being somewhat thick in their uprights, possibly a la Paquet. The motto IN GOD WE TRUST is in raised sans-serif letters on a ribbon.

From Stack's DiBello Collection, May 14, 1970, Lot 487. Illustrated in United States Patterns and Related Issues, by Andrew W. Pollock III, as figure 422.

 

1876 P-1637 Pattern Half Eagle

Regular Dies in Copper

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1361     1876 pattern half eagle. P-1637, J-1484. Rarity-7. Adopted type. Proof-65 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: The adopted type.

Reverse Design: The adopted type.

Surfaces: A splendid coin, mostly red, with splashes of light brown and blue. Another visual treat.

Narrative: A beautiful coin, and a splendid rarity. Over the years we have seen just a few, of which it would be hard to envision a piece nicer than that offered here.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 69.9 grains. Diameter: 21.6 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Brinton T. Schorer, February 1,1972.

 

1878 Morgan's Liberty Head $5

P-1758, Copper Gilt

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1362     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1758 gilt, J-1568. Rarity-7. Liberty Head. Proof-64. Copper, gilt. Reeded edge.

Obverse: An enlarged version of that described earlier under P-1757, later used for the $10 coin: Head of Miss Liberty by Morgan, signed with an incuse M on neck truncation. She is shown facing to the left, with abundant hair done in waves, tied at a bun in the back, and with tresses falling down behind her neck. She has two ribbons, one of which is inscribed LIBERTY and touches her forehead, the other of which contains a symmetrical leaf pattern. The inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM is around the border, and the date 1878 is below, the latter curved to match the border.

Reverse Design: The reverse design is also similar to that used on P-1757, but here in enlarged form and with inscriptions relating to the half eagle.

Surfaces: Brilliant gold, somewhat frosty on the higher devices.

Narrative: A splendid example of this design, one of a suite of $2.50, $5, and $10 issues produced this year. The diameter is larger than the standard federal issue, and the coins thinner, an effort to deter the hollowing out of coins and filling them with heavy metal such as lead.

This pattern inaugurates an extensive listing of 1878 $5 pieces acquired by Harry Bass and studied for their interesting aspects. The present variety is quite rare, and over the years only a few have crossed the auction block, some of them gilt.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 64.7 grains. Diameter: 25.4 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: Date curved to match the border, probably hand entered with individual punches.

Purchased from Abe Kosoff, August 3, 1971.

 

1878 Morgan's Liberty Head $5

P-1759, Copper Gilt

Harry Bass Discovery

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1363     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1759 gilt, J-1568a. Rarity-6+. Liberty Head. Proof-63. Copper, gilt. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: Similar in concept to the preceding, but from a different die and with no pellets between the legend and denomination (see Die Notes). First identified by Harry Bass.

Surfaces: Light yellow gold.

Narrative: A splendid specimen, and a rarity as well. Perhaps a dozen examples can be accounted for.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 70.7 grains. Diameter: 25.4 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: The reverse die does not represent the same die as P-1758 with periods added but, instead, is a different die, with some different characteristics of alignment, etc. (evident, for example, at the LL of DOLLARS) which on the present piece are parallel at the bottom, but which on the preceding piece the second L is tilted left; other differences could be described. The reason for having two similar dies is not known.

Harry W. Bass, Jr. Notes: This variety, without pellets, was unidentified by Judd in his reference. The discovery is credited to Harry Bass.

From Stack's sale of the DiBello Collection, May 14, 1970, Lot 488.

 

1878 Morgan's Liberty Head Pattern $5

P-1759, Copper Gilt

Duplicate

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1364     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1759 gilt, J-1568a. Rarity-6+. Liberty Head. Proof-63. Copper, gilt. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Light yellow-gold.

Narrative: Another specimen of the preceding. A truly lovely coin.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 65.2 grains. Diameter: 25.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Julian Leidman, September 16, 1971.

 

1878 Morgan's Liberty Head Pattern $5

P-1759, Copper Gilt

A Third Specimen

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1365     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1759 gilt, J-1568a. Rarity-6+. Liberty Head. Proof-63. Copper, gilt. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Light yellow-gold.

Narrative: Still another example of this die combination first identified by Harry Bass. No doubt Harry bought all that he could find, seeking to determine the true rarity of the issue.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 63.7 grains. Diameter: 25.4 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Lee Hewitt, April 17, 1972. Illustrated in United States Patterns and Related Issues, by Andrew W. Pollock III, as figure 487.

 

1878 Morgan's Liberty Head Pattern $5

P-1759, Copper Gilt

A Final Offering

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1366     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1759 gilt, J-1568a. Rarity-6+. Liberty Head. Proof-60. Copper, gilt. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Pale gold with some toning around the borders. Matte-like surfaces.

Narrative: A final example of Harry Bass' discovery.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 64.9 grains. Diameter: 25.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Abe Kosoff, August 3, 1971.

 

1878 Morgan's Liberty Head Pattern $5

P-1760, Copper

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1367     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1760, J-1569. Rarity-7. Liberty Head. Proof-65 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: Similar to the preceding, with the addition of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST between the eagle and legend. The denomination is now FIVE DOL.

Surfaces: Splendid red with delicate toning just beginning to form.

Narrative: One of the very finest known examples of an issue which is quite scarce. Perhaps eight to 12 pieces can be traced. The reverse die adds the motto IN GOD WE TRUST in widely spaced letters, perhaps satisfying a desire to include this sentiment, but the arrangement is somewhat distracting to the viewer.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 64.2 grains. Diameter: 25.4 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

From RARCOA's sale of the Harry X Boosel "1873" Collection, April 28, 1972, Lot 1160.

 

1878 Morgan's Liberty Head Pattern $5

P-1760, Copper Gilt

Duplicate

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1368     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1760 gilt, J-1569. Rarity-7. Liberty Head. Proof-63. Copper, gilt. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Bright yellow-gold surfaces.

Narrative: Another example of the preceding variety, this one gilt. No doubt Harry Bass was seeking to discover minute die variations.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 70.1 grains. Diameter: 25.4 mm. Die alignment: 360°.

From Stack's sale of the DiBello Collection, May 14, 1970, Lot 489.

 

1878 Morgan's Liberty Head Pattern $5

P-1760, Copper Gilt

A Final Offering

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1369     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1760 gilt, J-1569. Rarity-7. Liberty Head. Proof-63. Copper, gilt. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Bright yellow-gold surfaces.

Narrative: A final example of P-1760, also gilt. A significant percentage of the known examples are offered in this sale!

Technical Aspects: Weight: 64.9 grains. Diameter: 25.4 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Julian Leidman, September 16, 1971.

 

Rare 1878 P-1762 Pattern $5 Gold

Liberty Head Obverse

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1370     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1762, J-1573. Rarity-7. Liberty Head. Proof-64 BN (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: Similar to the preceding with the addition of pellets to punctuate the motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM.

Reverse Design: Same as Pollock-1758, above.

Surfaces: Rich brown with hints of iridescence. A breathtakingly beautiful, splendid coin.

Narrative: Only a handful of specimens have been traced of P-1762, and it closely challenges the Rarity-8 classification. The present specimen combines rarity and elegant appearance, always a winning combination.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 69.5 grains. Diameter: 25.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Stanley Kesselman, August 5, 1971. Illustrated in United States Patterns and Related Issues, by Andrew W. Pollock III, as figure 489.

 

1878 P-1762 Pattern Half Eagle

Liberty Head Obverse

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1371     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1762 gilt, J-1573. Rarity-7. Liberty Head. Proof-60. Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Light yellow-gold, polished at one time.

Narrative: Another specimen of this elusive die combination.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 69.6 grains. Diameter: 25.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

From Superior's sale of December 13, 1972, Lot 2199.

 

1878 P-1765 Pattern Half Eagle

Liberty Head Obverse

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1372     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1765, J-1571. Rarity-7. Liberty Head. Proof-65 BN (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: Same as Pollock-1760, offered above.

Surfaces: Red and brown with hints of iridescent blue. A very beautiful coin.

Narrative: A muling, a variation on the preceding theme. Examples of P-1765 are scarce, and only occasionally do we offer one in our sales. Such pieces can be profitably collected as an adjunct to other patterns of this year, which saw a prolific issuance, particularly in the dollar series.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 70.2 grains. Diameter: 25.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Stanley Kesselman, August 5, 1971.

 

1878 P-1766 Pattern Half Eagle

Liberty with Flowing Hair

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1373     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1766, J-1574. Rarity-6. Liberty Head. Proof-67 BN (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: Liberty head faces left with her hair combed back and bound by a band inscribed LIBERTY. She has flowing curls behind her neck. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is around, and the date, 1878, is below.

Reverse Design: Similar to P-1762, above, although the eagle is of a slightly different style, and the arrows and branch are treated differently.

Surfaces: Delightful light brown with blue and lilac toning. Considerable mint red adheres to the devices and letters. Sharply struck with deep mirrored fields around cameo devices. The portrait is reminiscent of that used on the Flowing Hair $4 Stella the following year.

Narrative: This variety, P-1766, is one of the more available gold patterns of the year, but even so it is very difficult to find examples at the gem level. In addition, the distinctive obverse style lends interest, adding up to an important coin and an important opportunity.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 69.7 grains. Diameter: 25.6 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Sidney W. Smith, January 8, 1972.

 

1878 P-1766 Pattern Half Eagle

Copper, Gilt

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1374     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1766 gilt, J-1574. Rarity-6. Liberty Head. Proof-64. Copper, gilt. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Brilliant gold. Mirror surfaces and somewhat frosty higher areas. A splendid coin in every respect.

Narrative: Another example, very attractive, of this significant die combination.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 69.3 grains. Diameter: 25.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

From Stack's sale of the DiBello Collection, May 14, 1970, Lot 490.

 

1878 P-1769 Pattern Half Eagle

Barber's Liberty Head

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1375     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1769 gilt, J-1576. Rarity-6+. Liberty Head. Proof-63. Copper, gilt. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: A head of Liberty faces left, wearing a large cap with a band inscribed LIBERTY. The cap is ornamented by two wheat ears. Her hair is in curls behind her neck. Thirteen stars are arranged with seven left and six right, separated by the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The date, 1878, is below.

Reverse Design: The reverse depicts an eagle which has a grossly disproportionate left wing (to the observer's right), perhaps reflecting that the bird had been recently attacked by a cat or sustained some other trauma. The branch below is far too large for the eagle, and the same can be said for the size of the arrows. The motto above, E PLURIBUS UNUM, might have been better rendered in an arc matching the inscription above. Around the border is seen UNITED STATES OF AMERICA/5 DOLLARS. We will coin the term Ugly Eagle for this reverse and invite others to use it.

Surfaces: A sharp impression with light yellow gilt surfaces. Subdued by die striae and minor hairlines.

Narrative: A splendid specimen, appearance-wise, of this rather curious design.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 66.6 grains. Diameter: 21.6 mm. Die alignment: 180°. Die notes: The letters IN GOD WE TRUST are very tiny at the top border. The date logotype is high and close to the curl. On the reverse the letters are thick in their vertical elements, somewhat reminiscent of the Paquet punches. Some irregularity of alignment, etc., is seen; as an example, the U (PLURIBUS) is much more lightly punched into the die than the B and S to either side.

From Abner Kreisberg's "Quality" Sales Corp, November 30, 1970, Lot 1337. Previously from the Dr. Bolt Collection.

 

1878 P-1771 Pattern Half Eagle

Morgan's Capped Liberty Head

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1376     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1771, J-1578. Rarity-6+. Morgan's Liberty Head. Proof-65 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: A head of Miss Liberty faces left wearing a large cap with the inscription LIBERTY on the band. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is divided by the bust. The date, 1878, is below.

Reverse Design: An eagle with wings spread, holding an olive branch and three arrows in its claws. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is in Gothic letters in the field above, with the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around. The denomination, FIVE DOL., is below.

Surfaces: A magnificent coin, red blending to delicate magenta.

Narrative: A thoroughly desirable issue, not a great rarity in the context of the pattern series, but certainly difficult to find in the splendid condition here offered.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 68.7 grains. Diameter: 21.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

Purchased from Lee Hewitt, April 17, 1972.

 

1878 P-1771 Pattern Half Eagle

Morgan's Liberty Head

Duplicate

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1377     1878 pattern half eagle. P-1771 gilt, J-1578. Rarity-6+. Morgan's Liberty Head. Proof-63. Copper, gilt. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: As preceding.

Reverse Design: As preceding.

Surfaces: Light yellow-gold.

Narrative: Another example of Morgan's motif, in a way a miniature representation or at least a cousin of the design used on the silver dollar of the same year.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 68.9 grains. Diameter: 21.5 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

From New Netherlands Coin Co.'s 61st Sale, June 30, 1970, Lot 68. Previously from Stack's Charles H. Deetz Collection, November 1946, Lot 970.

 

1880 P-1863 Pattern Half Eagle

Regular Dies in Copper

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1378     1880 pattern half eagle. P-1863, J-1663. Rarity-8. Adopted type. Proof-66 RB (PCGS). Copper. Reeded edge.

Obverse Design: The adopted type.

Reverse Design: The adopted type.

Surfaces: A beautiful blend of mint red, light brown, and iridescence. Another of the many visual treats in the Bass Collection.

Narrative: Off-metal strikes of this year are extremely rare; it is probably the case that whether or not you ever own an example of P-1863 will depend on your success with this particular coin.

Technical Aspects: Weight: 66.8 grains. Diameter: 21.6 mm. Die alignment: 180°.

From Abner Kreisberg's "Quality Sales" Corp, November 30, 1970, Lot 1339.