One of only two examples known of a 1916 Walking Liberty half
dollar pattern will cross the auction block Aug. 9 in Rosemont, Ill.
The pattern is cataloged as Judd 1993 in
United States Pattern Coins, Experimental & Trial Pieces by J.
Hewitt Judd, edited by Q. David Bowers. It is one of 2,975 lots of
coins and other materials to be offered Aug. 8 and 9 in five floor
sessions by Heritage Auctions at the Hyatt Rosemont, 6350 N. River Road.
Cataloged as Lot 5975 in the sale, the pattern
is one of 474 numismatic rarities to be offered during Heritage
Auctions’ Platinum Night Aug. 9.
A 17.5 percent buyer’s fee will be added to
the final closing hammer price of each lot won.
When the Judd 1993 pattern is offered Aug. 9,
it will be in a Professional Coin Grading Service holder, with the
coin certified Proof 30 and the holder bearing a green sticker from
Certified Acceptance Corp.
The same example of Judd 1993 was last offered
at public auction by Heritage Auctions in August 2004, when the piece
was graded by NGC as Very Fine 30.
Six different variations of 1916 Walking
Liberty half dollar patterns have been identified, with approximately
20 examples extant combined, across all classifications.
Five of the known examples are held in the
National Numismatic Collection in the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum
of American History, leaving approximately 15 examples available to collectors.
Only one of the six known varieties, Judd
1993, was struck from a distinctive obverse die and the regular
reverse die design used for general circulation.
Two examples are believed known to exist of
Judd 1993, formerly misdescribed as Judd 1797a, according to Saul
Teichman from USPatterns.com.
The two examples are the PCGS Proof 30 piece
to be offered Aug. 9 by Heritage Auctions and an example once owned by
King Farouk I of Egypt. The pattern pedigreed to Farouk was last sold
at public auction by Stack’s in July 2008. The pattern offered in the
Stack’s auction was graded Proof 61 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.
Judd 1993 is distinguishable by the
inscription LIBERTY appearing with larger letters than used on the
adopted design and in the right obverse field. The legend is even more
distinctive with the crossbar of the T appearing above the top right
of the R and top left of the Y.
According to the auction lot description, it
is believed that the Judd 1993 patterns were struck sometime between
Aug. 21 and Sept. 20, 1916.
“The Judd 1993 variety was not listed in
previous editions of the Judd reference,” according to the auction lot
description, but it “is similar to the older Judd 1797a listing,
except for the addition of Adolph A. Weinman’s AW monogram on the reverse.”
Sculptor Weinman’s overlapping designer’s
initials appear in the field on the reverse to the right of the R in DOLLAR.
Inclusion of the designer’s initials was
approved by Treasury Secretary William G. McAdoo on Aug. 10, 1916,
according to the Judd pattern book.
A seven-figure rarity
Heritage’s Platinum Night boasts a significant
number of major numismatic rarities.
Among the rarities offered is the
Mickley-Hawn-Queller specimen of the original Class I 1804 Draped Bust
dollar, Lot 5699, PCGS Proof 62. Heritage devotes 33 pages of the
auction catalog to this lot. Heritage offered the exact same coin in
April 2008, where it sold for $3,737,500. In the April 2008 auction,
it was offered in an NGC holder where it was graded Proof 62.
Fifteen examples of the 1804 Draped Bust
dollar are known — eight Class I examples, called “originals”; one
Class II restrike; and six Class III restrikes. Nine of the 15 known
in all classes are in private hands.
According to the lot description:
“It is widely believed that the [Class I] 1804
$1 was not minted until about 1834, when the State Department ordered
special sets of the coins struck specifically for diplomatic purposes.
“Records indicated that several of the Class
II and Class III 1804 silver dollars were minted after that. In fact,
Mint records from 1804 indicated a delivery figure of 19,570 silver
dollars, though it is commonly held in numismatic circles that these
were all leftover coins dated 1803.”
The lone extant Class II restrike was struck
over an 1857, Bern, Switzerland, shooting taler. It is held in the
National Numismatic Collection in the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum
of American History.
The auction also offers a 1794 Flowing Hair
dollar, the Bowers-Borckardt 1 variety (Silver Dollars & Trade
Dollars of the United States, A Complete Encyclopedia by Q. David
Bowers, with Mark Borckardt). The coin, lot 5683 in the auction, is
graded PCGS Fine 12 and is credited as coming from a “midwest naval
officer’s collection of early dollars.”
The silver bullion used to coin the 1794
dollars was provided by the first director of the U.S. Mint, David
Rittenhouse, who received the entire mintage of this date and
distributed the coins through private channels. Prominent collector
and researcher Martin Logies has identified 134 distinct survivors
from the small mintage in his exhaustive census in The Flowing Hair
Silver Dollars of 1794, according to the lot description.
San Francisco treasures
The auction also offers an 1855-S Seated
Liberty, With Arrows quarter dollar, the Briggs 1a variety as
cataloged in The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of United States Liberty
Seated Quarters by Larry Briggs.
The coin, Lot 5593, is unique by the variety. It is graded NGC
Proof 64 and has a green CAC sticker. This Branch Mint Proof coin was
struck at the San Francisco Mint and is pedigreed to the facility’s
first superintendent, Lewis Aiken Birdsall.
Of more modern vintage is a Zerbe Specimen
1921-S Morgan dollar graded Specimen 65 by PCGS. It is one of just 24
struck, and only four or five are known today. They were struck at the
request of Farran Zerbe, and, as a July 1955 article in the ANA’s
publication The Numismatist stated, he purchased the small production
of Proof San Francisco Mint dollars and later handed them out to his
coin collecting friends.
The description notes that the only area of
strike softness is the eagle’s breast, “which is always a bit flat,
suggesting that the detail may have been incomplete on the die.”
One of the most beautiful coins in the auction
is an 1850 Seated Liberty quarter dollar graded Proof 68 by Numismatic
Guaranty Corp. It is the finest of two or three known examples and was
formerly in the collection of John Jay Pittman where David Akers
characterized it as one of the most beautiful coins in Pittman’s
When Akers offered this coin as part of his
auctions of the Pittman Collection in 1998, he wrote: “The quality and
beauty of this coin are so extraordinary that no written description
can possibly do it justice. The strike is absolutely full and there is
a high wire rim, especially prominent on the obverse in the upper
right quadrant. The fields are deep mirrors and there is great proof
luster under the superb toning which is a fiery reddish-gold, violet,
blue, and gold.”
At its last trip to auction in 2008 it brought $460,000.
The auction also features an 1845 Seated
Liberty quarter dollar graded Proof 66 by NGC, again formerly in the
Pittman Collection. This example also features deep toning, with an
obverse in reddish-gold with blue and violet at the periphery. It is
one of five or six known and was sold in 2008 as part of Heritage’s
offering of the Phil Kaufman Collection where it realized $195,500.
Heritage offered it a year later at auction where it sold for $149,500.
Another highlight in the auction is an 1851
Schultz & Co. pioneer gold $5 piece, cataloged as Kagin 1 in
Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States by Donald Kagin.
The coin, listed as lot 5957, is graded PCGS About Uncirculated 53, in
a holder bearing a green CAC sticker.
Schultz & Co., began in September or
October 1850 as, not an assaying firm, but a brass foundry. Judge G.W.
Schultz provided the reputation and financial backing for metalworker
William T. Garratt who had the production skills.
According to the lot description: “An assay by
Augustus Humbert showed that the Schultz & Co. five dollar coins,
far from being ‘Pure California Gold’ as the reverse legend
proclaimed, were alloyed with copper (Garratt gave the figure at 10%,
‘just enough to make the coin hard enough to wear’), and further,
underweight; when word spread, the coins’ reputation went to tatters,
and a more favorable assessment made at the Philadelphia Mint by
William E. DuBois in 1851 came too late.
“Many of the Schultz & Co. coins were
destroyed, and Schultz’s coining operation was halted by the
California Legislature’s prohibition on the striking of private gold
coinage on April 21, 1851.”
For more information about the Aug. 8 and 9
sale, visit Heritage Auctions online at www.ha.com
; write the firm at 3500 Maple
Ave., 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219-3941; or telephone Heritage at 800-872-6467.