Two 1792 patterns from the dawn of the Philadelphia Mint led bidding at Heritage’s April 28 Platinum Night auction, held at the Central States Numismatic Society convention, April 27 to 30, in Schaumburg, Ill.
At $998,750, the top lot was a 1792 silver disme pattern that matched the price it brought last year when offered from the Donald Groves Partrick Collection at Heritage’s 2015 Florida United Numismatists auction.
Graded About Uncirculated 50 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., it is the finest of just three examples known. The pattern was formerly in the collection of J. Hewitt Judd, who literally wrote the book on pattern coins with his United States Pattern Coins, Experimental & Trial Pieces, which remains the standard reference to the pattern coin series.
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The piece in the auction is one of only three known examples of this type, classified as Judd 9.
Surprisingly, all three examples have been offered at auction in the past several years. The next-finest known, graded Extremely Fine details by NGC, sold for $458,250 earlier this year at Heritage’s 2016 FUN auction. The other example, graded Fine 15 by NGC, brought $329,000 at that same auction.
Of the CSNS coin, Heritage wrote, “The present coin has the most mysterious provenance of all the 1792 silver dismes, as its history has only been traced with certainty back to 1946,” though the auctioneer believes that it likely first surfaced in the collection of Massachusetts numismatist DeWitt Smith in the 19th century, while recognizing that some descriptions of that piece do not exactly match this example.
1792 copper disme
The other choice pattern was a 1792 copper disme with reeded edge, Judd 10, graded Specimen 64 brown by Professional Coin Grading Service. Consigned by Texas businessman Bob Simpson, it traded hands for $705,000.
Simpson’s coin is the finest of 18 reeded edge 1792 copper dismes known, with at least four Mint State representatives accounted for. The roster of all 18 examples shows a wide disparity of grades, ranging from the present example to one graded Poor 1 that brought $32,900 at a March 2015 Stack’s Bowers Galleries auction. A different example, graded Specimen 55 by PCGS, sold in 2014 for $499,375 as part of Heritage’s auction of the Eric P. Newman Educational Society selections.