A pair of uniface lead obverse and reverse die trials for the 1920
Pilgrim Tercentenary half dollar that have been in the family of the
coin’s designer, sculptor Cyrus E. Dallin, for more than nine decades,
will cross the auction block in November.
The die trials, Judd A1920-1 and Judd A1920-2 (as cataloged in
United States Pattern Coins, Experimental & Trial
Pieces by J. Hewitt Judd, edited by Q. David Bowers), have been
certified Mint State 61 by Professional Coin Grading Service. They
will be offered for sale by Stack’s Bowers Galleries during the firm’s
Nov. 16 to 19 auction held in conjunction with the Whitman Coin &
Collectibles Expo in Baltimore.
Struck from the original completed dies for 1920, the lead die
trials measure approximately 52 millimeters in diameter, with the coin
designs taking up 30.6 millimeters of the space, the diameter of a
struck half dollar.
According to Stack’s Bowers cataloger Frank Van Valen, the only
previous sale of a Pilgrim die trial was in 2002, where a reverse
trial in lead brought $10,000; at the time it was considered unique.
The lead die trials have been consigned to the Stack’s Bowers
auction by Dallin’s great-grandson.
Dallin the sculptor, from Arlington, Mass., was commissioned by
the Massachusetts Tercentenary Commission to execute models for a
commemorative half dollar showing depictions of Plymouth Colony, Gov.
William Bradford, and the Mayflower, on which the Pilgrims made their
historic voyage in 1620.
According to Van Valen, Dallin’s great-grandson has contributed a
number of medals and memorabilia to the Cyrus E. Dallin Art Museum in
Arlington – the Massachusetts city where the sculptor plied his trade
for more than 40 years.
Dallin was a colleague of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
Dallin’s sculptures number more than 260 works, including Paul Revere
and Appeal to the Great Spirit.
For more information on the die trials and the complete sale,
visit www.stacksbowers.com. ■