1792 pattern quarter brings $2.2 million: VIDEO

Editor's note: The following is one of two posts from Steve Roach about the Jan. 8 Donald Partrick Collection auction at the Florida United Numismatists show.

The dozen classic 1792 pattern coins from the Donald G. Partrick collection sold for more than $10 million at Heritage’s Jan. 8 auction held at the Florida United Numismatists show in Orlando.

In introducing the sale at the auctioneers’ podium, Heritage president Greg Rohan said that Partrick was a collector who bought quality at a time when everyone else was buying price, adding that the collection represented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for bidders. The market seemed to agree. 

$2.2 million might be a steal for Pattern quarter 

The next highest price after the 1792 Birch cent that realized $2,585,000 was for a classic 1792 pattern quarter dollar (images here), though the design does not state the denomination on either side. The coin, cataloged as Judd 12, is graded MS-63 brown with a green CAC sticker. It also opened at $1.5 million before selling for $2,232,500, a price that one market maker seated near me in the room characterized as “cheap” and another called “the best coin in the collection.” 

The design, presumably by Joseph Wright, is considered one of the most beautiful in early American numismatics. It is stylistically a deviation from the other 1792 patterns, although the acclaim for the design is not universal. Cornelius Vermeule, writing in Numismatic Art in America, called the reverse’s eagle on the globe an “ailing barnyard fowl.”

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The offered example has a rich ownership history that traces back to the Civil War, with Heritage’s provenance listing its first sale in April 1863 by Edward Cogan, and it proceeded to pass through the hands of Lorin G. Parmelee, Virgil M. Brand, J. Hewitt Judd and Abe Kosoff. It is one of two examples known, the other being in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution and of inferior condition to the present example. 

Also crossing the $1 million mark was a 1792 pattern copper disme, Judd 11 in MS-64 red and brown with a green CAC sticker (images here), that sold for $1,057,500. It is the finest of three examples known of this variety. 

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Other highlights included an 1861 original Confederate half dollar, graded Proof 30, CAC (images here), that sold for $881,250. 

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