Pattern coins represent many things. They are traditionally seen as
experiments for new compositions, denominations or designs, but many
were struck directly for marketing to collectors. This was especially
pronounced in the 1870s as the Philadelphia Mint went into overdrive
producing hundreds of pattern types. Some are gorgeous, other are more
modest in accomplishment, but all are collectible. Heritage’s recent
June 8 to 11 Long Beach Expo auction realized $10.7 million and
included a strong group of pattern pieces from this busy decade.
Here’s one of three patterns from the Expo auction that Steve Roach
explores in our latest print issue:
1872 Amazonian quarter dollar pattern, copper, Judd 1196, Proof 66
red and brown
William Barber’s design known as the Amazonian was used for the
quarter dollar, half dollar and dollar denominations in 1872. It
received its famous moniker in 1890 at the sale of the Lorin G.
Connect with Coin World:
Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Follow us on Twitter
The Amazonian name references the seated figure of Liberty’s
bare-breasted pose — along with her long sword — though she contrasts
her boldness with a tender moment as she touches the head of an eagle.
The reverse’s eagle is particularly hearty and this collector
favorite is a pattern that shows the senior Barber at his best and
most creative. This same reverse was used in a set of 1872 gold
patterns that also bear the Amazonian name, though they depict a
different, non-Amazonian obverse bust of Liberty with a distinctive
cap and long ponytail.
Unravel the mystery of die trails:
Another column in the July 17 Coin World takes a look at some
“heavy hitting” double die discoveries
Heritage offered a gorgeous quarter pattern, listed as Judd 1196 in
United States Pattern Coins by J. Hewitt Judd, graded Proof
66 red and brown by Professional Coin Grading Service, which sold for
$70,500. The auctioneer noted that it may have been in the famous
collection of Egypt’s King Farouk, though the absence of a plated
catalog for that collection or a more extensive provenance for the
subject coin means that that connection may be lost to history.