Heritage offers classic pattern pieces in FUN show auction

Amazonian and Schoolgirl designs among highlights in Florida sale
By , Coin World
Published : 12/28/17
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Some of the most beautiful coins in Heritage Auctions’ Florida United Numismatists auction Jan. 3 to 8 are patterns that recall the oft-quoted statement by Mint Curator Patterson DuBois in the January 1883 American Journal of Numismatics: “Open for me your cabinet of patterns, and I open for you a record, which, but for these half-forgotten witnesses, would have disappeared under the finger of time.” 

Few patterns are more beautiful than George T. Morgan’s “Schoolgirl” design, the name derived from the appearance of Liberty’s combed back hair, tied with a ribbon.

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The example offered at the 2018 FUN Platinum Night sale is the finest certified and is graded Proof 66 Deep Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service, carrying a green sticker from Certified Acceptance Corp. The silver dollar is listed as Judd 1608 and Pollock 1804 in the reference books to the pattern series, and copper strikings also exist. While the original mintage is unknown, of the 15 pieces known to collectors today, four are held in museums.

Two are in the National Numismatic Collection housed at the Smithsonian Institution, one is in the American Numismatic Society’s collection, and the American Numismatic Association Money Museum currently houses the DiBello-Bass example. Morgan would modify this reverse design for use on the 1915-S Panama-Pacific International Exposition commemorative gold $2.50 quarter eagle. 

Another high point in pattern design is seen on William Barber’s “Amazonian” design, which Heritage calls “undoubtedly, his most memorable design in the entire pattern series.” The “Amazonian” name dates to an 1890 auction, and examples of this design also were struck in silver and copper.

Only three dollars struck in aluminum are known, since aluminum was considered a rarer metal in 1872, before more efficient smelting processes were developed that made the metal better-suited for industrial uses. 

The offered example — struck in aluminum and listed as Judd 1207 and Pollock 1347 — is graded Proof 65 by PCGS and has a green CAC sticker. Heritage adds, “Many 19th century aluminum patterns show as-made imperfections, especially planchet laminations. This piece does not.

The fields show the brightness one associates with aluminum strikes and predictably (for aluminum patterns) the devices are heavily contrasted against the fields with thick mint frost,” but Heritage notes only a few tiny abrasions on the right (facing) breast of Liberty. 

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