US Coins

Where is the missing 1908 pattern? Inside Coin World

Bela Lyon Pratt’s sunken relief Indian Head gold quarter eagles and half eagles were innovative, as this regular 1908 $5 coin shows. Those coins were modified from Pratt’s original designs, and the only $5 pattern bearing the original designs to survive from 1908 has been missing since the 1980s.

Coin images courtesy of Heritage Auctions; Pratt photo in public domain.

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Where is the missing 1908 pattern?

Bela Lyon Pratt, designer of the 1908 Indian Head gold quarter eagle and half eagle, was unhappy with the U.S. Mint after seeing the modifications to his designs. As Gerald Tebben reports in his “Coin Lore” column in the April 16, 2018, issue of Coin World, Pratt had a pattern bearing his original designs for comparison.

The pattern was given him by “William S. Bigelow, the man who suggested sunken-relief coins in imitation of ancient Egyptian art to President Theodore Roosevelt.” The differences between the pattern and the circulation issues are clear, but the sole survivor of the 20 patterns struck is missing, having been sold in the 1980s from the museum that inherited the rarity. Read more about the pattern in the digital and print editions of the April 16 Coin World.

Big plans, but just two books resulted

Joel Orosz writes about the “ambitious, but star-crossed story” of the International Numismatic Collectors Society, founded in 1970 and blending entrepreneurialism and education. The founders reached out to some of the most knowledgeable numismatists of the era and commissioned books, and planned educational courses and more.

The results, however, were as slim as the two 64-page volumes that were all that reached publication. The two books published by INCS, The Heritage of Coins, by Thomas Becker, and The Story of the Dollar, by Charles Hoskins, are about that remain of the organization, which died after the corporation of which it was part filed for bankruptcy. Read more in the Orosz column in the Aril 16 issue.

Variety finds both old and new

John Wexler writes in his “Varieties Notebook” column, “Some recent finds are varieties that are already listed, and some are new listings. This month we have a balance of both.”

Counted as a new discovery is a 1921-D/D Winged Liberty Head dime that shows an RPM that would be described as a D/D Northwest. A 1944 Lincoln cent with a nice doubled die obverse falls into the “already listed” category. Read the full column to learn more about what other collectors are finding in their change and their collections.

Stiff collar and more at play in press

Mike Diamond writes in his “Collectors’ Clearinghouse” column about stiff collar errors, but explores several pieces that cannot be explained solely by that particular mechanical failure in a coinage press.

He discusses a Malaysian coin whose “zone of deformation” and “peripheral weakness” suggested that something else also had to be at work. Learn what happened by reading the Clearinghouse column, found exclusively in the print and digital editions of the April 16 Coin World.

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