Curious patterns offered at Heritage sale in December
- Published: Nov 29, 2021, 3 PM
Heritage’s Dec. 16 to 19 U.S. Coins Signature Auction is one of the final major auctions of the year before the market takes a bit of a holiday break before the Jan. 6 to 9, 2022, Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando.
Among its offerings are some interesting pattern coins.
A pattern 1836 2-cent piece is listed as Judd 52 in the current edition of Dr. Hewitt Judd’s reference book to the pattern series and tries out a denomination that would not be struck for circulation until 1864.
The offered pattern is graded Proof 63 by Professional Coin Grading Service and is struck in billon, a low-silver composition that is 90% copper with just 10% silver.
The obverse shows a spread-winged eagle while the reverse bears a reference to the denomination and a wreath.
Heritage writes, “These pieces show an interesting die punching error with the A in STATES punched over an erroneous E,” distinguishing the subject coin from restrikes that were most likely made in the late 1850s and after, struck from a shattered obverse die.
An 1878 pattern dollar listed as Judd 1556a presents a curious appearance since it was struck from white metal rather than more typically seen coining metals.
It is graded Proof 62 by PCGS.
It has a design similar to that used the prior year on the large patterns for gold $50 coins and features a reeded edge.
Heritage writes, “This piece has the darker gray accents of color from oxidation (as always seen on white metal coins) with considerable underlying brilliance still in evidence.”
In a 2003 offering it was certified by Numismatic Guaranty Co. as Proof, Environmental Damage, where it realized $8,625. Then, Heritage wrote, “For many years, this pattern was unknown.”
It has a lengthy provenance that goes back to hobby promoter E.H.R. Green. It was offered at Sotheby’s 1954 sale of Egypt’s King Farouk collection and was also part of the Bob Simpson collection.
Curiously, it sold in two previous Heritage auctions this year, bringing $16,800 on Feb. 25 and $15,000 on June 20.
Pattern or an error?
The line between pattern and error can sometimes be blurred, as research on what have been traditionally considered patterns reveals that some are more likely off-metal errors.
An 1890 Indian Head cent struck in copper-nickel rather than bronze has long been listed with patterns, given the number Judd 1758 in the pattern reference.
Q. David Bowers’ revision of the Judd reference has re-categorized these as “probably mint errors,” that were probably struck on planchets intended for a medal or a world coin.
Heritage adds to the mystery, writing, “Curiously, there are no foreign coinage contracts listed between 1883 and 1895, though perhaps planchets were left over from the Venezuela coinages of 1875 and 1876.”
The coin in the auction is graded Mint State 64+ by PCGS and bears a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker
When offered a decade ago at Heritage’s January 2011 Florida United Numismatists auction, it realized $20,700.
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