US Coins

Market Analysis: Amazonian 1872 pattern $20

William Barber’s handsome Amazonian design is seen on this Proof 67 Cameo 1872 $20 double eagle pattern struck in aluminum that sold for $132,000 at the post-FUN auctions.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

William Barber’s Amazonian design is one of the most famous in the pattern series. Some examples feature a full seated Liberty, while others — like the Judd-1252 1872 $20 double eagle graded Proof 67 Cameo by PCGS that Heritage offered Jan.11 — feature just the bust.

Barber produced patterns for all six gold denominations that year, featuring Liberty with a Phrygian cap. Today, one set is known in gold, with two $20 pieces confirmed in aluminum joined by perhaps a dozen copper examples of that denomination.

Heritage explains, “It wasn’t until 1886 and the discovery of the electrolytic method of producing aluminum that the metal was easily produced and it became cheaper and more widely used,” and earlier patterns often have laminations and planchet imperfections. This one has several, including a shallow diagonal lamination just above the hair bun, and it sold for $132,000 as part of the Cape Coral Collection, improving on the $114,000 that it sold for at Heritage’s September 2020 offering of the Simpson Collection.

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